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New film starring Idris Elba and Gemma Arterton tells the story of Chelsea's forgotten residents

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Just down the road from Chelsea’s desirable SW10 apartments are high-rise council estates. These lifestyles may seem more than worlds apart but the reality is a lot closer than just a few streets. Riverside luxury juxtaposes day-to-day grind but no matter where you live, everyone faces major choices and trials in life.

100 Streets, directed by Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated Jim O’Hanlon, with original screenplay by Leon Butler, explores the complicated life of a group of individuals living in contemporary London – considered destination capital of the world.

Starring Idris Elba, Gemma Arterton and Tom Cullen, 100 Streets follows the characters negotiated paths through life – through those hundred streets.

The film comes with appreciation and support from S.T.O.R.M, a London-based charity.

Speaking of their work, Marie Hanson, founder and trustee, says: “We deal with everything, we deal with young people, knife and gun crime. We work with the parents, also offer classes and we have a nursery as well.”

Marie Hanson, founder of S.T.O.R.M

Continuing, she says: “Basically, mothers can leave their child free of charge whilst they finish their education; we run art therapy around domestic violence so you know we do counselling, we have a mothers and parents class where mothers can literally come along with their new born babies and get help, or you know "Are you breastfeeding right?" etc. and things like that.”

Marie started S.T.O.R.M as a response to her story as a victim of domestic violence, explaining, “When I left refuge there was no support for me… I don’t believe there’s any organisations like ours.”

100 Streets deals with the effects of crime both in the short and long term. Offering a compelling insight into each of the characters’ daily struggles and upsets, the film is a reminder that no matter what your financial status or profession - we all face dramas and demons.

“London can be a very lonely place,” Marie says.

“That's what the film kind of shows you, but it shows you're not on your own too; everyone thinks of their life in a bad way. When literally watching that film you think 'You know what? People are all going through the same thing in different ways'.”

Motivated by the value of empowerment, S.T.O.R.M is moulded on the belief that if you want to change your life for the better then you truly can. The organisation is formed of 12 members of staff but has given support to way over 2,000 people over the past 11 years.

“I look at your CV and I will ask 'What do you really want to do?' and they'll say what it is and we will fight and make them do that with us,” says Marie.

“A man who was sleeping on the streets came to S.T.O.R.M. so we gave him dinner and did his CV and now he's in a relationship and has completed a teacher course. He's a qualified teacher now!”

From recognising the work S.T.O.R.M completes for the community, 100 Streets writer Leon Butler approached the charity to understand the personal problems people both young and old face physically and emotionally in the city.

Marie explains We’ve literally grown up with 100 Streets to be quite fair; they’ve influenced us and we’ve influenced them. They needed young people for extras so now some of our young people have gone into acting careers and our chefs were needed to do the food catering during the filming. It's such a community film, it's important that people know we're community minded too and how we help develop our organisation.”

The collaborative drama explores the intertwined stories of numerous city dwellers: a former rugby star (Idris Elba) and his estranged wife (Gemma Arterton), a small-time drug dealer (Franz Drameh) and a cabbie desperate to adopt a baby for his wife’s happiness (Charlie Creed-Miles) amongst others. Not only are they all similar in their location, but are all fighting to keep their lives on track.

Marie says: “When I watched the film, I could see so many people going through different stuff but all in one area in London.

“There are organisations out there to help you, if you want it. The film is a great platform for promoting change. I hope people will seek support. We're all here to help, that's what motivates us."

The film will have its UK Premiere at BFI Southbank on Tuesday 8th November as part of BLACK STAR, the BFI’s major season dedicated to the range and power of black actors, which runs at venues across the UK from October 17th until the end of the year.

100 Streets is released in UK cinemas and on VOD on Friday 11th November. 

For more information on S.T.O.R.M visit their website here.

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