Ed Bartholomew
A gritty still from the Portsmouth Food Bank short documentary, taken over the shoulder of a food bank user staring at the foodbank ‘open’ sign

Portsmouth Food Bank – Short Documentary

DateDecember, 2016
SkillsVideo Production

This five minute documentary explores the work of foodbanks, using the Portsmouth one as the example. It centres on the need for foodbanks, what they do for the community and why their use is increasing, by talking to the people involved – the manager of the foodbank, volunteers, foodbank users and ex-users.

From the start, the documentary is atmospheric with shots of the area local to the foodbank accompanied by graphics with facts and figures about how foodbanks nationally are used and subdued music. The area around the Portsmouth foodbank is run down and depressing and this further stressed by long, gaps between shots at the outset. A homeless migrant describes his position and to preserve his anonymity the viewer sees only a shadow, which in itself is thought provoking. He discusses the racist abuse he routinely faces and his position is further emphasised by the clips shown while he talks, for instance a train leaving a station as he explains his desire to stay in this country. The manager of the foodbank explains in an authoritative way his feelings regarding politicians denying the real state of affairs in the country and effectively brings his message home by explaining that so many people are only two pay days away from using a foodbank, stating that he hopes this does not become the “new normal”. An interview with a volunteer confirms his position. Poignantly an ex-foodbank user who now attends the support group run at Portsmouth, says that life is about feelings too, not just food.

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