“Skem, I Love You” is the world’s first Social Enterprise feature film. Award-winning Skelmersdale social enterprise Connector Media CIC and the Sewing Rooms are producing a collection of ten inspirational and unconventional love stories, collaborating with Skem’s social enterprises and working with real Skelmersdale residents, telling their unique experiences. They now need help to complete their filming and are asking the community to support their project and help change lives in Skelmersdale, Lancashire. The “Skem, I Love You” film project needs to raise £60,000.
So far the “Skem, I Love You” film has been shooting three of their stories.
The Junk Food Cafe is run by the Birchwood Centre, an award-winning social enterprise in Skelmersdale. The Junk Food Cafe is led by charismatic chef Ian, who shares his ethos of inclusion and ecology by taking food donations and feeding the community at a pop up cafe, where people pay what they feel and take home a bag of shopping. Inspired by this Junk Food family, Ian decides to celebrate it. A Junk Food Cafe cookbook! This cookbook is about community cohesion, global food waste and a love for each other and love for our planet. At the book launch event, Ian declares “I love you”. The Junk Food Cafe family reply “We love you”.
Divine Days are an award-winning social enterprise working with people with learning and physical disabilities. Divine Days leader Katie inspires her dancers to create a unique experience for the ones they love the most, those who care for them on a day to day basis. We follow the Divine Days dancers as they plan their special secret performance, a magical event that touches their family, friends and carers. “We love you” they say.
Skem Men Aces are an award-winning football team made up of people with learning or physical disabilities. Manager Carl and his Head Coach and wife Mim run the club. We follow them as they prepare for a one-off fundraising charity game against the Skem Police. When a vulnerable young player finds love on the internet, all is not what it seems. Players rally round to support him in his hour of need. At the last hour the football game is cancelled, the Police bottle it citing an emergency. With the Skem Men Aces raring to go Carl rallies the internet: who wants a game? You won’t believe who turns up to play them. “I love you” says Carl. “I love you” says Mim.
“Skem, I Love You” also have project ideas aimed at working with the Syrian community, the Polish community, the LGBT community; devising new and unique stories reflecting true experiences as lived in Skelmersdale.
The film’s soundtrack is produced by Big Bambora, a Skem band. They will write and record a theme song “Skem, I Love You” to be performed in the opening musical sequence. The soundtrack will also feature other Skelmersdale music artists and will be recorded in The E Rooms, a Skem Social Enterprise.
Social Enterprise is also at the core of the “Skem, I Love You” approach to film production. Production of the film will include many new social projects that will have a real and lasting impact on the community. As an example, in response to a rise in knife crime, the film will be working with vulnerable Skelmersdale teens, supervised by the older community of skilled retired men who run the Men’s Shed to build a Pyramid Stage made from reused materials. The stage will be used in the film and left as a permanent structure for future arts events in Skelmersdale. The project will be supported by a local building firm, leading to work experience placements for the young participants.
The film is directed by Ian Gamester. He is an independent film maker mostly shooting music videos, ads and documentaries. He has worked for clients including BBC, Channel 4, Coca Cola, Sony, Universal, Warner, Evian, Sheraton, Calvin Klein, Phillips & Vivienne Westwood with films nominated in numerous festivals including Tropfest, Virgin Media Shorts, Vimeo Festival and Royal Television Society Awards. He has shot over 100 music videos working in New York, Tokyo, Sydney, Bangkok, Paris. He has also shot numerous documentaries for Comic Relief, UnLtd, National Lottery Fund, etc. As a lecturer, Ian has run filmmaking projects in Africa, UAE and all over the UK. He currently lectures BA film students at Liverpool Media Academy, the college just taking on Robbie Williams as a co-partner. “Skem, I Love You” will give recent LMA graduates work experience opportunities in technical and supporting actor roles. Ian also grew up in Skem, with his parents Paula and Martin both key figures in Skem’s social enterprise community running award winning businesses.
Producer Paula Gamester, from Connector Media CIC and The Sewing Rooms says “Skelmersdale has an amazing variety of social enterprises working in our community making a real difference to people’s lives. This film is a way of celebrating how unique Skem is and to show the world how the town is a pioneer in social enterprise. All profits from the film will go into the “Skem, I Love You’ fund which will be available for all Skem residents wanting to run creative projects in the future.”
Director Ian Gamester says “It’s a real honour to be working with such inspiring groups, with people devoted to making a real difference in the community. I’m humbled each day we film. Everyone involved so far has been so committed to the project. It’s a collaboration, we’re all feeding into a project that is gaining momentum and sending positive vibrations throughout the Skem community. We’re telling real and powerful stories that reflect experiences that are not represented on screen. The stories of people trying to make a change for good and a community coming together in love and positivity. I’m made up with what we’ve got so far, I can’t wait to share “Skem, I Love You” with the world. All we need now is the money to complete our vision! If 6,000 people give us a tenner then nothing can stop us!”