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Penny Woolcock followed the peace process between two of the biggest gangs in Birmingham. This film can change lives. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on April 11, 2013.

Penny Woolcock followed the peace process between two of the biggest gangs in Birmingham. This film can change lives.

About this project

Thanks to some very generous people we have now reached our initial target!!  We are beyond thrilled and extremely grateful.

We have another few hours to go and would like to assure anyone still thinking of giving that any additional funds will enable us to do more with this project and will be put to good use!


This film needs to be seen by as many inner city young people as possible - at home, at school, in prisons and as many police, judges, politicians and council leaders as we can get it in front of.  Help us and be part of One Mile Away's campaign to improve our communities on the #RoadToFreedom


One Mile Away is directed by award-winning filmmaker Penny Woolcock and charts the attempts by two warring gangs in inner city Birmingham, the Burger Bar Boys (B21) and the Johnson Crew (B6), to bring peace to their neighbourhoods.

"A riveting portrait of the complex, contentious reality of the streets, and the courage it takes to make a difference, it could well be this year’s most important British film"- Time Out

This is the second film that Penny Woolcock has made in Birmingham, following her Hip Hop musical 1 Day, which depicted these postcode wars. One Mile Away was initiated by Shabba, a young man affiliated to the Johnson side who met Penny during the making of 1 Day. He saw her as neutral and as someone who had built trust on both sides. Penny agreed to get involved and introduced Shabba to Dylan Duffus – the lead actor in 1 Day and affiliated to the Burger side. The film follows their painstaking journey over two years to recruit more supporters from both sides. Along the way, they get advice from Jonathan Powell, who oversaw the Good Friday Agreement, and the riots erupt in Birmingham, with surprising consequences.

You can read more about it in the Financial Times coverage or the Observer or the Telegraph

One Mile Away shows how film and the determination of ordinary people can transform entrenched social problems, whilst also being a compelling, ground-breaking watch. Watch the full trailer here: 

The Road To Freedom Tour!

One Mile Away Kickstarter Campaign
One Mile Away Kickstarter Campaign


Everyone involved so far.  The film was funded by Channel 4, Barrow Cadbury Trust and Creative England, with development grants from PUMA and Fallon and finishing funds from Influence Film Fund.

The distribution and social impact work of the film is being funded by Bertha Foundation and you, our backers.

We are also super grateful to those who have given their time and help to get One Mile Away's social enterprise, that will work in streets and schools to help our youth make better choices in difficult circumstance, off the ground.  That's Bertha Foundation, The Funding Network, Prince's Trust, Rosalind Munro and Lisa James.


In order for this inspirational story to make impact on the ground, we need to get distribute it in non-traditional ways. The primary audience for this film are young people living in inner cities, who wouldn't usually go to the cinema or tune in to watch a documentary on tv. In order to reach these people we are going on the road, and we need your help!

The #RoadToFreedom Tour will start on the 15th April (start of the summer school term) and carry on until the autumn. We plan to visit as many schools, youth centres and young offenders institutes as we can, to directly speak to the people who need to hear the message of the film.

However a tour costs money, and this is where we need your help: 

*The average return train fare from Birmingham to London is £50. Every small contribution can help towards the travel costs of bringing the cast of the film to a school or youth centre near you.

*Some youth centres don't have screening equipment and so for £100 we can hire a van to take our portable screen and projector to any location in the UK to set up a special screening.

*To make the event engaging for younger audiences we want to utilize the musical experience of our cast. £500 would contribute towards hiring sound equipment to host a local open mic night at a youth centre on the night of a film screening.

*To plan all of these events we need a coordinator to keep everything in check. £1000 would contribute towards the salary of our Impact Producer.

*In order to make the most impact in each region, we want to convene afternoon meetings with key partners working in violence reduction, youth unemployment, education and politics in each city. £1000 would contribute towards room hire and travel expenses for the delegates to attend. This would create a legacy in each city for using the film and music as a way to make change in the future. 

*For the #FreeYourCity highlight events we are looking for £5000 to cover a day of activity that will engage local and national press. The issues covered in the film are usually ignored in mainstream media and so these events will populate the news with more insight into the problems that our inner cities face over the coming months. As Dylan says in the film "when people in normal society get murdered, there's whole campaigns, there's rewards put up. But when people in my community get murdered, it don't even make it to the news, you're just dead."

