I was a little anxious when first meeting Rachel Wang—after all, she is the co founder of one of the most successful video production and social enterprise companies across London and the UK: Chocolate Films.
Thankfully she didn’t criticize my equipment or technique, and she went out of her way to clear her desk and invite me to their Battersea studio to chat about her vision and the growth of Chocolate Films since 2001.
She chats with me about her amazing work for the young and disenfranchised, as well as the incredible ‘1,000 Londoners’ project—1,000 videos made by 1,000 Londoners about one city, my favorite place on earth: London.
I also discovered by chance, Chocolate Films have made a film for my parent’s charity—Jami.
Rachel and her husband Mark have truly created something wonderful with Chocolate Films.
“We want to do it organically so we’re at nearly 300. It might take us five years, it might take us ten years, and we just want to do it slowly but surely—and make sure we create the range, curate what London is, and it’s ever changing.”
Chocolate Films sees over 4,000 young people and vulnerable adults each year—and they train them in film making. They create workshops and courses that can run one day focusing on documentaries, or three day courses on drama where they can make their own short films. The goal is to train them on every aspect of film making—from story development and script writing—to how to be hands on with camera and sound equipment while working on set as a team—and all the way through to the final edit to see their mistakes and learn from them. It’s a full pre-to-post production run down.
“All we want to do in our film making is to communicate so people can have these conversations and make things a little less stigmatized, just a little bit more normal.”
Chocolate Films works with a huge array of people in a variety of environments. They work with museums and galleries, but also homeless and those overcoming drugs and alcohol. This set them up to meet a lot of people—Londoner’s specifically. However, Rachel and Mark didn’t want to keep these amazing people and stories to themselves—so the ‘1,000 Londoners’ Project was born to share the thing that makes the city great in the first place, the people. In essence it was a community cohesion project, connecting people that might otherwise have just brushed by each other on the tube.
Right now they have about 300 videos made and they publish a new video every Thursday. And Chocolate Films sees this as a collaboration—they aren’t telling these stories for the people, they are empowering others to tell their own stories to the whole of London.
If you’re listening to this podcast you most certainly need to watch these videos and see the legacy Rachel, Mark, and the rest of these filmmakers are leaving this great city.