HOUSEHOLDERS who starred in a film about their Oxford community are being invited to see themselves on screen at a special viewing.

Our Jericho is a 27-minute film portrait of the neighbourhood, its characters, traditions and institutions.

The film, produced by Maggie Black, is a follow-up to an earlier film about the area made by Ms Black and an artist friend, Lucy Willis, in 1974 for the BBC2 community TV access programme, Open Door.

The movie is billed as a celebration of community spirit and how it has survived decades of social change. It received its premier at the Phoenix Picturehouse last month, but as many people involved in its production were unable to join the event, it will be screened again next Wednesday, January 15, at the Jericho Community Centre.

Ms Black said: “Many of the film’s participants and helpers were not able to come the first time. We want to give them another chance to see the outcome of all their help and hard work.”

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She paid tribute to the strength of local spirit in the former working class suburb which has been transformed by gentrification into one of the most fashionable areas of the city.

“When I arrived in Jericho in 1971, as a young and excited owner of my own house in Cardigan Street, the sight out of my back window was of houses in Albert Street being razed to the ground,” she said. Council houses were replacing condemned terraces, and owner-occupiers were entitled to grants for improvements in a plan to save the area from total extinction.

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“Jericho was then taking its first steps towards gentrification. In many ways that process has radically transformed Jericho, but the community spirit which was generated to save Jericho has flourished, and the neighbourhood’s distinct character remains intact.

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“That is what the new film, Our Jericho, has tried to capture in 2019, just as we did with Open Door in 1974. Both films are hymns to the value of community.”

She said the Open Door production had left a lasting legacy, adding: “That film is now part of Jericho’s heritage and every Jericho resident and devotee gets a kick out of seeing it – remembering characters and places that have changed or disappeared.

“So I thought it would be good to do a similar film bringing the story up to date, continuing the celebration of Jericho’s past and present.”

Our Jericho was filmed over the summer at the Jericho Street Fair, in St Barnabas School, St Sepulchre’s Cemetery in pubs, homes, the community centre and along the canal.

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Clockwork Morris and Oxford City Morris Men perform at a Jericho Street Fair

The project was made possible by the expertise of professional movie makers from Film Oxford. It was backed by the Jericho Community Association and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and local donors including the Lucy Group.

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Other supporters include Peter Stalker of Jericho Online, Steph Pirrie of the Jericho Singers and Oxford City and Oxfordshire County councillor Susanna Pressel.

Ms Pressel was instrumental in building local enthusiasm and support for the project.

Ms Black said: “Without the extraordinary commitment of Oxford’s own professional film-making community, especially Film Oxford’s Nicola Josse, this highly professional and entertaining slice of Jericho life would never have emerged.

“A community-based film project can be as worthy as you like, but it takes a special touch to make it into an expression of community joy – something everyone in Jericho and the wider Oxford community can enjoy, and treasure for the future.”

Film Oxford is a local charity providing training, community projects and film production services for non-profit organisations.

Speaking to the Oxford Mail previously, Ms Josse said: “As a former Jericho resident, I was thrilled when Maggie approached us to do the re-make.We aimed to keep to the strong community feel and documentary style of the original film.”

As well as soaring property prices, Jericho has been through many changes, with independent shops and pubs closing, a slew of new restaurants and bars and the demolition of some local landmarks such as the controversial destruction of Castle Mill Boatyard, between St Barnabas Church and the Oxford Canal, which is being transformed into Jericho Wharf.

Another major change is the closure of Lucy’s foundry. Established about 200 years ago, the iron works ceased operations in Jericho in 2005. The plant has since been replaced by canalside housing though the company still has a head office at its former Eagle Works in Walton Well Road, from where it also runs its property business.

Despite the changes, the community is still a creative hub, home to artists and musicians, the Phoenix Picturehouse, a vinyl record shop and the iconic Jericho Tavern – where rock band Radiohead began their careers.

The screening of Our Jericho takes place at 5.30pm and will be followed by a discussion on the making of the film by Ms Black and Nicola Josse.

Free tickets can be obtained from eventbrite.co.uk. Both Our Jericho and Open Door Jericho can also be viewed on YouTube via links from the Jericho Online website at Jerichocentre.org.uk/about_Jericho/videos.