+44 07966578612 lynne@firsttake.org.uk

“ I feel safe and respected in First Take. I feel valuable. There is never any pressure on me so knowing this is a reassurance whilst I’m encouraged to develop myself and grow as a person. My confidence and self worth grows whilst I’m here. This helps me to come here – I don’t build up anxiety and cancel because of those reasons”

“ I am 71 years old and resisting isolation by engaging in filmmaking and active interest. The people are friendly and helpful and patient, very well conceived with best ideas”

“ I now feel my voice matters”

“ I feel like a part of the family at Reel Recovery now and have made good friends with everyone”

“ I have something to focus on for my future employment. Positive feedback from tutors on my progress”

“ It helps by giving me positive and productive opportunities to focus on. This helps structure my mental health therefore my recovery”

“ The people here are amazing. The facilities, equipment and general energy in the place is a joy to be around”

“ Lovely teaching style, practical hands on and being able to use the equipment and actually make films!”


The Reel Recovery Project, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and Culture Liverpool, was a filmmaking project for people in Recovery (drugs/ alcohol addiction). It was instigated by people in Recovery from the Liverpool City Region who came to First Take wanting to use filmmaking to help them in their Recovery journey after successfully working with First Take previously. Together we applied for funding and developed amazing courses teaching all aspects of filmmaking, screenwriting and acting. Then, working alongside industry professionals they went on to make five short films and the Feature Film 1 IN 200. 


the 1 IN 200 is a dystopian, social justice, political thriller that tackles homelessness, corruption and power.  Everyday they go unnoticed. Walked past. Left cold. It’s 2017 and 300,000 people are homeless in the UK.

That’s 1 in 200. When a pilot project is rolled out to help the homeless living on the streets of Liverpool, desperately people sign up, believing there could be a better future.  But should they trust a system that has already let them down so many times? See the trailer above.

First Take is presently looking for distribution for this feature.


The Shorts did great at the festivals

The five short films all written, crewed and performed (over 90 %) by people in Recovery. They were all a great success and sent out to festivals. The Tables Turn got some real success. Having received official selection for Berlin and Toronto Short Film Festivals. A Stitch in Time  got official selection for Chicago Reel Shorts Film Festival, GET IN! Look below to see the trailers and find out more about the Shorts. 

The Tables Turn Synopsis: 

Grace struggles balancing her work at the job centre and caring for her father who has dementia. She’s hard-hearted with her vulnerable clients following the strict rules regardless.
When her father deteriorates, she loses her job, gets into debt and becomes vulnerable herself.
How will she survive now the tables have turned?


The Tables Turn trailer: written, performed and filmed by people being trained on the Reel Recovery Project.

Written by Joolz Nylander.

Addiction Spiral trailer: written, performed and filmed by people being trained on the Reel Recovery Project.

Written by Leroy Ruglass.

Addiction Spiral Synopsis:

A heartless and cruel drug dealer is forced to see the hurt he’s causing. He refuses to change until it is too late, but is it ever too late?

A Stich in Time Synopsis:

A Stitch In Time is a children’s comedy drama. A nine-year-old headstrong girl with an amazing imagination, makes up stories, which drives her stay-at-home Dad mad and irritates her work weary mum. But her eccentric granddad loves it, because he makes things up too… or does he?

A Stich in Time trailer: written, performed and filmed by people being trained on the Reel Recovery Project.

Written by Ian David Jones.

A Time For Living trailer: written, performed and filmed by people being trained on the Reel Recovery Project.

Written by Celia Carmichael

Add Synopsis: 

A downtrodden widow who was bullied by her husband is now dominated by her son who insists she goes into the cheap care home he’s chosen for her. Her kind grandson secretly moves her into a beautiful apartment in a retirement block instead, where she meets some fabulous new friends. It’s her time for living… but will it end when her son finds out where she is?

A Step too Far Synopsis:

Lily, ex-nurse turned unemployed party animal, turned member of Alcoholics Anonymous, sober and contrite, is up to her Step 9, making amends and she is finally ready to make amends to her best friend Gina. Her devoted yet controlling partner Sam has other ideas. He doesn’t want her to see Gina. He doesn’t want her to make amends. He doesn’t want her to find out the truth.

A Stitch in Time: written, performed and filmed by people being trained on the Reel Recovery Project.

Written by Tess Leigh Phillips.

Check out some of the behind the scenes and testimonials of the project. The whole project is testament to the brilliant resilience and supportive Recovery community of Liverpool. Some of the group have gone on to work in the film industry full time and many continue to use arts and film to help their Recovery and to contribute to the wider artistic community of Liverpool and beyond.

Examples of what the training offered


The filmmaking courses involved learning all the basic skills in the different roles.

How to operate a camera, record sound, light a scene, production design, clear locations, how to edit, add sound effects and music – all this whilst working on a short film.

Going on to specialise in a chosen area and complete intermediate and advanced level course.

Specialised training and mentoring was also available.

Acting for Camera

A professional Actor and Director trained participants in acting techniques for film and television.

It covered being in the moment, listening, acting is reacting, working with images, and other acting techniques.

Participants may have never acted before – it didn’t matter – it was open to just come along and give it a try.

Many participants went on to act in a short film or even a feature film.


Participants learned about character, theme, genre, structure, & how to write dialogue,  how to write a screenplay from idea to final draft script

How to layout a script & be mentored through the process of writing their own script.

Participants didn’t need any past experience or to have written anything before.


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