Seventeen is a feature-length film that will remember every teenager to fall victim to violent death in one year in the UK. Through intimate filming with the friends, families and communities of victims and with UK police forces, Seventeen will explore the causes and consequences of youth violence in Britain today.
In 2008, 72 teenagers died at the hands of violence in the UK. This year, to date, 38 young people have met with the same fate. How many more will there be? At the beginning of 2009, award winning filmmaker Morgan Matthews set out to document every teenager to fall victim to violent death in one year in the UK. The result will be Seventeen, a powerful and epic documentary film about the true cost of violence. Seventeen will tackle head on one of todays most significant societal problems. It will confront the viewer with the stark reality of violent death by seeing the direct results it has on families and communities across Britain. Most teenage victims of homicide are killed before they reach their 18th birthday, with the most common age of death falling at just seventeen.This film will give young people like them a voice. It will not demonise or finger point nor will it shy away from big questions about the causes of violence and the value of life in 21st Century Britain. Some teenage murders are given huge prominence in the media while others don't even make the national news. You will have seen a headline screaming the word gang beside a picture of a black youth and the tendency amongst society is to draw conclusions, make assumptions and write off another young life. Seventeen will take the viewer behind the headlines and statistics to reveal the people at the centre of these tragedies. It will acknowledge that all of them, often even the perpetrators, are victims. Every teenager to die as a result of violence in 2009 will be featured, regardless of colour, class, religion or cause of death. Seventeen will remember and value young lives - all of them. Actuality filming in the immediate aftermath of attacks will encapsulate the devastating consequences of violence at their most raw. These scenes will consist of funerals; memorial shrines; interviews with passers-by, friends and community members; graveside visits; campaigning events and police crime scenes as well as intimate filming with the bereaved. In an additional layer, Seventeen will explore police work around teenage homicides through behind-the-scenes exclusive access to major UK forces. Intimate interviews with family and friends of victims will allow for in-depth exploration of a select few cases and will be used to weave the actuality scenes together. These powerful and deeply personal interviews, many of them with teenagers, will set this film apart from current affairs programmes. Seventeen is the definitive documentary on youth violence that will bring the issue of teenage murder back to the forefront of Britain's conscience. It will have a huge impact on broadcast and will be a talked about and remembered programme that will have a life far beyond its transmission date. By showing the consequences of violence this film has genuine potential to prevent others falling victim to the same fate.