News  ·  15 | 08 | 2019

The Secret Garden

Concorso Cineasti del presente - Here for Life

The Nomadic Community Garden in Shoreditch, East London, is a non-profit urban garden setup in what used to be a former junkyard between two railway tracks. This is where lives and stories converge in Here for Life, a film standing defiant against gentrification that has been sweeping the neighborhood. The poor and under-privileged are threatened with displacement in the face of economic imperatives, yet the garden - and the film - provide a space where a community can come together, support one another, and grow. In a city where land is at a premium, such initiatives to safeguard the wellbeing of people are precious.

Appropriately for a film about collectivity, the film is a collaboration with not only the community it depicts but also between the two directors whose careers have been invested in working with marginalized communities. After growing up in German public housing and leaving school at 16, artist Andrea Luka Zimmerman moved to London where she has lived ever since and has made several films on the subject of council estates. Adrian Jackson is the founder and director of Cardboard Citizens, a theater for and by the homeless, which has been active for almost 30 years. Teaming up with actors of the theater group, the duo set about to make a film that is deliberately hard to define, as its subjects refuse to be reduced to mere numbers. While the actors seamlessly move between lived experience and staged situation, they appear to be most at ease when listening. With humor and generosity, they stand together and share their stories.