'Boy' brings up mixed feelings

LONDON — U.K. documentarian Saul Dibb‘s debut feature “Bullet Boy” has been getting rave reviews. But it’s also generating a chorus of boos from residents of the east London estate where it was shot.

Pic, which screened at the London Film Festival on Oct. 25, follows a troubled young black man, who, although determined to go straight, is dragged into a cycle of gun crime.

The story also reflects the real-life experience of the lead character played by Ashley Walters. Walters, a promising child actor who became Asher D of garage music collective So Solid Crew, served time last year for pointing a loaded gun at a traffic director.

The pic, shot on the Clapton Park estate in Hackney, has upset locals who feel its portrayal of their neighborhood is relentlessly negative.

A 33-year-old man who has lived his whole life on the inner-city estate told the Evening Standard, “It has caused a lot of bad feeling. The estate is not really that bad. Everyone knows everyone. What the film portrays about the estate is wrong.”

The U.K. Film Council and BBC Films backed the $2 million pic and Verve Pictures plans to release it in April.

The bad news for the Hackney residents is their problems may have only begun.

Since Mathieu Kassovitz shot his seminal 1995 protest pic “La Haine” in Paris’ Chanteloup-les-Vignes estate rubbernecking tourists have flocked to that neighborhood, seeking an authentic “project experience.”

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