THE HARD STOP
SATURDAY, JUNE 3, 2017 @ 3:30PM
THE HARD STOP George Amponsah • United Kingdom • USA • 2015 • 90 min. • Documentary, Crime, Action 1st filmmaker
NEW YORK PREMIERE Over several years The Hard Stop features Marcus and Kurtis, childhood friends of Mark Duggan the young man whose death ignited the UK riots in 2011. Marcus was sentenced for starting the riot in Tottenham that turn into the worst civil unrest in recent British History. The film reflects the current class divisions in British society as it charts the everyday challenges Marcus and Kurtis face as they grieve the loss of their dear friend, and negotiate incarceration and unemployment whilst the media debate about who their friend Mark Duggan was and the inquest into his killing plays out in the background.
George Amponsah DIRECTOR, WRITER
Dionne Walker PRODUCER, WRITER, PRODUCER’S REP
Mathias Pilz CINEMATOGRAPHER/DP
In August 2011 29 year old Mark Duggan was shot and killed whilst being arrested by armed police in Tottenham. This incident ignited a riot that escalated into a week of the worst civil unrest in British history. The Hard Stop is an observational documentary that follows the progress of two of Mark Duggan’s closest friends over the course of 24 months as they deal with bereavement, imprisonment and unemployment whilst the journalistic debate about who exactly their friend Mark Duggan was and the judicial inquiry into his killing plays out as a news story in the background. The Hard Stop will employ observational video, imaginative use of news archive, iconic cinematography and a compelling music soundtrack to put Marcus and Kurtis’s experience up on the big screen and by doing so tell Mark Duggan’s story. Marcus Knox and Kurtis Henville grew up with Mark Duggan on the Broadwater Farm housing project in Tottenham, North London. Their home became notorious in 1985 after a riot broke out following the death of a local woman at the hands of police officers. 27 years later and Marcus and Kurtis firmly believe there is an ongoing vendetta that exists between the police and their community following the death of PC Blakelock and this they believe might have been a factor in why their friend Mark Duggan was killed.
Marcus is looking for a way out. He leaves the Broadwater Farm estate where he has spent all his life and converts to Islam. Kurtis too wants to leave his past behind. After a spell in prison, he has married Eve and they have two children. He doesn’t want to go back inside.
By 2011 both Marcus and Kurtis have left the gang life behind and are going straight. Mark Duggan is still ‘on road’ (on the street). On August 4th 2011, their lives are torn apart. At 6:15pm, on Ferry Lane in Tottenham, Mark Duggan is shot dead by armed police. That evening, a peaceful protest outside the police station in Tottenham, led by Marcus, is ignored by the officers inside. Angry and emotional, Marcus throws the first stone in what becomes Britain’s biggest riot of the 21st Century, soon spreading throughout the capital, and across the country.
THE STORY GOING FORWARD June 2012 Marcus is arrested for his role in the 2011 riots. He is charged and placed under house arrest awaiting trial. He does not deny throwing the stone and knows that a prison sentence is imminent. He prepares for incarceration with spiritual conviction, hoping that learning the truth of his friend’s death will help him, and others, to find peace.
Kurtis is angry. He was at the protest, but was pulled away from the riot by concerned family members. Now he feels a sense of survivor’s guilt. Still searching for legal employment and hampered by his criminal record, his struggle is emblematic of many in Britain’s recession blemished economy as he struggles to find a job to support his wife and kids. Marcus and Kurtis revisit The Broadwater Farm Housing Estate and the surrounding neigbourhood. They also attend a ‘remembrance’ event at Mark Duggan’s gravesite where they reconnect with friends and family ; Pam Duggan; Simone Duggan and Mark’s children; Mark Duggan’s younger brother –Marlon, and members of Mark’s Star Gang. November 2012 Marcus is sent to prison with a release date for December 2013. Kurtis eventually finds a job outside London in Norwich working as a telesales operator. May 2013 After a long spell of unemployment Kurtis finally gets a job as a telesales operative. July 2013 Kurtis and Marcus’ mum go to visit Marcus in prison. August 4th 2013 Kurtis attends an event in Tottenham to commemorate the 2nd anniversary of the death of Mark Duggan. Later that night there is a street party held at the Broadwater Farm housing project. Kurtis greets Mark Duggan’s mother and Aunt who are at the event. As he reminisces about the happy childhood he spent growing up on the housing project several gun shots are heard and revellers at the party start running for cover. September 2013. When the inquest reaches the Royal High Court of Justice Kurtis attends on several occasions. Marcus phones Kurtis from prison to discuss how the inquest is going and what chances there are for an unlawful killing verdict. December 24th 2013 Xmas eve. Kurtis travels to HMP Wayland to meet Marcus on his release date. Marcus leaves prison. The two men drive back to Tottenham. January 2014 Marcus and Kurtis sit down and discuss in detail the Mark Duggan Inquest court case. They look in detail at all the photographic evidence, ballistic diagrams , forensic photos as well as transcriptions of the key witnesses in the court case. All this information is freely available to the public on the Mark Duggan Inquest website- http://dugganinquest.independent.gov.uk/
February 2014 Marcus gets a job as a ‘youth advisor’ to boys who have been excluded from school for bad behaviour. One of the youngsters Marcus is mentoring is Mark Duggan’s eldest boy-13 year old Kumani who has been expelled recently for carrying a knife in school. Marcus hears about a retired Tottenham police officer-Mick Lees who runs a centre for troubled youths. He realises that it’s time to resolve his hatred for the police. Marcus visits Mick to talk about strategies for helping young people to steer away from gun and knife crime