A short film about Democracy Village peace-camp, established on Parliament Square in summer 2010. The film explores the passion of the peace protesters living at the camp and the relationships between activists and the homeless community who settled on the square.
The City of Westminster has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the UK and the community spirit of the camp was a draw to many of the local homeless population. By the time Democracy Village was evicted the ratio of people living on the square was 30% activist and 70% homeless. Activists found it an increasing struggle to deal with the subsequent alcohol and drug related problems and violence under the banners of Democracy.
Despite the conflicts, the group managed to find some common ground and occasionally new friendships as they camped together for nearly three months.
'The Valleys' documents life in Welsh Valleys, an area which has the highest youth unemployment and child poverty rates in the UK. Ironically, these Valleys were once the heart of industrial Britain as coal and iron were mined here for over two centuries. Wealth was created through the coal trade and the first million pound deal ever made was on coal in nearby Cardiff. After World War II oil grew in popularity and coaling declined. All the mines were closed by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980's and this stripped the area of its main industry, creating vast unemployment. Prospects were limited for the relatively unskilled workers and little work was available locally.
For the past few decades families here have struggled; opportunities are few, wages are low and many are dependent on welfare to to make ends meet. The current economic crisis has intensified this situation. Young people in particular are finding it hard to get their foot on the ladder in an increasingly competitive and unstable climate. Many feel that the outlook is bleak; there are less opportunities for people starting out in the job market and housing is unaffordable. A lot of youngsters still live at home with their parents and others are dependent on the welfare state. Drug addiction is rife here as gangs from neighbouring cities have flooded the area with substances such as 'Meow Meow' which is inexpensive and highly addictive.
This video is a very rough edit but shows some of the pictures and interviews I have collected on my trip so far. The photos portray the everyday lives of individuals as they struggle through this difficult time. I hope they express as sense of place in this unique landscape as well as telling the stories of this generation.
A journey along the St Michael Axis through the ancient mythological landscape of Britain. Discovering Hopton, Bury St Edmunds, Royston, Avebury, Glastonbury, Tintagel, Bodmin Moor and Penzance.
Alignments was screened at the Rio Cinema in London as part of a programme of films with the theme of mayday. The series of short films was recommended in the Saturday supplement of the Guardian Newspaper.
Here's a blurb from Rio Cinema:-
A trip across ancient lines, jaunting quizzically through the English landscape. All stills and sculpted grabbed sound, covering a moulding seaside town, maps, A-roads, men with beards, dowsing rods. Cornish pub music, caves and a lot of rain. You don’t have to be a pagan or a druid to understand that there’s summat glorious in this filthy earth.
A short film about our relationship to the ancient landscape. Featuring interviews with the late John Michell discussing 'megalithomania' and the artist Jill Smith with her paintings of Callenish stone-circle in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Shot on location at Avebury, Stonehenge and Callenish.