Iggy London’s Area Boy shows us the reality of being stuck between two worlds

The trailer for the London-based filmmaker’s new film Area Boy continues on his adventurous showcasing of coming-of-age, identity and community.

13 September 2023


When the award-winning filmmaker, artist and writer Iggy London was younger, he became enamoured by the world of Def Poetry Jam. An entrance point to spoken word and poetry outside of academia for many, watching the HBO series soon became a ritual. “Every episode felt like a Sunday service of some sort,” he tells us. “I grew up watching Daniel Beaty, Saul Williams and Black Ice perform on that stage and share words that felt transcendental for me,” he adds. Now, the multi-disciplinary artist heralds the show and performing his own poetry as the driving force behind his outlook and approach to filmmaking – made up of emotive storytelling, experimental film techniques and music. “Those years were my film school, I just didn’t know it yet.”

In the trailer for his new film Area Boy Iggy lights up the screen with shots of the protagonist Eli, as he navigates his identity in the throes of influence from the church community and his troublesome friends. “Ultimately the film is about pretending. The battle between the religious world and the secular world. Eli is stuck between those two paths and is left to make the decision between those two paths and why,” he tells us. The first four shots of the trailer move at a contemplative pace with audio of a call and response prayer between a pastor and his congregation in the background. After the title is introduced it picks up and intensifies, showing Eli navigating several relationships and dynamics in his surroundings. As the audience, we are left to connect to Eli through intimate shots, with little to no speech from him, that help us to connect to a time when we have been unsure or at a crossroads. “To a certain degree the film is trying to suggest something to our audience as well. We all pretend; hide a little bit of ourselves to make our lives easier to deal with,” Iggy adds.


Iggy London: Area Boy (Copyright © British Broadcasting Corporation and Sungazer Limited, 2023)

With such a multidisciplinary practice, one can only wonder how Iggy decides which medium will drive his narratives. But, the artist-writer-filmmaker says that it’s not a whirlwind process or a battle of the mediums but just a natural conclusion driven by his belief in his art being a “mirror for reality”. He adds: “It could be school kids chatting shit to each other in a chicken shop, or an intimate conversation between a mother and son on the train. I’m a spectator and I have always been.”

Largely inspired by his time based in the north of England and the Midlands for university, he remembers the “beautiful yet sad nature of some of the places that I visited. So, rather than shooting in a bustling city with shops filled with people, and parks and fields full of community, I wanted the town Eli and his mother moved to, to be a far cry from the picturesque world that we often see rural England to be,” he tells us. “Some of the places I would occupy are inherently mundane and uninspiring to the young people who live there. They’re stripped back and often broken, so all the more reason why the church and religion becomes a place and thing to live by,” he adds.

Many filmmakers have a story to tell of their first time watching a film, and the subsequent shift that it brought to their outlook on life as an observer. But, when Iggy was younger he was unable to go to the cinema, and would instead sit at home watching “loads and loads of trailers”. Now, a trailer is the first thing he sees in his head when constructing an idea, so it’s no wonder that throughout the one for Area Boy there is a certain quality that has us rooting for Eli, longing for him to find himself, as if we’ve seen the prequel to the parts of his life being shown in these 46 seconds. Just wrapping up the world premier for the film at Venice Film Festival, and preparing for more screenings across the world in the next couple of months, Iggy is excited to see how the narrative translates to people all over. “The act of being someone that you’re not permeates into our every move through society and it is important that this film speaks powerfully to that notion.”

GalleryIggy London: Area Boy (Copyright © British Broadcasting Corporation and Sungazer Limited, 2023)

Hero Header

Iggy London: Area Boy (Copyright © British Broadcasting Corporation and Sungazer Limited, 2023)

Share Article

About the Author

Yaya Azariah Clarke

Yaya (they/them) was previously a staff writer at It’s Nice That. With a particular interest in Black visual culture, they have previously written for publications such as WePresent, alongside work as a researcher and facilitator for Barbican and Dulwich Picture Gallery.

It's Nice That Newsletters

Fancy a bit of It's Nice That in your inbox? Sign up to our newsletters and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the creative world.