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If the Streets Were on Fire (12A) + ScreenTalk

Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2023

Still from If The Streets Were On Fire

BikeStormz, a movement of young bikers, offers a safe and welcoming space in central London. However, conflict arises when police and “concerned citizens” threaten arrest for their very existence.

Starting as a protest against violent crime with the slogan “knives down, bikes up,” BikeStormz, founded by social activist Mac Ferrari-Guy, has since grown into a movement and safe space for young people around London to be free and express themselves.

Filmmaker Alice Russell beautifully captures groups of young people as they glide through the city, doing wheelies, tricks, acrobatics and cheering each other on as they hurtle through the postcode-neutral space of central London. Yet as they come together and find liberation through biking, they are challenged with the threat of arrest by the police and accusations of anti-social behaviour.

We are delighted to welcome filmmaker Alice Russell, film participant Miles C., and Moya Lothian McLeanContributing Editor at Novara Media, for a conversation after the film.

UK 2022 Dir Alice Russell 71 min (in the English language)

Please note: this film contains descriptions of knife violence and harm, and drug references.    

This film is also available to watch online on the Human Rights Watch Film Festival streaming platform from Mon 20 Mar at 12:01am, to Fri 26 March at 11:59pm.

‘If the Streets Were on Fire affirms the importance of communities taking local action & provides a candid critique on how police and government often poorly respond to positive youth-led initiatives.‘
Bede Sheppard, Deputy Director, Children’s Rights, Human Rights Watch
‘BikeStormz are legendary, powerful, inspirational. They’ve inspired me. They’ve inspired many people.‘
Stormzy, Musician

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