Writer/Director K.D.Pascall Talks About BUFF 2016 Premiere of his Debut Feature, Residential

K.D Pascall will make his directorial debut with this feature film, Residential getting its UK premiere as part of the British Urban Film Festival’s Closing Gala.

Starting his filmmaking career in 2004 as cameraman for the highly acclaimed DVD, Streetz Incarcerated he gradually worked his way up, interviewing artists such as Skepta, Dizzee Rascall, 50 Cent, Krept & Konan, Lethal B, Giggs, Chipmunk and many more across the UK. Pascall then went on to develop ‘Ethos’ which focused on the modelling, music and fashion industry in the UK.  His work then took him across the world to work in America and Jamaica, where he joined forces with Unrivalled Media to create Reggae dancehall DVD, My World.

Since then Pascall has been behind the scenes filming and producing projects for numerous companies including adverts and documentaries for channel 5. He developed a short film ‘Fast Life’ and now teaming up with Jamaican dancehall DJ Chris Goldfinger, they collaboratively pooled resources to bring us Residential.

Residential follows the journey of Bolo, (Aubrey Whyte) a paranoid sociopath with a vision to set up life back home in Jamaica with his family. Wanting to get out of a life of crime Bolo’s future hangs in the balance when he sees his childhood friend gunned down. We quickly caught up with Pascall to find out more…

At the start of the film the intro references Jamaica touching on subjects such as politics the government and music i.e. Dancehall. Do you think this has an influence or some effect on the gang life between the youth of today in both Jamaica and London?

To some degree yes I think certain types of music can influence behaviour within particular circles. As far as political and government it’s very clear especially in Jamaica how much of an influence their decisions on society can have on the people, whether it’s gangs or individually.

In the film it was quoted, ‘Money, Sex & Power’ is the new meaning or way of life for the youths do you believe this is entirely true and why?

I don’t think it’s particularly true because a lot of our youths are clued up and educated now. However, I definitely believe money, sex and power will always be an underlying theme in our communities. Everywhere you turn you’re faced with at least one of the three and if you’re not mentally strong it’s easy to fall victim to any of them. Without highlighting these situations and spreading awareness the traps will always be waiting.

What was the inspiration for Residential and are there any elements based on real life?

Residential was always a side project that I had on my computer. It was never supposed to be longer than maybe 20-30 minutes. It was a lot grittier than it is now but then I figured that with the amount of other gangster films in the genre I should at least humanise the main character into a family man because nobody is a gangster 24/7 especially in front of their children. Growing up in the 90’s I was witness to family members or their friends go through bad situations but then on the flip side they were kind people who cared about their families. To the law they were unproductive villains who only sold drugs to survive. So there are real elements involved in Bolo’s character most definitely.

Do you think ‘the streets’ regarding drugs, gangs and crimes are changing for the better or worse, is this a major problem that needs to be addressed nationally?

I think it’s 50/50. There’s always the potential for it to improve out here but then how much resources are being allocated to improve the situation? Who’s really taking time out to speak with the youths and find out what it is they want? I’m not sure. I don’t have the answers but I do know that nobody out here is waiting around for opportunity they’re creating their own. As far as it being nationally addressed, yes it does need it but only through actions, not too much of this talking business because it then begins to lose momentum with the youths, fake promises and non-action.

Do you think there’s enough help out there for people struggling to get out of street life?

epk-residential_400It depends what you mean by struggling. Some people struggle mentally, I’ve got friends who struggle with the idea of getting older. Struggle with having to become more responsible. We were never really conditioned to deal with the impact of political decisions that we face today. Some people have embraced street life because it’s a reality that they know like the back of their hands, a form of survival. I don’t particularly think there’s enough help because what can you really tell someone who’s got numerous debts piling up, bailiffs knocking at their door, excessive court letters coming through their letterbox? When that pressure is applied then that person will get that money by any means necessary to avoid that pain. So street life in that sense isn’t even an option.

Is there a motto that you live by, if so what is it?

I do have a number of motto’s that I live by but the one that’s currently helping me at the moment is ‘Anything is possible’.

This is a film which will resonate with many young people who are immersed in street culture, how does the film impact you and what important life lessons kept you away from a negative lifestyle and into the film-world?

The film impacted me from the standpoint that power is temporary and illusionary. Our main character has already gone through the mix of street life. The early 90’s where Yardie influence in London was very influential, he was the topic of discussion in all tabloids, the active type who was responsible for the high crime levels in south London but then as you will see in the end he had to pay a karmic debt for all of that. Especially at a time when all he wants to do is focus on the family and set up life back home.

Personally I lost a few close friends, and sometimes these things can take a lot out of you. I’m quite a private person and tend to bottle stuff inside, that’s just the way I’ve been dealing with things for the most of my life. So the day I bought my first camera I knew there was no turning back, it was the perfect way for me to express myself without having to talk too much, I’d rather show visually.

