Pupils at Miles Coverdale produce their own film

"Conform or Die" was submitted to the International Young Person's Film Festival in Germany.

Pupils at Miles Coverdale Primary School starred in their own film, based on the Hollywood classic The Invasion of the Body Snatchers - and cast headteacher Anne Hennessey in the cameo role of a mad dinner lady.

The 16-minute film, called Conform or Die, tells the story of ten-year-old Becky who tries to save her school and the world from the conforming ways of a new teacher who has an unhealthy obsession with peas. Her mission is to prevent the children, other staff and the rest of humanity from being 'podded'.

Originally, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers' main theme was the alien dehumanising and take-over of an entire community by large seed pods (found in basements, automobile trunks, a greenhouse, and on a pool table) that replicated and replaced human beings.

Ten pupils, aged 10 and 11, took part in the film, which was produced with the help of the west London-based Children's Video Trust. Filming took place over February half-term and the first screening will be at the school, in Coverdale Road, W12, at 7pm on Monday (21 July).

Ms Hennessey said: "The children came into school every day during their February half-term break to make the film, which is phenomenal. They worked really hard."

The lead role of Becky was played by Sabah Awan, 11, and the lead boy role of Miles was played by Mikel Thompson, 11. Karen Freeman, a learning mentor at the school, played a doctor and WPC Samm Postance, a schools liaison officer from Hammersmith police station, played herself. Professional actors played the parts of the new teacher and headteacher.

The film will be submitted to the International Young Person's Film/Video Festival which takes place in Hannover, Germany, in November, and receives more than 2,000 entries from all over the world, with 90 being selected for screening. The Children's Video Trust has won awards at three of the last four festivals, which are held every two years.

Conform or Die producer Vincent McGrath, from the Children's Video Trust, said: "The lead girl Sabah gave an extraordinary performance and the headteacher is fantastic as the crazy dinner lady. All the children really got into making the film and they said they would love to do another one."

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15th March 2004