Penny Woolcock’s musical hip hop drama 1 Day, which screened at the LFF and will air on Channel 4 this week, has proved to be a springboard for inner city urban talent in the UK city of Birmingham.

The film’s lead, Dylan Duffus, who had never acted before and was only brought in to help Woolcock get access to the gang culture in Birmingham, has now been signed by Curtis Brown. He is also developing his own scripts and is fundraising for his own documentary about gang culture.

Duffus and other cast members Kyle Simpson and Justice Hotep have also gone on to direct short films for Channel 4’s 3 Minute Wonder slot, as part of a National Film and Television School project which ran alongside the filming of 1 Day, and was aimed at encouraging young people to explore filmmaking. Simpson has since been commissioned by Screen WM and the UK Film Council for a short film called Rolling Steel, now in post-production.

1 Daytells the story of young drug-dealer, Flash, and his race against time to repay  a ruthless gang boss. Filmed on location in Birmingham, the musical film uses an original soundtrack mixing hip hop and grime tracks with gospel and reggae. 

“I am thrilled that members of the talented 1 Day cast are doing so brilliantly,” said director Penny Woolcock, “These neighbourhoods are full of talent and intelligence which is allowed to go to waste.   I think it confirms that if people have a real choice they will choose positive things every time,” she added.