Director Jezza Neumann’s latest film Growing up Poor: Britain’s Hidden Homeless Kids, produced through True Vision, will air on Dispatches, this Monday.

As lockdown ended and schools opened their doors to children once again, Neumann spent a term in a school in Luton, one of the most deprived wards in Britain.

Following three boys in one class, the film is witness first-hand to the long-term implications of lockdown on young children, especially for the 1.5 million people living in England in overcrowded and unsuitable housing.

The film’s producer is Carla Grande and executive producer is Brian Woods.

Filming across several weeks in a busy school, had its challenges, says Neumann. “I have made many films over the years through the eyes of children always working with a combination of small cameras and radio mics. Living in a kids world as a fly on the wall means ninety percent of the filming is hand held and that can become quite tiring after chasing kids around for 8 hours. Most of the time you are filming at waist height so when I discovered the Hippy Chick, designed to support your baby on your hip when holding them, it was the perfect support to take some of the weight of the camera and mean steadier hand held footage.

“It also allowed me to start using heavier lenses. For this film I shot with an 18 to 35mm sigma 1.7 all the way through the zoom and then a beast of a lens the 50 to 100 F1.7. I use an FS5 which has a variable ND so I can shoot in daylight at 1.7 as well without the need of a matt box. These lenses help create the feel of a prime whilst allowing you to have some zoom range.

“Following three friends meant we also needed to use a zoom recorder to capture the third audio track and then often had a teacher on a fourth so we needed to be vigilant about who was on what frequency so we didn’t overlap.  Once we had all that figured it was a case of being there and turning over when something interesting happened so filming in a school we certainly got our steps in.


Pippa Considine

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