Let's bring together audiences to discuss these vital issues of gun and knife crime, motivate them to aspire to better goals in life, and change the perception of the 'glamour' of the gang lifestyle.

As part of the #FreeYourCity events we will

>Host a partnership meeting between the key players in your city (educators, policy makers, youth teams, probabtion officers, rehabilitation staff, charities) to discuss the #RoadToFreedom Tour messages

>Screen the film in a large venue to accommodate young people in the area

>Host an open mic session for the cast members to perform and young people to express themselves through music. We will invite a key musical talent from the Grime/Urban music scene to perform at each event.

>Leave a legacy in the city for other young people to begin using the One Mile Away screening education packs in their area.

Any amount that you are able to contribute will be helping to save lives through our creative campaign. Please help us bring the film to a city near you. Support to #RoadToFreedom tour today!

The Team

One Mile Away - The brave young men who devised the project and invited Penny to film their struggle include: 

Matthias Thompson (Shabba) and Dylan Duffus (D-Boy)

Dylan Duffus aka D-Boy is one of the main reasons the #RoadToFreedom Tour is possible today. Alongside Matthias Thompson aka Shabba they set out on a mission to try and bring peace to a community that has been plagued with violence for years. Dylan is our head facilitator, he is a father of seven boys, so as you can imagine his experience is invaluable. Matthias is the man who reached out first and is one of the driving forces in our movement.He is very interested in finding ways to develop business projects in deprived areas and is a man of the community.

See Dylan and YT in the trailer for Penny's previous film 1 Day:

Simeon Moore (Zimbo)

Simeon Moore aka Zimbo was born in Birmingham and lives in Aston with his two kids. He first met Penny 5 years ago but only got involved in One Mile Away after seeing 1 Day. He is a big believer in a change of mentality. Zimbo believes that gangs are merely a symptom of a bigger problem and that rather than merely treating the symptom, which has been attempted many times before, we should tackle the bigger issue of mental well being. He believes unhealthy minds are one of the biggest problems facing young people of disadvantaged areas today. Zimbo is keen to see changes on the streets and in his community.

Joel Eccleston (YT)

Joel Ecclestone aka YT was born in Chicago but grew up in Handsworth, while his dad stayed overseas in New York. His role models were the men in gangs on the streets. He first met Penny on 1 Day, five years ago and now his passion lies in connecting with young people most at risk of committing crime and joining a criminal gang. YT believes it is time for change and is committed to making it happen. YT is keen on getting young people to realise you can be ‘REAL’ in more ways than the streets would lead you to believe.

Penny Woolcock - Director

Penny Woolcock has been directing award-winning documentaries, feature films and opera for the stage for twenty years. Her recent work includes On The Streets (2010) a film about homeless people on the streets of London and 1 Day (2009) about a day in the life of an inner city hustler.

James Purnell - Producer

James will assume his role as Director, Strategy and Digital at the BBC Wednesday 20th March 2013. He first worked at the BBC in the 1990s, as Head of Corporate Planning. He had previously been a research fellow on IPPR's media project, and before that was a strategy consultant in media and telecommunications at Hydra Associates.

He left the BBC to be Special Adviser on the Knowledge Economy, including Internet and broadcasting policy, to Tony Blair after he became Prime Minister. He was elected Member of Parliament for Stalybridge and Hyde, before becoming Secretary of State for Culture and then for Work and Pensions. He resigned from the government in June 2009, and stood down from Parliament at the 2010 Election.

Since leaving Parliament, he has been Senior Producer at Rare Day, an independent production company producing the award winning One Mile Away and an adviser to the Boston Consulting Group. He is on the board of the Royal National Theatre and the British Film Institute.

BRITDOC Films (Impact Distribution) is led by:

Jess Search (CEO)

Jess Search is Chief Executive of the BRITDOC Foundation, which has given funding and support to over 60 award-winning and influential documentaries including Oscar-nominated Hell and Back Again, The Yes Men Fix the World, Afghan Star and The End of the Line. In partnership with the Sundance Institute, BRITDOC runs Good Pitch. 

