Henry Blake’s County Lines Draws From Youth Work

A thoroughly absorbing though deeply upsetting drama, County Lines is a remarkable debut feature from New Zealand-born writer-director Henry Blake. Inspired by his own experiences as a youth worker in East London, Blake hopes the film will change perception of the kinds of young people he works with, who often find themselves exploited into a life of crime. Josh Slater-Williams from Scottish magazine, The Skinny interviewed Blake earlier this year at the Glasgow Film Festival.

Blake, who still works as a youth worker, told the publication he has seen a lot of violence.

“I wanted to try and get as close as I can to what I’ve seen and create an uncomfortable distance to it, not just go handheld on everything and then whip up to a blood-splattered wall. It was more about how when the violence occurs; you should feel like you can put your hand into the frame but you’re just out of reach to help. It was all about judging distance,” he says.

Original article by Josh Slater-Williams, The Skinny, November 16, 2020.

Photo by Mildred.


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