An NFTS graduating student’s film is to be discussed at a House of Commons screening and discussion on the legal device of ‘Joint Enterprise’ on December 13th.
The documentary, called SODIQ directed by student Adeyemi, aged 27, follows the life of his teenage friend, Sodiq Adeojo (pictured above), with whom he set up Peckham Youngsters FC, a local football team for kids on their housing estate ‘to give teenagers another kind of gang to belong to.’ At that time (2008), Sodiq dreamed of becoming a doctor. Five years later (2012), he was convicted of murder and is now serving a 30-year jail sentence in Feltham Young Offenders Institution.
The film charting Sodiq’s tragic life so far will be shown to MPs and high profile guests followed by a panel debate chaired by Diane Abbott MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.
Speaking ahead of the screening Diane Abbott said: "The issue of joint enterprise is a complex one. As a strong supporter of civil liberties, but also as someone who has first-hand experience of the problems posed by gang culture in urban Britain, I can see why the law warrants review. Sodiq presents us with an opportunity to re-open the discussion, as well as debate other issues with the criminal justice system."
Adeyemi, who began filming the documentary in 2008 when Sodiq was 15 and still at school, says he feels grateful that he was able to escape the same fate and instead fulfil his dream to study documentary directing at the NFTS. An earlier version of the film helped him gain a place at the School.
“It never occurred to me that I could craft a film that would be shown in Parliament and affect people’s view of society – it feels surreal. And the story’s not nearly over yet. Sodiq’s appeal is yet to be heard. It is a work in progress. An unfinished story... ”
In November 2012, a report written by another member of the football team called Kenny Imafidon about ‘How Politics and Economics Affect Gang Culture and Youth Violence in the UK’ was submitted to parliament by the MP Simon Hughes.
Head of Documentary Direction Dick Fontaine said: “It’s immensely encouraging that the passionate commitment of a brilliant young filmmaker who is so intimately involved in this deeply troubling case of ‘joint enterprise’ is being listened to by politicians.”
Sodiq Adeojo is a 20-year-old young man from Peckham who has been found guilty of the murder of Sylvester Akpalara, an 18-year- old from Streatham on the 29th December 2010. In 2004, Sodiq (aged 11) and Adeyemi (aged 19) set up a football team for kids on their housing estate ‘to give them a different type of gang to belong to’. It won the local league for two years in a row, was a huge success, and led to Adeyemi gaining work as a talent scout for Millwall FC. Adeyemi began making this documentary in 2008 when the team was about to end as he left to go to university. At the time Sodiq was about to take his GCSE’s and embark on an academic journey towards studying medicine and becoming a doctor. In less than four years the life of this seemingly promising young man, albeit from a tough neighbourhood took a dramatic turn for the worse. Along with six other boys he was accused of murder but was the only one to be convicted. Sodiq’s hopes, aspirations and desires were documented in Adeyemi’s initial film called “Running The Line”.
The purpose of this 60-minute documentary is to discover what the turning point was in Sodiq’s life and how this is microcosm of wider societal issues in Britain today.
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