UK Jewish Film awards teach youngsters about their past

More than 200 year-eight schoolchildren from Jewish schools took a trip down memory lane into London’s East End for a film award ceremony in honour of UK Jewish Film’s “Hackney Roots” initiative.

The project, which was launched last November, is an intergenerational teaching and learning resource aimed to teach Jewish school students about the “significance of Hackney and the East End in their Anglo-Jewish heritage and identity”.

Over the past few months, pupils at King Solomon High School and JCoSS learned how to make their own three-minute films about the East End, which were then entered into a competition.

The winners were announced by film director and producer Jes Benstock, who was himself a previous recipient of UK Jewish Film’s Pears Foundation Grant.

Thirteen-year-old Rachel Kieve took home the top prize for her short film, which combined old recordings of her grandparents living in Hackney with information about other Jews who grew up in the area, who included Lord Sugar and Steven Berkoff.

Runner-up was Jacob Freedland, 13, who used a handheld camera to document a bus journey through the East End.

“What struck me was how little the younger generation know about their Jewish roots in this area. They don’t see the connection,” project manager Rachel Burns said.

“Our big motivation was to educate those children whose families have moved away from the East End about the significance of the area in London’s Jewish history.”

Ms Burns said the project’s success in its first year had inspired UK Jewish Film to “widen participation to non-Jewish schools in Hackney.

“We want them to look at their own heritage stories and see how they fit into the area’s Jewish story,” Ms Burns added.

Last updated: 9:45am, June 2 2014