Paul has enjoyed changing the lives of hundreds of people over the last 15 years. Paul is the co-founder of Youth Unity CIC, a not-for-profit organisation which was created to empower young people through media, sports and music. Their focus is on serious youth violence, however they also work to address other important topics and raise awareness on issues within communities, using media as a tool, particularly through filmmaking.
With the signs of serious youth violence spanning back almost a decade, Paul has focused much of his time in engaging young people on a street level. His core beliefs are that “The behaviour is never the real person”.
Youth Unity has produced short powerful films that highlight specific issues and capture the unique essence of everyday people’s stories, with a more recent focus on the voices of covid.
Many of the films produced are done with zero funding; just a passion to empower the young people and highlight important issues. These messages are shared internationally and contain inspirational, thought-provoking material.
Paul believes that within every community, there are people hidden that have the ability to be Superheroes, and by that he means GREAT.
About SICK THE MOVIE
Paul McKenzie took seven young people over the half term and embarked on a massive film project to highlight the need for more focus on mental health. They didn’t use knives, they didn’t need guns… all that was needed was a passion to change the narrative and a drive for change.
The young people chose to address the issue of mental health. So many young people are displaying early signs of mental health challenges and it is this that has inspired the making of the short film – SICK. To reduce stigma, mental health needs to be seen as something that concerns us all. Using film as a platform, offers a chance to bring mental health into the spotlight and raise awareness with the indicators that young people can identify with, to seek help.
Discussing a film can help people with mental health problems to broach difficult subjects. Screenings of our films that focus on mental health are used to foster discussion, create empathy and reduce stigma
The Short film SICK went on to be screened exclusively at the National Gallery, making history in black history month, by being the first short screenplay to ever be screened at the National Gallery. It has also been selected for awards at other festivals across the globe.
This latest project enables more young people to access training and experience in media and film, with the emphasis of accrediting these workshops for young people that find it hard to access mainstream education. These workshops will promote and enable young people to become more confident in many areas of their lives.
Paul has five sons and understands the need to be congruent in his approach to helping young people to overcome challenges they may be facing. Paul remains proud to have contributed to major changes in the way we address specific issues that challenge commun-ities, especially the issues that affect our youth.
Paul is available for a phone or radio interviews. Interviews with some of the young people who took part in the filming can also be
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