British film Pride supports community-power in Kilburn

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Pride, opening tomorrow, is among other things, a celebration of community. And its makers have left Kingsgate Community Centre in Kilburn with much to celebrate, after filming there this year.

The Camden community centre became a base for the crew while shooting Gay Is The Word bookshop scenes – which involved dressing Kingsgate Road. To say thank you, the filmmakers have provided a generous donation.

The centre’s director Donna Liburd says the donation is extremely welcome in helping support a children and young people’s project to re-invigorate play provision. The Kilburn Grange Play hut had been a victim of cuts, before the centre took it over.

Ms Liburd says, “Any money coming in at the moment will go on improving play for children and young people.”

Currently the centre offers 45 services, and has important plans for the future.

When Pride was filming nearby, “we became a handy base for the director and the crew,” Ms Liburd explains. “They could leave expensive equipment safely here and go out amongst the community.

“The café was of course a good place for a relaxing break. They served the crew with coffee, tea and delicious meals.

“Having the relationship with us was extremely helpful to creating good relations in the neighbourhood while the filming went on. The centre was a useful anchor.

“A lot of the older people in the area remembered Kingsgate Road looking that way – the way it was designed for the film. And they really enjoyed the look.”

Pride is a true story of how the miners strike played out in the Dulais valley in South Wales between 1984 and 1985. A gay and lesbian group from London donated more money (£11,000 by December 1984) to their cause than any other UK fundraiser, as well as a minibus with the logo LGSM: Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The group drove minibuses and a clapped-out VW camper van to the bleak mining town to present their donations, unsure of how they would be welcomed.

Of the community in Kilburn who’ll benefit from the filming, Ms Liburd says around 1,000 come through the doors every week. And there’s plenty going on – much of which seems redolent of Pride’s central themes.

“We’ve got the Pensioners Action Group,” Ms Liburd says, “Who still go out on protests and campaign for better services for older people, although many of them are in their seventies and eighties. They even performed in a Basement Jaxx music video once.”

Along with its long list of activities and services, the centre has plans to expand its commercial value to the community. It has joined with 15 other Camden community centres, to form a company with a combined turnover of £12 million a year and 38,000 volunteer hours.

“We’re aiming to bid for large service contracts going forward,” Ms Liburd explains. “This way we can keep the funding in the community, rather than have it end up in the pockets of corporate shareholders.

“This is what’s possible when we all work together. People can underestimate the power of community.”

FilmFixer manages filming on behalf of Camden Council and helped to bring the residents and filmmaker together.

FilmFixer director Karen Everett says, “We are really pleased that the Pride filmmakers applied their sense of community to today’s residents in Kilburn.

“Galvanising resident support and leaving a positive legacy is invaluable in the long-term to filmmaking in London.”

Take a look at the Pride official launch trailer here.

The centre’s Pensioners Action Group, features in this Basement Jaxx video, Oh My Gosh.

The makers of Pride also supported Southwark residents. Here’s the article.