The worrying threat of demolition has been looming over the people living in the Alma Estate in Ponders End for more than four years.

There are plans to redevelop the area, which will include knocking down and rebuilding the estate, as well as connecting Ponders End rail station to Crossrail2.

Although the date of the demolition is not entirely known, it is believed the new buildings will not be completed until 2026 and as a result many of the residents have begun moving out.

Alex Rowland has lived in Ponders End his whole life and feels like this is the end of an era for everyone. He believes the demolition of Alma Estate is being treated as a ‘catalyst’ for a wider regeneration of Ponders End.

The 25-year-old, who also works in a bar, has made a film for Channel 4’s Random Acts, called For Alma and explains why he wanted to show the human side of regeneration…

Why did you want to make a film about the demolition of the Alma Estate?

The areas we live in play their part in raising us. I grew up in Ponders End, and as such, the area has become a part of my identity. The four towers of Alma are distinct and identifiable staples of the area. The towers have watched over those living in, and around them, for years but now 84 per cent of residents voted in favour of their demolition, so it is their time to go.

When hearing the news I welcomed the change, but I couldn’t help but feel sympathetic for the towers themselves. They were neglected for a long time and I began to question my emotional attachment to the towers, which stood otherwise, as seemingly impersonal objects. I wanted to create a film that humanised the experience of buildings during regeneration.

It was also really important for me that I didn’t shoot a film on the estate itself. There is something quite exploitative about taking cameras into people’s homes. It was important to me that I represented my singular feelings towards the scenario as opposed to making a film that attempted to rationalise or represent the varied and diverse voices and opinions of my local community. This is done all too often when social housing is represented on film. I wanted to offer another way of looking at social housing on film, something thoughtful and sentimental.

How did you get involved with the Arts Council and also Channel 4?

I made the film as part of Stop, Play, Record, an initiative set up to support the planning and production of experimental short film for film makers and artists aged between 18-24. I applied in 2015, and was lucky enough to be partnered with the ICA to create this film for Channel 4 Random Acts.

Are you the director or writer?

I am the director. The narrative that can be heard spoken on top of the film was performed by musician Ironik, my favourite aspect to the film.

How did your career begin?

I started off with an interest in photography, and set design. I interned and worked as an assistant a lot through university, and moved into my art studio a few years ago while completing my final year at university. I was really lucky to find a cheap place, so jumped at the chance to move in and began working on photography and set design projects mainly within fashion. It’s been a really natural progression moving into making films, as I have experimented a lot on the past with animation and moving image.

Were films a passion for you as a child?

I have always been passionate about film. I used to research and download arthouse films and burn them to discs when I was a teenager, and have a pretty large collection. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I look at films for inspiration, but I have an interest in the moving image for sure. I had a great film teacher when studying at Barnet College, and this was where I made my first film.

Where did you study?

I studied at Chace Community School, then Barnet College, then moved onto study photography at the University of Arts London.

Have you made other films in the past?

I have experimented with moving image in the past, but focused mainly on photography or set design commissions. This has been my first film commission.

Are you planning to make another film in the future?

Since working on For Alma, I was offered an opportunity to make a music video and I am currently working on another short experimental film. At the moment I am really interested in continuing to make film and have been applying for funding and commissioning opportunities.

For Alma. Details: