KU students threatened and kicked out of Cambridge estate

Filmmaking students threatened and kicked out of Cambridge estate.


Students filming a short story on the Cambridge council estate in Kingston to show the ‘good side’ of it were chased away by young residents.


Federica Baggio


Two young men approached the filmmaking students and told them to leave the estate or they would steal and trash the filming equipment.


The  film’s director Riccardo D’Amico, 21, said: “When we told the two guys that we had the permission from the council manager to film there and they answered: ‘Do you really think the council owns this place?’


“They pulled out their phones and started texting. It was a bit scary but I wasn’t shocked about it. I knew it was going to come at some point,” Mr D’Amico added.


On November 12, after three days of filming, the students only had one missing scene which was meant to be shot in the estate’s basketball court, but the two men said that was ‘not going to happen’.


Quite ironically, the aim of the students’ film is to show that life in council estates is not always as bad as TV shows picture it – that people who grow on the estate are not necessarily the product of their environment.


“We have preconceptions of what life is on the estate. People usually talk about the gangster, criminal side of it,” Mr D’Amico said.


“I’m trying to go against that with my film, to show another face.


“Obviously I was quite disappointed by what happened on the last filming day, but I think it just proves what I want to say with my film, that there’s good and bad.”


 Dr Michael D’Souza, chairman of One Norbiton, the community group set up by the Government to ‘regenerate the estate and make it a better place to live’, said he believes this kind of things occur when people are frightened.


“We do know that there are personality problems on the estate. There’s a lot of problems with drugs and personality difficulties and we are very keen to try and help with that.”


The Cambridge Road estate is the largest in the Kingston Borough with over 930 houses between private-owned and council ones.


Many residents of the estate showed their support to the film crew, Mr D’Amico said.


One of them, clinical advisor Pearline Phillips, 63, lent the students her garage, which they used to film a few scenes.


Ms Phillips said she was very shocked when she heard what happened to the students.


“I don’t think you could find an estate that hasn’t got problems, but this is intimidation and I think they should have reported it to the police,” she said.

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