After forging a successful career in music, Ben Drew (aka Plan B) has turned his attention to the silver screen. With the groundwork laid, shooting has now begun on his directorial feature debut, ill Manors - a micro-budget film produced through the successful Film London Microwave scheme.
Having scored a couple of supporting actor roles, including a part opposite Michael Caine in Harry Brown, and contributed to the soundtrack for Noel Clarke's popular Kidulthood franchise, Drew was inspired to write and direct his own short film. Michelle, which starred Adam Deacon and Skrein, was completed in 2008 and provided the framework and experience for his progression into feature film-making. Drew's talent within film was then cemented by recognition in Screen International's official listing of 'Stars of Tomorrow' for 2009.
ill Manors, the sixth film from the Microwave slate to go into production, is a multi-character story set against the tough streets of Forest Gate in East London - where Drew was born and raised. With a focus on four core characters, this is a gritty urban drama about respect and survival. The film stars some of Britain's finest acting talent including Natalie Press (Red Road, My Summer of Love) and Riz Ahmed - who picked up a BIFA nomination for his role in critically-acclaimed Microwave feature, Shifty.
Writer/director Drew brings his intimate knowledge of the East End and its people, and marries it with contemporary hip-hop and grime culture - so expect a solid soundtrack and stylised moving image sequences. In his Director's Vision statement on the Microwave website, Drew commented: "The beauty of this project is that it is a collection of short stories that spill into one another, thus allowing each music video section to be different from its predecessors in terms of style."
Helping to bring Drew's vision to full cinematic standard is producer Atif Ghani, who worked on award-winning feature film The Last Thakur, and director of photography Gary Shaw whose credits include Duncan Jones' Moon and London-shot box office smash Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Principal photography for ill Manors is well underway at 3 Mills Studios and will continue on location in London over the coming weeks.
Find out more about ill Manors on the Film London Microwave website.