In June 2017, filmmaker and youth worker Nendie Pinto-Duschinsky was in the middle of making a documentary about the closure of London’s Stowe Youth Centre when, mid-shoot, the fire at the nearby Grenfell Tower happened. Working with a team of nine young people, including survivors, local residents and volunteers, Pinto-Duschinsky decided to turn her camera on the disaster and the people whose lives it devastated.
The resulting film, On the ground at Grenfell, tells the human stories at the heart of the devastating event, and, as it states from the outset, shows a very different atmosphere to what is shown on mainstream news coverage. With a background in publishing – Pinto-Duschinsky used to run The Cut magazine for ten years with photographer Nina Manandhar – the filmmaker clearly has a knack for impactful storytelling and revealing personality and character through her creative medium.
The film has made waves nationally and was screened in Parliament to 170 MPs at the six-month anniversary of Grenfell, Grenfell United’s first public meeting. Afterwards, Nick Hurd, minister for Grenfell said: “There won’t be an MP who has gone out of that meeting, seen that film, who doesn’t think ‘How do I make sure the state does the right thing? How can I hold the government to account? What can I do? […]’ The honesty of the message, the authenticity of the message, the dignity of the message left a very powerful impression.”
It also won Best Film in Portobello Film Festival, received a standing ovation at Sheffield Doc Fest, and has been placed in the National Archive.
To mark the one-year anniversary of Grenfell Tower fire today (14 June 2018), On the ground at Grenfell is now online to watch via Grenfell Speaks, a platform to support the Grenfell Tower survivors. Click here to donate to the London Fire Relief Fund to help those affected by the disaster.