Manchester gang culture is being challenged in an independent feature film using the actors, filmmakers and locations across the area, which premieres tonight in Moston.
Brother’s Day, an urban crime drama about Manchester gangland culture, aims to make young people think twice before joining a gang.
The filmmakers cite were inspired by statistics that showed 60% of shootings in Liverpool and Manchester are linked to gangs and up to 6% of 10-19-year-olds in England and Wales were in a gang.
Producer and production manager Gemma Bradley explained: “Producer Vedad (Rusidovic) spent ten years working with the youth of Greater Manchester. His experiences over that decade inspired him to start the original project, which over time would become Brothers’ Day.
“He felt that the film could deliver a positive message to young people in circumstances similar to that of the protagonist Chris. Young people who are either involved in, or on the verge of being in gang activity, without being overly preachy.”
The film is about Ryan and Chris, two Manchester brothers who lost their family to a gang-related crime.
The film’s synopsis reads: “Ryan, the older, leads his own gang, but tries very hard to keep Chris, the youngest, outside of that world.
“But things go wrong the day of the anniversary: they have an argument and Chris ends up getting involved in a hit. Chris will then have to learn by himself that the decisions his brother made for both are not as easy as he thought.”
It was not an easy task to find the right actors to fill the roles, as director Angel Delgado explained: “From my own personal and inevitably long series of decisions when making the film, one of the most important ones was finding the best possible actors.
“Ryan and Chris Jackson, the city of Manchester, all had to look and sound right. More than that, they had to truthfully reflect the realities portrayed in the film: the reality of teenagers and the growing- up process, the very real backdrop of communities affected by gangs. They needed to be authentic without being moralistic, or patronising.”
The main roles of the two brothers were filled by Lewis Fletcher (Ryan) and Tom Collins (Chris).
Tom is from Manchester and studied at Pendleton College.
“I first started looking into acting when I got kicked out of my woodwork class in school,” he said.
“I was messing about all the time and with dangerous tools etc. my head of year took me aside and told me I would be placed in another lesson for the last 3 years of school.
“The only lesson left was drama. At first I was upset but I took it on the chin, before I knew it I was performing in the library theatre Manchester with a lead role, I got snapped up by an agent quickly and then started training and working professionally, funny how things work out I guess. Now I am pushing a career in something I started doing by chance.”
The film also features Jamie Shelton (bodyguard) who played Robbie Lawson in ITV’s Emmerdale for two years and Nikki Dean (news correspondent) the online presenter for BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
The filmmakers met at the CSV Learning North charity in Manchester town centre which meant that they had access to local talent.
Gemma said: “Most of the musicians that contributed original tracks were either acting in the film or worked in the music studio next door to the film production office so it was great to be able to work with local grassroots talent to enhance the message of the film.”
They also primarily used locations in Greater Manchester to make the film feel authentic.
“The film was integrally shot in over 13 areas of Greater Manchester including Ancoats, Withington, Walkden, City centre, Rusholme, Moss Side, Salford Quays, Heaton Mersey and Chorlton,” Gemma said.
“There is wealth of filmmaking talent in the Northwest and it was a pleasure to work with such a large and diverse group of people to produce this film.”
Brother’s Day premieres tonight at Moston Small Cinema at 7:30pm with screenings at the same time on Saturday and Sunday also.
There will be an after-party and gig tonight from 9.30pm, which all tickets holders for any day are welcome to attend, plus music and drinks all night.
To buy tickets visit: http://www.wegottickets.com/BrothersDayTickets