Two New London Screenings of ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, Documentary Opposing the Destruction of Council Estates, in Hackney Wick and Walthamstow on February 20 and 24

13.2.18

Concrete Soldiers UK: an image by street artists the Artful Dodger, who has created the imagery and logos for the film.Please support my work as a reader-funded investigative journalist, commentator and activist.

 

In December, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, a new documentary film about Britain’s housing crisis, was released, for which I was delighted to have been asked by the director, Nikita Woolfe, to be the narrator. As we explain on the film’s website:

“‘Concrete Soldiers UK’ is a new documentary film by Nikita Woolfe, looking at an under-reported scandal in London and across the country — the social cleansing of council estates. Starved of funds by central government, councils and housing associations are entering into deals with private developers in which, instead of renovating estates, they are being demolished and rebuilt. The developers make huge profits, but existing tenants, and leaseholders are squeezed out, socially cleansed from their homes, and often from the boroughs in which they have lived for years, for decades, or for their whole lives.”

The film looks in particular at three struggles currently taking place — on the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark, and Central Hill and Cressingham Gardens in Lambeth — and is particularly concerned to provide a voice for those resisting the destruction of their homes. As we put it, “The film encourages viewers to have hope, and a belief that a fairer future is out there.” And with good news of late — Haringey residents seemingly victorious over their council, which sought to put all the borough’s social housing into a development vehicle with the rapacious Australian-based international property developer Lendlease, and with both Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan backing residents’ ballots before any demolitions can take place — it is to be hoped that 2018 will be the year that the tide finally turns on the social cleansing that has threatened to become an epidemic in recent years.

The launch of ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’ was at the Cinema Museum in Kennington, and it was followed by a second screening at Deptford Cinema. Both were very well-attended, and the film was also very well-received. For London Intelligence, Paul Coleman encouraged viewers to absorb the film’s “refreshing amplification of the voices of working class Londoners; the people subjected to developer-led, council-backed regeneration – one of the most perniciously anti-democratic and inhuman facets of London’s unequal political economy.” Theatre director Anita Parry wrote, “Such a good film and of real substance so people are actually armed with some facts as well.”

Since launching the film, we have begun approaching housing campaigners to arrange screenings, and we ask you to contact us if you’d like to show it. We are particularly interested in supporting those actively fighting against the proposed destruction of their homes, but we are happy to show it to any interested audience — and of course, we welcome invitations from independent cinemas and film festivals. We are also about to launch a fundraiser to raise money so that Niki and I can travel to show the film — in London and elsewhere — so please do get in touch if you’d like to donate to support us.

Below are the first two screenings of 2018, both next week — a screening in Hackney Wick on Tuesday February 20, and a screening in Walthamstow on Saturday February 24. We are currently also lining up screenings in April in Tottenham (at the Lordship Hub in Lordship Recreation Ground, by Broadwater Farm estate, on Sunday April 15) and New Cross (at Sanford Road Co-Op on Monday April 30, as part of the Deptford and New Cross Free Film Festival) and will provide further details about those screenings soon.

Tuesday February 20, 7pm – 9pm, Hub 67, 67 Rothbury Road, Hackney Wick, London E9 5HA
Screening followed by Q&A with narrator Andy Worthington and director Nikita Woolfe.

This is a Films For Food screening. There is no charge for admission but you must bring a bag of non-perishable food which will get donated to First Love Foundation (Tower Hamlets Food Bank). Films For Food was set up in 2014 by Rainbow Collective, which describes itself as “a unique production company, formed as a social enterprise and committed to raising awareness on issues of human and childrens’ rights through powerful cinematic documentaries”, who “have collaborated with Amnesty International, The Consortium For Street Children, War On Want, TRAID, Labour Behind The Label, International Labor Rights Forum and many others.” They set up Films for Food in response to the news, in 2014, that “there had been a 51% rise in people using food banks across the UK, with the number of users now over one million.”
If you are coming to this screening, please sign up on the Eventbrite page here.

Saturday February 24, 6pm – 8pm, Harmony Hall, 10 Truro Rd, Walthamstow, London E17 7BY
Screening followed by Q&A with narrator Andy Worthington.

The screening is free, but a suggested minimum donation is £3. It’s organised by Save Walthamstow’s Town Centre, and follows an occupation of Walthamstow Market Square from 1-3pm, against proposals to build 500 new and unaffordable homes in the square, which, as the campaigners state, will involve the developers grabbing a third of the Square, which is publicly owned, constructing huge towers, one of which will be 29 storeys tall, and chopping down around 80 mature trees in and around the Square. As the campaigners also state, they want mass council house building and social rents and private rent control, and also for any changes to the market to be subject to a borough-wide ballot.
My band The Four Fathers will also be playing a few songs at the occupation in the afternoon.
Please visit the Facebook page for the occupation, and please also check out Save Walthamstow’s Town Centre on Facebook and Twitter. The Reclaim Walthamstow Twitter page may also be of interest.
For Harmony Hall, and directions, see the website here, and for further information about the Walthamstow campaign, please email David Gardiner.

See below for a short teaser for the film — official trailer to follow soon:

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Donald Trump No! Please Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2017), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

2 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, promoting the first two screenings this year of ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, the new documentary film about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents fighting to save their homes, which I narrate, and which was directed by Nikita Woolfe. The screenings are in Hackney Wick on Tuesday February 20 (organised by Films for Food), and Walthamstow on Saturday February 24 (organised by Save Walthamstow’s Town Centre) and Niki and I will be attending post-screening Q&A sessions. We invite anyone facing a threat to their homes – and cinemas and film festivals, of course – to contact us if you’d like to arrange a screening. More dates will be announced soon, along with the launch of a fundraiser to enable Niki and I to take the film on tour.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Here’s the Facebook page for the Walthamstow screening: https://www.facebook.com/events/2081022032113074/

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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