This is an independent film tell us about the filming process and how you managed your budget?

The filming process was interesting. We knew we attempting something that could easily fall apart if we didn’t stay on top of things daily i.e. communication, teamwork etc. I remember being on set of the British film, Rolling With the Nines and observing the effort that it took from the production crew and thinking to myself, I have to do this someday. So I was pumped up every day to execute scenes as well as organise the team or do whatever was required of me at the time. My main strategy was not to be too bossy, but to work as one of the lads on the frontline due to our limited numbers. It wasn’t easy and I suppose like any other team we had our ups and downs but my mind was always focused on the bigger picture because I knew that this was easy compared to street life. Managing the budget was not as stressful as I had imagined because I had a very good accountant on board who was very sufficient and instrumental in getting things pat down, no frivolous conduct, everything financially had to be kept on a short leash.

How did you go about casting the film, did you have actors in mind beforehand or did you cast blindly?

Finding the cast for the film was fun for me because all I wanted was unknown actors in order for me to build them up and put them out there. Also I didn’t have no budget for known actors! The Asher D’s of the world weren’t on the cards for this one. But I’m a strong believer in myself and in people’s talent so we used online sites to sift through potentials and then held an audition where we shortlisted people. Luckily we were able to work with blessed people who worked really hard to get the project finished. In regards to our lead actor, Aubrey Whyte me and him spoke at length in a Thornton Heath barbershop in south London long before we began shooting because I had watched him in an Internet series called Circle of Revenge. His acting I felt was in pocket and being the visionary that I am, I automatically coupled him as being the main character for Residential.

You worked on the now controversial Channel 5 documentary Gangland – what are your thoughts about how the program came across, how people reacted to it and whether or not you would have done anything differently in regards to your role in the project and the final outcome?

I think the Gangland program shone light on a situation currently happening on our streets with our youths. I’m aware that people have different points of views in which I respect and acknowledge but won’t comment on. I can say that not all has been bad though. To some extent I think people should watch both episodes again. I feel as one of the producers, that the message we tried to project was overshadowed by the shock and ‘in your face’ visuals. There’s probably a few things I would have done differently but when you’re dealing with these streets it’s a highly sensitive subject.

To a lot of people, it’s the only life they know so they don’t necessary want their reality to be exposed at those types of levels, good or bad. I felt like the program was very much misunderstood maybe the title was a bit strong and threw people a little, but I can assure you that whatever we were speaking about before the program aired, has now become irrelevant, therefore let’s do something about the situation and stop using the easy route of laying blame or shooting the messenger. That’s too easy. Let’s do something with the spotlight before it fades off of us again for God knows how long.

How important is it that Residential gets to screen at the 2016 British Urban Film Festival as the closing Gala film?

I’m truly grateful. To me I couldn’t have asked for anything more. The day I submitted it to Emmanuel [Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe – British Urban Film Festival, founder] we sat down over a few drinks and I let him have it. I let him know how far I’ve come from in life and an opportunity not only gives me hope but for the numerous youths who look up to me in my community, my children and cousins. OK, it’s not an Oscar award or nothing but it inspires a multitude of people out there who have seen my work from helping to build the industry shooting Streetz Incarcerated DVD’s to doing music videos with numerous grime acts and now film making. So I suppose it’s like a milestone in my career. I look back and realise that I represent more than just myself, I represent potential for any young black guy whether being on the roads, working at Sainsbury’s, chilling at home playing PlayStation. Anything is possible.

What do you want the audience to take away from Residential?

I want the audience to resonate with each character and understand that this life can happen to you in some capacity. Most of the scenes are based off real situations that I’ve either seen or know of. I’ve just knitted a lot of them together and added imagination. But ultimately emphasise and understand that it’s not your stereotypical gangster genre film. There are a lot of hidden messages if you watch closely.

I also want people to see the film and take away the fact that we done this from scratch! That if we can do it then if you’re serious you can too. The world is out there for our taking, there’s no need to play and think small any more that’s poor mentality. Time to set the pace for the next generation. I’m just a normal man who’s contributing to creating a better legacy for black men in the UK. We’re a lot smarter than they give us credit for we’re just not exercising our true abilities.

What’s next for you and how can people keep up to date with your projects?

As far as my next move, I’m not rushing only because I do want to see the feedback from Residential. I’ve been approached by a number of investors who are suggesting a series but I’m going to see which way the pendulum swings before making my move. I’ve got another script written which is a lot different to this one and another two in development but for now let’s wait and see yo!

People can follow me on Instagram  network. I’m not on too many social media platforms at the moment but follow me and I’ll keep you updated as we go along.

Residential screens tonight at the British Urban Film Festival, at the Odeon Swiss Cottage from 7pm – 11pm. With a post screening Q&A hosted by Travis Jay and Akua Gyamfi.
Book your tickets here.


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