Magazine article Screen International

'London Has Fallen' Interns Hail "Life-Changing" Experience

Magazine article Screen International

'London Has Fallen' Interns Hail "Life-Changing" Experience

Article excerpt

There are hundreds of names in the closing credits of action-thriller London Has Fallen, but at least two of those names have had the experience of a lifetime.

They are Mbuelo Mvimbi, 20, from the Khayelitsha township in Cape Town, South Africa, and Jean de Dieu Ngirabaganwa, 20, an orphan from the Rwandan genocide, who were afforded sponsored internships to work on the production.

Lionsgate UK fully paid for the two internships via a partnership with UK charity Films Without Borders (FWB), which specialises in designing filmmaking workshops for international youth living in challenging circumstances. Both boys had previously made short films.

The distributor also worked with FWB to sponsor a third intern, Batel Israel, who worked with Elaine Grainger at London casting agency Syson Grainger.

Jill Samuels, the energetic founder of Films Without Borders, says: "What Lionsgate has done is outstanding. By doing this they are nurturing and creating opportunities. It's a life-changing experience for these young people."

Mvimbi got involved in Films Without Borders by making short films in South Africa. However, his township isn't always a place where filmmaking is encouraged. In fact, he was stabbed when word got out that he was coming to the UK to work on a feature.

"My friends were jealous that I was coming here. But my mum wanted me to come, they are very proud of what I'm doing," says Mvimbi, who worked with the art department, locations department and camera department on London Has Fallen.

Ngirabaganwa participated in a FWB workshop at his Rwandan orphanage in 2013, making a short film about cricket and quickly catching the directing bug.

He spent his London Has Fallen internship working mostly in the camera department, and watching director Babak Najafias much as he could. "I'm always looking at how he's doing things," says Ngirabaganwa, who plans to enrol in a Masters programme before directing.

"I have to make films in Rwanda, too," he says. "We need films at an international level. I can go back to share my knowledge."

The London experience

The two boys first met when they arrived at Heathrow and soon became friends sharing not only the internship experience but also a London flat.

After acclimatising a little to London life, they met the director, producer and stars on the film set, alongside FWB supporter Prince Edward.

They worked mostly at Pinewood Studios but also ventured out to locations such as Charing Cross tube station and Somerset House.

Casting intern Batel Israel hails from the Israeli village of Ashkelon, near Gaza, and started working at agency Syson Grainger Casting, where she helped on casting sessions for London Has Fallen and other films. …

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