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English - In the spotlight

London teens hooked on reading

Children hanging out on the streets; a desperate teenager trying to scrabble money together to feed their drug habit; a young girl threatened with prison for possession - these are typical film images of London's ethnic minority youths. But Sebastian Thiel's short film Illegal Activity turns these stereotypes on their head.

What is it?

A 15-minute short film in which a number of teenagers seem troubled by addiction. But all is not as it first appears - their addiction is not drugs. Young people desperately seek something that today is taken for granted and often undervalued, but for them is outlawed and precious. Thiel asks his audience to question where society is going, what kind of future young people are making for themselves and how much they remember the past when they think about their choices.

The film calls for ethnic minority students to turn their backs on crime and turn the pages of books instead. It encourages young people to read and to value education. Thiel was inspired by a friend's poem that included the line: "If reading was illegal, every man would read."

Where can it be watched?

The film is free to watch on YouTube: http:bit.lyH5z3F0.

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