Hackney writer creates web series to deter young people from "street life"

cast of false paradise

False Paradise features (left to right) Pierre Wilson-Cox, Rashid Matabaro, Dwayne Lewis and Kayode Cole. - Credit: Quincy

A Hackney writer has created a "raw and authentic" drama about youth culture and the struggles of a young man trying to keep his family together. 

False Paradise, season 2, premiered on YouTube in February this year, and since its first episode aired it has been viewed thousands of times. 

The film series, made up of 7 episodes per season, was written and produced by Hackney-born Sylvia Amanquah.

It explores the different social issues of young people growing up in inner cities and the struggles of parents trying to keep their children on the right track. 

Sylvia told the Gazette: “False paradise was created out of me wanting to tell a story of the inner-city street culture and the challenges young people experience. 

“It was very important for me to be as authentic as possible. I wanted to show this through a heartfelt story, not the typical drug-dealing, over-exaggerated violent short films and online series which I have seen over the years.” 

cast and crew of false paradise

False Paradise features actors from Newham with some scenes filmed in Custom House. - Credit: Quincy

The gritty web series tells the story of Darren, a young black man battling to escape his past to create a stable life for his daughter Courtney after the loss of her mum.

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Darren, played by Rashied Marabaro, has to prove himself throughout the series in a bid to gain custody of his daughter. 

But he gets caught up in a gang war between drug dealers, putting his dream of being a good dad in jeopardy.

The web series looks at the choices Darren makes as he deals with the obstacles and battles to win his daughter back.

Niyi Towolawi, director of False Paradise, said: “I was attracted to this project for its rawness and authenticity in exploring the consequences of gang activities, especially on loved ones who are often forced to pick up the pieces."

Sylvia added: "Growing up, I lost a lot of friends to drugs, prison and violent deaths. This is what influenced me. I wanted to show street life does not have a positive outcome and to deter young people from going down this road."

It is available to watch on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmdGy-HaQdc

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