During a one-year residency in a pupil referral unit in Hackney, east London, Eelyn worked with students and staff to make a film portrait about young people excluded from school. At key stages of the process Eelyn invited collaborators to run workshops in performance poetry, hip hop theatre, music production and capoeira.
As a way of combatting the initial resistance she encountered from students, Eelyn introduced the idea of two fictional characters as a device for telling their stories. Quickly running with the idea, students invented Bradley Argos and Chantel Backoff, two animated characters with troubled backstories who appear throughout the film.
Eelyn Lee says,
"... Young people love to play around with their identities. Bradley and Chantel embody the complex issues that many of the students are facing on a daily basis. The fictional characters became such an integral part of the project they were even discussed regularly at staff meetings as though they were real students ..."
Beneath the Hood is a sophisticated piece of filmmaking which provides a rare insight to a group of young people who are permanently excluded from mainstream school.
Screened at British Film Institute & Curzon Soho / Broadcast on the Community Channel over a two year period / DVD distribution wordwide
Watch the trailer below. Below that is Beneath the Hood Revisited, a documentary about the making of the film.
You can watch the full film here [Running Time: 52 mins]