The Hard Stop


George Amponsah


Dionne Walker


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Producer Dionne Walker
Director George Amponsah
Completed 2015



In 2011 Mark Duggan was killed by armed police in London, sparking a riot that spiralled into a week of the worst civil unrest in modern British history.

Long Synopsis

The Hard Stop is an intimate documentary revealing the story, away from all press coverage, of Mark Duggan’s friends and family following his death. For 28 months, director George Amponsah filmed around Broadwater Farm, where Duggan grew up. We follow childhood friends, Marcus and Kurtis, closely as they attempt to get on with their lives, look for a job, talk about the discrimination they experience on a daily basis

In August 2011 29 year old Mark Duggan was shot and killed whilst being arrested in a ‘hard stop’ procedure by armed police in Tottenham. This incident ignited a riot that escalated into a week of the worst civil unrest in British history. Essentially The Hard Stop is an observational documentary that follows the progress of two of Mark Duggan’s closest friends- Marcus Knox and Kurtis Henville, over the course of 28 months as they try to turn their backs on the criminal life whilst dealing with bereavement, imprisonment and unemployment.

Meanwhile the media debate about who exactly their friend Mark Duggan was and the judicial inquiry into his killing plays out as a news story in the background. The Hard Stop employs observational video, imaginative use of news archive, iconic cinematography and a compelling music soundtrack to put Marcus and Kurtis’s story up on the big screen.


“There is no fact, there is no fiction. There is only narrative” E L Doctorow

Marcus Knox and Kurtis Henville grew up with Mark Duggan on the Broadwater Farm housing project in Tottenham, North London. Their home became notorious in 1985 after a riot broke out following the death of a local woman at the hands of police officers. During the riot a police officer-PC Blakelock was hacked to death by the mob.

27 years later and Marcus and Kurtis firmly believe there is an ongoing vendetta that exists between the police and their community following the death of PC Blakelock and this they believe might have been a factor in why their friend Mark Duggan was killed THE BACK STORY 1985. Kurtis Henville, Marcus Knox and Mark Duggan are just four years old when PC Keith Blakelock is hacked to death outside their window. The estate where they spend their childhood becomes a no go area for outsiders, including the police. The three friends grow into teenage tearaways and eventually progress into organised crime, eventually forming their own Gang, an offshoot of the notorious Tottenham Man Dem gang. 2009. Marcus is looking for a way out. He leaves the Broadwater Farm estate where he has spent all his life and converts to Islam. Kurtis too wants to leave his past behind.

After a spell in prison, he has married Eve and they have two children. He doesn’t want to go back inside. By 2011 both Marcus and Kurtis have left the gang life behind and are going straight. Mark Duggan is still ‘on road’ (on the street). On August 4th 2011, their lives are torn apart. At 6:15pm, on Ferry Lane in Tottenham when Mark Duggan is shot dead by armed police during a ‘hard stop’ procedure That evening, a peaceful protest outside the police station in Tottenham, led by Marcus, is ignored by the officers inside. Angry and emotional, Marcus throws the first stone in what becomes Britain’s biggest riot of the 21st Century, soon spreading throughout the capital, and across the country.

Outreach Campaign

Bertha BRITDOC connect fund will help with our progressive campaign that use our film as an important tool that advance a serious debate about central and local government authorities policing procedures, as related to 'deaths in police custody'. This, alongside putting in place preventative measures such as drugs use and mental ill health surgeries for young people.

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What people
have said

The blame game plays second fiddle to empathy in George Amponsah's angry but compassionate U.K. riots doc.

Watch the
trailer here