For more on the Good Pitch, check this out:

Jess was previously a Channel 4 Commissioning Editor and a founder of Shooting People, the online social network for filmmakers. She has an MBA and is on the board of IPPR the progressive think tank.

Sarah Mosses (Partnerships Manager and Impact Producer)

Sarah began working with the Foundation during the BRITDOC Film Festivals 2006-2008 and then progressed to act as Distribution Consultant for The Yes Men Fix The World and Erasing David, helped launch the Yes Men and Shooting People Branded Channels for the Babelgum online platform and acted as a consultant for Working Films. She nows manages operations for BRITDOC Films, the new distribution arm of the BRITDOC Foundation, which includes the launch of Ping Pong (, supported by the BFI and Big Lottery Fund), One Mile Away, and advising on social issue campaign strategies for films that take part in our Good Pitch events.

Photography - Alexander Piatti

The beautiful portraits of the team featured in the video above were done by the very talented Alexander Piatti. If you are interested in his work please visit:

One Mile Away the film was supported by Channel 4, Creative England, the PUMA.Creative Catalyst Award, Bertha BRITDOC Fund and the Influence Film Foundation. We hope you will join us to launch the #RoadToFreedom Tour so that more audiences will get to see this vital film!

Risks and challenges

We know that it is the unique experience of the cast that has enabled them to achieve amazing results reducing violence in the Birmingham area so far. However the task is far from over and there is a lot more work to be done.

This is an extremely sensitive process and not something to be taken lightly. The men involved have already been on this journey for 2 years and it is still a long road ahead. The #RoadToFreedom Tour of 2013 will be the beginning of an extensive creative education programme using the film over the coming years. We need your support in order to kick start this campaign in the right way.

We know that some schools that are desperate for an intervention such as this, but simply don't have the funds to support the team to visit. However we know that their personal appearance, answering frank and direct questions about their experiences is what resonates with young people. By offering the film screening, music performance and discussion free of charge to certain schools will remove a barrier to access for those most in need.

One of the challenges will be to build up long term relationships with the schools involved, where we hope the team can visit on a regular basis, to deliver their education programme to at risk students. A film screening and popular event is a great way to introduce the concepts and themes to both staff and students, before starting a more long term educational arrangement.

BRITDOC have successfully run 3 Film Festivals (2006-2008) and international events such as the Good Pitch in London, New York and San Francisco. We know how to put on a good show and ensure that the right people attend. We need your support to get to the most hard to reach audiences by taking the film directly to them.

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    Bring One Mile Away and #TheRoadToFreedom Tour to your school!
    This will include:
    *A Screening of the film followed by a Q+A with cast members
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    *Dedicated discussion with students around the issues highlighted in the film. Includes excerpts from the One Mile Away education programmes.

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    This will include:
    *A Screening of the film followed by a Q+A with cast members
    *Travel costs for the cast to come to your school on a date that suits you.
    *Dedicated discussion with students around the issues highlighted in the film. Includes excerpts from the One Mile Away education programmes.
    *PLUS introductory music seminar from the cast on lyric writing and producing beats.

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    Fancy discussing life on the road? Interested in the making of the film? Have some creative suggestions for the team? Or simply wish to chat about their favourite musicians? Whatever your like, grab yourself a private dinner with Dylan Duffus and other cast members!

    Maximum of 5 guests plus the cast.

    (Includes a signed photograph of you with the cast. In Birmingham/West Midlands or London, travel not included).

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    Ever wondered what it is like to make feature films? Have a burning question for an award winning director? If you would like to meet Penny Woolcock for a private dinner in London, this could be your chance!

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    Bring #TheRoadToFreedom Tour to your city!

    By pledging this amount our team will curate a night of music and film at a venue in your chosen UK city. The day will include:
    *Afternoon meeting with key organisations working on this issue (educators, politicians, charities, youth workers etc) to discuss how your city can learn about the work undertaken by One Mile Away.
    *Screening of One Mile Away in local venue.
    *Q+A with the cast and crew
    *Music performance from the stars of the film
    *Music performance from local musical talents
    *Brief for continuing this work in your area.

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Funding period

- (30 days)