In January this year i was approached by film makers (Justin, the Director, Rahul, the producer). They told me about a documentary the were planning on making and wanted my input of the film. After several meeting I decided to be part of the project. This is a film that requires interest from people, the more people that show interest the easier it will to get made.
Why we are doing this
We (Justin, the Director, Rahul, the producer) have lived and worked in London for years, but the 2011 London riots shocked us and showed us a side of London and the country we hadn’t seen before. Naively we had assumed the country and the city had moved on from the football riots, race riots and confrontations between the police and the miners in the 1980s.
When we started speaking to people, at first, their stories confused us. Some black community leaders voiced concerns, not so much about racist Police, but rather about Police officers with no previous experience of ethnically mixed neighbourhoods; a priest explained how he helped negotiate a ceasefire while a pensioner was evacuated; a shopkeeper, whose store was gutted, found local people returning stolen goods and raising money to re-build the shop; Police officers we spoke to also raised concerns about the position they were being place in; and stories emerged of bizarrely wide range of people involved in the looting.
Things only started making sense to when we began listening to people involved in previous disturbances. Last Summer’s riots weren’t new, previous generations lived through serious disturbances, Burnley race riots in 2001, Northern Ireland in 1969, race riots in Notting Hill in 1958 and the Battle of Cable St in 1936, when half a million ordinary people fought the facists and brought East London to a standstill.
Starting with Battle of Cable St, 1936
We also found older generations that wanted to be heard, community leaders and younger generations that wanted to listen and many stories that had yet to be told. With the support of the local community we have decided to make a documentary to captures these stories, starting with conversations with Jewish men and women who stood down the facists at the 1936 Battle of Cable St. Their actions prompted the government to ban further similar marches and may have helped prevent the spread of facism in Britain, even as it took hold in many parts of Europe.
Why it is important
Nothing like this has ever been filmed before and the time is right to give people from previous generations who took to the streets a voice. In the wake of the English riots, Arab Spring, the Occupy movement, Greek street protests, unprecedented demonstrations in Russia and increasing unrest in China there is a need for a film on civil disturbances.
Time is also running out to speak to people who stood down the facists in 1936. Out of the half a million that took to the streets in 1936 only a handful are still alive and they want to connect with a younger generation while they still have time. We have already had some interesting exchanges, with this older generations expressing frustration at youth not being politically engaged. Some of the youth workers we spoke to agreed, and felt young people often believed politics wasn’t relevant to them and instead turned to branded goods for self esteem, identity and values.
We are filming the documentary in partnership with the local community and involving representatives of the local community at the heart of the story. We are working with local Churches, councillors, youth workers and community leaders. As we develop the idea we will put our work up on the internet so that the community to provide feedback. At the end of each stage we will put up 30 minute film on the internet. In particular we feel it will give young people a sense of history.
We have had conversations with distributors who are interested in the idea and will also be approaching broadcasters to fully fund the entire project, either as a standaolone film or as a series.
It is often difficult to look objectively at something as sensitive as last Summer’s violence, however, we feel giving previous generations a voice will help open up a debate not just on why civil unrest happens, but also on how the country has change so much in just one lifetime.
Other Ways You Can Help
The biggest contribution you can make is to share the idea with your friends using Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and the IndieGoGo sharing tools.. As the film progresses there may also be other initiatives and othe ways to get involved and we will keep you updated on these as we progress.
Click the facebook link , like and share the page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/CivilUnrest/267317763360277