Fatal stabbing of 17-year-old boy prompts filmmaking project to save young lives in Milton Keynes

Young people in MK schools are being given the chance to make their owns films to persuade their peers to put down knives.

Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 11:56 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 8:02 pm

The project, organised by Junior Filmmakers, is called The Lewis Initiative in memory of Lewis Wenman, a 17-year-old who died from a stab wound to the chest in Springfield two months ago.

His death drove home the "urgent need" to create communication and engagement programmes with young people to reduce the use of knives and save lives, say project organisers.

Lewis's mum Lisa will work with the project in the hope that other families will be spared the heartbreak she is going through. A poignant video has already been prepared to pay tribute to Lewis and show the effect his death had on his family and friends.

Junior Filmmakers founder Nana Oguntola said: "Following the deaths of Ben Gillham-Rice and Dom Ansah in late 2019, and Jay Fathers at the start of 2021 as well as Lewis, it’s more important than ever that all organisations in MK place their hands on the deck to do what they can to reduce any more loss of life due to knife crime."

The project works with young people to teach them filmmaking skills and produce short films which can have serious messages designed to encourage thought and change.

Funded by L&Q Foundation, Junior Filmmakers will work with fifty young people from primary and secondary schools to produce five films with the theme ‘Knives ruin Lives’. Once the films are completed they will be premiered to community leaders, schools and also toured to school assemblies.

The film screenings in school assemblies will be accompanied by talks from police, experts and people impacted by knife crime.

The project will ensure Lewis is never forgotten

Nana said Junior Filmmakers already had funding to make films on knife crime in 2020, but these were cancelled due to Covid-19. The project is supported by Cllr Terry Baines, Cllr Paul Trendall and Cllr Ric Brackenbury

She said: "I knew Lewis as a little boy when he attended primary school with my son. They were friends and he spent some nights in my house. His death has brought home the gruesomeness of knife crime and has given an urgency to this project for us to work with young people to prevent any more young people dying due to the use of knives."

Nana added: "Through 'The Lewis Initiative', Junior Filmmakers will work to ensure the memory of Lewis Wenman is preserved in Milton Keynes."

The first film camp of ‘The Lewis Initiative’ will take place during the February half term. For more information, see here.

Lewis Wenman

A 16-year-old boy, who is too young to be named, has been charged with killing Lewis. He appeared at Luton Crown Court earlier this month and pleaded not guilty to murder, He also denies a charge of theft.

A trial is due to be held in June.

Tributes were left at the scene of Lewis's stabbing in November