Wednesday 13 February 2013

We Are Poets

'We Are Poets' is an award-winning feature documentary; it is a heartfelt story of inspirational youth and poetry. 'We Are Poets' presents a poignant and inspirational story of youth, art and freedom of expression, as a remarkable team of six British teenagers from Leeds Young Authors are chosen to represent the UK at Brave New Voices: the most prestigious Poetry Slam competition in the world. The film premièred in UK cinemas last summer and has been greatly received by audiences and film critics alike. 'We Are Poets' is a film by Alex Ramseyer-Bache and Daniel Lucchesi.

‘We Are Poets’ is now available to book for a screening:

‘We Are Poets’ presents a moving and radical story of youth, art and freedom of expression, as a remarkable team of six British teenagers are chosen to represent the UK at Brave New Voices: the most prestigious Poetry Slam competition in the world.  From their inner city lives on the red-bricked back streets of Northern England, to a stage in front of the White House in Washington DC, the young poets explosively lay bare the concerns of a generation as they take on the world and prepare for a transformational and emotional journey of a lifetime.

Cinematic, imaginative and deeply poignant, ‘We Are Poets’ is a unique portrait of multicultural Britain and a testament to the power of creativity, community and the dynamism of young people. Anyone tempted to dismiss today’s youth as politically apathetic better pay heed: here is electrifying evidence to the contrary.

SCREEN INTERNTIONAL - “Uplifting, moving, amusing and thoroughly enjoyable…A great film – should be mandatory viewing”

TOTAL FILM - ★★★★”A slam-dunk documentary! Six teens from a deprived area of Leeds embrace the heartfelt, politicised expression of slam poetry in this gently unassuming but powerful film”

LITTLE WHITE LIES – ★★★★ “Striking and stunning - a perfectly formed documentary. Seriously memorable with spine-tingling recitals.  Joyfully unsentimental and pays a great deal of respect to the subjects.

BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH - “We Are Poets is’s poetry itself. Poetry is an art, filmmaking is an art, it takes great sensitivity to bring them together - this film shows us how it's done!”

At the heart of WE ARE POETS are the six teenagers that make up the Leeds Young Authors team.  Each member is unique – hailing from varying racial, cultural and social backgrounds – yet they must work together to embrace their differences, combine their forces and unite as a team.  These are people you simply don’t often see on screen and each has their own fascinating story.

Saju Ahmed, is a 19-year-old of Bangladeshi/Irish heritage, he is a reformed character who was offered an ultimatum in high school; choose between expulsion or extra curricular work with Leeds Young Authors. After being with the group for 4 years he is now the team captain - “Leeds Young Authors helped distract me from my criminal activities in school … I never thought I’d get this far, they gave me a stage to be heard”

Maryam Alam is 16 and from Kashmir.  As a young Muslim woman from a strict upbringing, she writes to explore her faith and counter the negative stereotypes of her culture. “Muslim girls rarely stand up and talk. I want to represent their voice”.  It is her first time as part of the team and she is apprehensive about how an American audience will react to her provocative poetry examining the USA’s foreign policy.

Joseph Buckley is a 16-year-old sci-fi fan, who when growing up in an all white community was a victim of racism, only to suffer again in his teens from the black community, due to his mixed race heritage –“When I was young I thought my name was nigger; I was on the outside - literally”. Through his frustration and anger, Joseph developed into a powerful performer who confronts his turbulent childhood in his poetry – “Did you ever hear of the mixed race kid who joined the BNP? I am a broken bridge between two worlds; broken by other people’s perceptions and broken by myself”.

Kadish Morris is 16 and, despite projecting a carefree image, she is the team’s most determined individual. She has been with LYA since its inception 8 years ago and has Poetry and performance in her blood. She views her work as a catalyst for change and is informed by her experiences growing up in a community where the issue of race is always at the fore. As the most experienced member of the team she often coaches younger poets and high school teams.

