The Way film group
The Way group is a filmmaking and music group of street youth from Central Freetown. Their album “Wan World” will be launched on 18th November 2016. Motto “We Can”.
The Way film group is one of WAYout’s success stories and we held a celebration of their work in December 2015.
Started in 2013 when WAYout filmmaker, Alimamy Kamara, wanted to make a follow up to the documentary he made about the street youth who lived outside his home. But they decided they wanted to make their own films, not be the subject of them. So The Way film group was born. They had a film, “No Strings Attached“, in the prestigious Reel Youth Festival in Vancouver in October 2014. Earlier this year they won an international award for their film on ‘sex and alcohol’ for ‘Young Voices Against Poverty‘. They recently finished their latest drama- “Pirates”- a pirate ship thriller.
Some of the original members- Joe Crack, School Boy, Easy Man, Smokie, JJ., Usman, Gassimu Sesay, are off the street and have completed courses in photoshop and editing.
Their first film The Way
won awards in film festivals and was the star attraction at Don Bosco’
s street youth celebration. The group now has 50 members and is making a new thriller, short documentary for the ‘Young Voices Against Poverty
‘ international competition. Their music video for their track “Nor Blame We” was in the Opin Yu Yi festival.
In 2011, three teenage boys, who live on the street in Freetown, made a short documentary about their lives, ‘Broom and Basket
‘. Then they decided to make a thriller, based on their lives. It’s a tale of hardship, friendship, betrayal and reconciliation. Shooting was held up when Tone Die was arrested. No sooner had he come out of jail than Bullet went in, and then Cool Jungle. J.J. replaced Cool Jungle. One day the shoot was cancelled because Bullet’s only set of clothes were stolen. Two days later Bullet was beaten up and the bruises had to be incorporated into the script. Ducking between the down pours of rainy season and the trials of daily life and it’s a miracle anything got shot at all.
Well known Sierra Leonean actor, Desmond Finney, made a guest appearance as an older man looking back on his life on the street and the finished short premiered at the Opun Yu Yi
festival in March 2013 where it won an award. This was just the beginning. The Way group was invited to show the film and speak at various venues, including Don Bosco
homes for street children, and the film group has grown from 18 members to 50 including 12 young women.
The group is run by Alimamy Kamara, Mohamed Conteh and Sinneh Sesay who have been coming to WAYout since we ran our first courses six years ago.
Alimamy Kamara and Mohamed Conteh with award from Opun Yu Yi festival
Without them the group would not exist. With Alimamy’s encouragement members started coming in to the hub regularly and learning to shoot and edit, which is a great achievement, especially as most of them were not used to structure and tedious things like turning up on time.
Joe Crack and School Boy editing
There were a few new members who looked like they would be a challenge. Likeable but unreliable, disruptive and genius at picking pockets. 16 year olds Joe Crack, School Boy and Smokey, particularly stood out. But by June Joe Crack and School Boy had shot and edited their own short film and were helping others to do the same and had earned themselves certificates for improvement. WAYout gives street youth the chance to realise that they have talent and ability and to experience the pleasure of achievement and supporting others. And with achievements come plans for Joe Crack and School Boy to go home and see their families for the first time in eight years.
- JJ with his sisters
JJ ran away when he was ten after an argument with his sister. He didnt even say goodbye to his mother who spent the next eight years looking for him. JJ sent money and photos home when he could afford it but his mother never received them so did not know if he was alive or dead. JJ was reunited with his family and is now in their lives and off the streets.