Short film kicks into gear in Hackney

Cast and crew of Battle Creek Hackney

Cast and crew of Battle Creek Hackney - Credit: Archant

A Jackie Chan fan is offering a punchy take on the martial arts genre with a zero-budget film shot in the heart of Hackney.

Writer and director Azeem Mustafa has lived in the borough for all of his 28 years, but says his tongue-in-cheek short is not designed as a commentary on the prevalence of crime in the area.

“I grew up watching Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee films, so martial arts have always been an influence,” said Azeem, who moved recently to Lordship Road, Stoke Newington, after 27 years in Lower Clapton.

“We were kind of inspired to do something like an action movie, we all grew up watching them. This script came from our love of that, we are trying to pay homage to movies like that.”

The trailer for Battle Creek Hackney is narrated in a guttural American voice (“I wanted it in the style of 90s American movies of that time”), and is a mix of dizzying martial arts displays and spoof-style humour.

“We are playing with the stereotype that Hackney is a crime-riddled place.

“It does speak to the stereotype but in a way that subverts it in favour of its own storyline.

Most Read

“This project went further than we thought it would – it just seemed really special to all of us.”

The cast and crew of up to 20 have been shooting since May this year, and are aiming for a January finish – with an epic fight scene still to be caught on camera.

“I almost find my cast by accident, I kind of stumbled across them,” added Azeem, who met many of the cast on the set of Camden-based film Rockband vs Vampires, for which he worked as a camera man.

“Most of these guys have martial arts experience, they are actors who want to make a name for themselves.

“It’s great to be a possible springboard for their careers.”

To check out the trailer, go to

Find the film at and keep up to date by visiting