Rheima ‘Mimz’ Ibrahiim is a calm and candid young woman of Jamaican heritage and first ‘slammed’ at Brave New Voices aged just 12 years old. Now aged 16, she knows first hand of the deep-set problems of drugs and violence in her local neighbourhood and the devastating affects of falling into the wrong crowd.  “As easy as it is to think you can go stab or shoot someone, it’s just as easy for them to think they can do the same to you…I’ve been to too many funerals.”  Her poetry is a reaction to the social stigma of her community and a bold attempt at making sense of what she sees around her.

Azalia Anisko is the winner of the local LYA Poetry Slam and is awarded the first place on the team set for the states. Combining humour and dynamic performance, her poetry focuses on the angst of everyday teenage life growing up as a young woman in Britain. “I tell my family ‘its not that kind of poetry’…they just think poetry is roses are red, violets are blue”.  All she knows is Leeds but, with a Polish mother and West Indian father, she often finds herself torn between cultures.  Her troubled relationship with her absent father has made her more determined than ever to prove her worth to him and succeed in Washington DC.

Awards Won to Date

Winner Youth Jury Award, Sheffield Doc Fest 2011

Winner Best Documentary Award, Darklight Festival Dublin 2011

Winner Goethe Film Prize, Berlin Zebra Film Festival 2012

Winner Audience Award, Univerciné Film Festival 2012

Official selection, Guadalajara International Film Festival 2012

Official selection, Bradford International Film Festival 2012

Official selection, New Zealand Doc Edge Film Festival 2012

Gala Presentation, Leeds Young People’s Film Festival 2012

Official selection, Sottodiciotto Film Festival 2012

About the Filmakers

‘We Are Poets’ is the directorial debut of Alex Ramseyer-Bache & Daniel Lucchesi.

In 2004, whilst studying a degree in film production, Alex began work in education and community arts delivering film projects in some of Yorkshire’s most disadvantaged and ethnically diverse areas.  As a freelance director/cameraman and as a director/editor with Access Moving Image Films, he has since worked closely with campaign groups, schools, councils, community projects and artists in the region, directing a diverse range of hard hitting films exploring social cohesion and youth culture.  This collaboration with the local communities, and a desire to represent a positive and change provoking image of young people, culminated with the work he and his creative partner Daniel Lucchesi have done with the LYA poetry group and led to the now award winning WE ARE POETS.

Daniel began his career in his early teens making skateboarding videos for local skate shops; he has since maintained a far less demanding career in film and television. He graduated from the Leeds Northern Film School in July 2007 where he met long-term creative partner Alex Ramseyer-Bache, whom he co-directed and produced his first feature film with, the award winning ‘We Are Poets’. He now lives and works in London as a freelance PD, cameraman and editor for a number of major production companies on high-end television programmes. He also writes and directs comedy sketches for the BBC with his comedy group Rocket Sausage. Recently, Broadcast Magazine named Daniel a 2011 TV Hotshot.


Leeds Young Authors (LYA) is a grassroots youth organisation founded in 2003 by Khadijah Ibrahiim in the socially deprived area of Chapeltown, Leeds, UK. LYA promotes active literacy, social, political and cultural awareness by creating spaces to celebrate youth voices, and offers the opportunity for young people to develop their artistic abilities as confident writers and live performers across race, class, gender, culture and sexual orientation. LYA has offered free literature and creative writing workshops to dedicated young writers every week for the last 8 years. They participate in competitions known as ‘Poetry Slams’ where teams or individuals perform their work to an audience and panel of judges. LYA placed second in the world at Brave New Voices 2009 and won the 2010 UK national slam.  Every year they organize their own local individual slam, and high school team slam, with teams of poets from high schools across Leeds.  At the individual slam the winner of the event is given a place on the team that will travel to America to compete at Brave New Voices (BNV).

Brave New Voices (BNV) was created by Youth Speaks Inc in 1998 after the inaugural Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam in San Francisco—the first poetry slam dedicated to youth in the nation’s history. Since that time, Brave New Voices has grown to represent youth from all across the United States, Europe and Asia, making it the largest ongoing spoken word event in the world.

‘We Are Poets’ is now available to book for a screening:

Useful Links:
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Brave New Voices & Youth Speaks:

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