Directed by: #DannyLadwa, #GemRey

Starring: #PeteScott, #AngieElder, #ClaireNorman, #SuzanaKalcic, #AyoAdesanya, #ChrisJackson

Short Film Review by: Alexandra James

The Stammer Project is a short documentary that follows six people and their story on living with a stammer. Danny Ladwa, director of the project, also shares his own experiences from childhood and how he has overcome many obstacles to get to where he is today. Danny discovered that singing and beatboxing allowed him to truly express himself and stammering never seemed to interrupt his flow. This was a creative way to be heard and gain confidence. Danny Ladwa then became the founder of The School of Beatboxing; their mission was to bring beatbox lessons to all and embark on new projects and give back to the community. From this, an all-singing group was put together to raise awareness on stammering, the members are all people that have a stammer and helped to put together a song in 2018 called ‘Free.’ The film shows the progression of the project and focuses on the singers sharing their story. An inspiring, uplifting, and fascinating film that warms the heart and spreads awareness.

The film begins with Danny who introduces the audience to the new project he is embarking on. At a young age, Danny developed a stammer and struggled in school reading allowed and even pronouncing his own name. Living with a stammer affects confidence and can develop this self-consciousness when having to speak in front of others. School can often be a difficult place for a child to ‘fit in’ with others, a child with a stammer can make it far more challenging and creates a lot of anxiety. This was a shared experience by many of the people involved in the project, especially having to read aloud in class. It was difficult to hear these stories and you can almost picture yourself in their shoes facing these anxieties alone. However, it only strengthens the mission of this project and demonstrates to others that you can overcome these obstacles.

As the documentary develops, we see the pieces being fused together. The instruments used for the music and people involved in adding snippets to the song reinforced this theme of community. It was brilliant to see everyone coming together to create a fantastic song and spread an important message. The people forming an all-singing group made it clear that they were not singers, however, this can be quicky dismissed as the audience hear their harmonies pair together to create a wonderful song. They all sounded fantastic and there was a lot of passion in their voices which lifted the piece entirely.

Between the making of the song, there were clips of the singers explaining how they have dealt with their stammer throughout their life. These stories expressed moments of crippling anxiety to even suicide attempts. This project provided a platform for these people to be heard and to show how far they have all come, this was a truly inspiring and innovative piece and can reach out to many people living with a stammer and to never let this hold you back.

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