Broken House is a film that takes place in a youth custody centre. The film was written, directed and filmed by Unit X, a group of seven young people who were in BC’s Burnaby Youth Secure Custody Centre for violent crimes.
Although fictional, the film reflects the realities of the filmmakers’ lives and their experiences in jail. The members of Unit X, who cannot be indentified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, demonstrated the tenacity to stick with a program that allowed their imaginations to run free. In order to create a script true to their realities, the young people reflected deeply about their own particular crimes and how they affected other people.
Broken House is about the choices young people make, the circumstances of their lives that influence their choices and the resulting consequences.
The film’s Study Guide helps teachers discuss the film and the issues it raises with their students. It begins with a Lesson Planning Guide and follows with suggested questions for both the General Discussion and Thematic Discussion. Additional activities and a list of resources are included.
Teachers should view Broken House on their own before showing it to their classes. Broken House deals with a serious subject in a realistic way and may prompt a strong emotional response from some students. It is recommended that teachers help students discuss their responses to the film immediately after watching it.
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Broken House won the Best Short Drama category at the 2006 Leo Awards. The film was also nominated in the following categories: