Former addict wants to help others follow his film escape route

Film-maker Garry Fraser. Picture: Greg Macvean
Film-maker Garry Fraser. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A BAFTA-winning director and former heroin addict is seeking £15,000 to transform the lives of disadvantaged youngsters through filmmaking.

Garry Fraser, who turned his own life around to work with Irvine Welsh, will use the cash to help them make a gritty film set in north Edinburgh.

The 36-year-old aims to get 11 people off the streets – steering them away from gangs and drug abuse – and into education. Produced over three months, the 15-minute film is expected to premiere in the Scottish Parliament.

Garry, who won the Scottish Newcomer Bafta in filmmaking in 2013 with his film Everybody’s Child, said he had made “bad decisions” in the past but wanted to share his experience to gives others a “fighting chance”.

He said: “It’s really important for me to help create stepping stones for socially excluded young people throughout Scotland.

“I found my own path out of the margins, and now I want to leave a ladder for others to climb. These projects are a proven catalyst and a real game-changer for the lives of the most vulnerable young people.”

Under Garry’s supervision, they will get hands-on experience of how to bring their own stories to life and gain the necessary work experience to start an access course at Edinburgh College.

Dealing with the technical side of the project will be 20-year-old Iain Henderson who has also won a Bafta, his film The Wee ’hings having been shown in front of 40,000 people at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony last year.

He said he had seen people “flourish and grow in confidence” as a result of being involved in the filmmaking.

The project, likely to be filmed in Pilton or Drylaw, is open to people aged between 16 and 25 chosen from across Scotland. Some will be referred by charities and organisations like the YMCA, while others can apply via social media like Twitter and Facebook.

The money will cover travel, food and drink for 11 youngsters plus staffing costs, camera hire, insurance and post-production marketing.

The minimum cost for running the project is £9000 but Garry stressed that it would have a greater chance of making a “real difference” to the lives of youngsters if the £15,000 target was met.

People can donate via an online fundraising page on Garry’s website, Inner City Arts.

This is the fourth run by his social enterprise Wideo Media.