Hackney filmmaker explores gentrification in a cinematic love letter to her hometown

Ayo Akingbade's new film Jitterbug tells the story 18-year-old Hackney student Afeni Omolade

Ayo Akingbade's new film Jitterbug tells the story 18-year-old Hackney student Afeni Omolade, played by Amaza Okereke - Credit: Ayo Akingbade, Jitterburg (2021) Co-commissioned by Artangel and the Museum of the Home

A Hackney director's upcoming film pays tribute to the borough, she describes it as a "love letter" to her hometown. 

Artist Ayo Akingbade spent her early childhood on Kingsmead estate near Hackney Marshes. 

Her latest 25-minute film Jutterbug explores the borough's changing landscape and the consequences of gentrification for many of the people who call it home. 

Ayo told the Gazette: "Jitterbug is a bold yet sparse love letter to my hometown, a film I've always wanted to make.

"We shot and featured places which hold great sentimental value to me."

Shot on 16mm film, the movie chronicles a day in the life of 18-year-old student Afeni Omolade, played by Amara Okereke, who lives with her parents and younger brother in a council block. 

The schoolgirl protagonist dreams of becoming the first in her school to attend Cambridge University. 

Jitterbug is an Artangel production, co-commissioned by Artangel and the Museum of the Home

Jitterbug is an Artangel production, co-commissioned by Artangel and the Museum of the Home, where it will be exhibited from March 9 to May 8 - Credit: Ayo Akingbade, Jitterburg (2021) Co-commissioned by Artangel and the Museum of the Home

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Ayo explained how her film follows "ordinary people navigating the matrices of power". 

Themes of social housing and gentrification run throughout much of the director's work.

Director Ayo Akingbade filming on Kingsland Highstreet in Dalston

Director Ayo Akingbade filming on Kingsland Highstreet in Dalston - Credit: Ayo Akingbade, Jitterburg (2021) Co-commissioned by Artangel and the Museum of the Home

She added: "It is still a topic I think is rarely spotlighted, or at least in an authentic way."

Ayo's first movie, In Ur Eye (2015), also deals with rapid gentrification, in Dalston, and her cinematic trilogy No News Today explores London's tower blocks.

A Hackney housing block

Much of Ayo's work has focused on gentrification and social housing - Credit: Ayo Akingbade, Jitterburg (2021) Co-commissioned by Artangel and the Museum of the Home

The shutting down of a popular Caribbean take-away, All Island Grill, on Bradbury Street is the latest incident to reignite accusations of gentrification in the area. 

The topic remains at the forefront of many Hackney residents' minds, with many feeling priced out.

Over the last decade, Hackney has seen a more than 100 per cent increase in house prices. 

Jitterbug is being showcased at Hoxton's Museum of the Home

Jitterbug is being showcased at Hoxton's Museum of the Home - Credit: Ayo Akingbade, Jitterburg (2021) Co-commissioned by Artangel and the Museum of the Home

Artist, writer and director Ayo has shot 12 short films so far, which have been presented at festivals around the world. 

Jitterbug, which was co-commissioned by arts organisation Artangel and Hoxton's Museum of the Home, will be showcased at the museum as a temporary installation from March 9 to May 8. 

Entry to the museum is free. To learn more about the film visit www.museumofthehome.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions-and-installations/jitterbug

To view all upcoming screenings of the film, visit artangel.org.uk/jitterbug

To find out more about director Ayo Akingbade, visit www.ayoakingbade.com