What is it like to be 15 years old, living in Hackney, east London and excluded from mainstream school? Beneath The Hood is a challenging documentary telling the stories of students at Daniel House Pupil Referral Unit in Hackney. Through rap, MC-ing, poetry and music, we are given a unique insight into their lives following exclusion.
Commissioned by Creative Partnerships London East, this film is the culmination of a year-long project involving Eelyn Lee Productions, headteacher Annie Cornbleet and the students and staff at Daniel House. Referencing music videos, graffiti, martial arts and cooking programmes as well as observational filming and interviews, Beneath the Hood experiments with the form of documentary whilst providing triggers for discussion around exclusion. The film gets to the heart of this topical issue, raising questions on both sides of the debate around the role of PRUs within an inclusive education system.
In the spirit of Hip Hop, Beneath the Hood puts different styles and genres ‘in the mix’ to create an ambitious portrait of life at Daniel House and what it is like to re-integrate into mainstream school. Following in the footsteps of Feltham Sings, Beneath the Hood sought to further develop the musical documentary style. Professionals from the music and performance industries, such as performance poets Jonzi D and Adisa, graffiti artists Dane and Tizer, composer and music producer Kew and Capoeira teacher Simon Atkinson were brought in to work closely with students, a process that has successfully inspired and validated creativity within the Pupil Referral Unit.
This strategy of building trust and creating opportunities for self-expression is a defining element of Eelyn Lee’s innovative documentary technique. Creative Partnerships is a programme managed by Arts Council England, the national development agency for the arts in England. It gives young people in 36 disadvantaged areas across England the opportunity to develop their creativity and their ambition by building partnerships between schools and creative organisations, businesses and individuals. Creative Partnerships aims to demonstrate the pivotal role creativity and creative people can play in transforming education in every curriculum subject for children of all ages and abilities.