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Screen International have released the first look images of feature County Lines directed by Henry Blake with cinematography by Sverre Sørdal FNF.

Harris Dickinson (Beach Rats) stars alongside Ashley Madekwe and Conrad Khan.

County Lines is about a young mother, played by Madekwe, fighting to save her 14-year-old son (Khan) from being groomed into a nationwide drug selling enterprise. Dickinson plays a gang recruiter who exploits vulnerable children and traffics them across the UK’s county lines

The film was shot on location in London and Canvey Island, Essex.

Blake wrote the original script based on his first-hand experience as a youth worker. He first explored the themes, including how urban gangs are moving into more rural locations, in a 21-minute short film of the same name, which will play in competition at the 2019 London Short Film Festival (also shot by Sverre).

“I’ve seen the devastating results of this scourge up close,” Blake explained. ”The tragedy is this can affect absolutely anyone and that’s what I wanted to explore here. These are often good kids being bullied, cajoled and lured into doing things no one should ever have to do”.

Bavister, who previously worked in development at Simon Curtis’ 39 Steps Entertainment, said: “Estimates put the number of children in London being exploited as high as 4,000, with numbers nationwide around 46,000 and whilst often perceived as targeting children in social care or trapped in poverty, the reality, as a recent article in The Guardian points out, is that children from affluent homes are just as likely to be groomed as they are less likely to be stopped by the police.”

Previous features shot by Sverre include Ilkley directed by Henry Michell and starring Derek Jacobi and Anna Maxwell Martin, and Danish feature A Very Normal Family directed by Malou Reymann… both are currently in post.

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