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Cartoon: Summer movie duds

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 01/06/2024 - 7:50am in

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Exclusive: Unite bans anti-racist documentary – after first offering to support

‘Resistance Street’ film premieres in London this week – but not in Unite buildings, against the wishes of Unite officers and reps

The Unite union has continued its trend under general secretary Sharon Graham of banning left-wing films and books by blocking showings on its premises of a new documentary by Richard David – despite its equalities directors first offering maximum help.

‘On Resistance Street’ trailer

The film was shot over a two year period in England, Belfast and New York and features renowned musicians, bands, writers and commentators looking at the role music plays in the fight against Fascism and racism. Siobhan Endean, Unite’s equalities director, initially responded to David’s approach:

Thank you for your email that you sent to our Executive Council. My role is working in the field of equalities within unite and I would be very keen to help you as much as I can. You asked for an email address for our general secretary it is [redacted]  I would also be very grateful if you could share a link to your film, and I will see what can be done to support the film.

However, within a short time this willingness to help was withdrawn, prompting the film’s creators to write directly to Sharon Graham:

Dear Sharon,
I am writing to you as the writer-director of the new British feature-length documentary ‘ON RESISTANCE STREET’, which received its sold-out international premiere in Belfast, at the Queen’s Film Theatre on October 19th 2023.

The film was a two year independent production, shot in England, Belfast and New York. It is an in-depth examination of the role which music has played historically in the fight against Fascism, racism, bigotry and Right Wing ideology.

As such it contains contributions from a wide array of musicians, Trade Union leaders, activists, authors, historians and commentators. These include members of The Sex Pistols, Steel Pulse, Aswad, Stiff Little Fingers, The Levellers, The Men They Couldn’t Hang, The Defects and The Outcasts. There are also contributions from contemporary British artists such as the East London based Grime Star Lady Shocker, who performs individually but is also a founder member of the
ground-breaking ‘Female All-stars’ Grime collective.

Other contributors include: Matt Wrack FBU Leader, Weyman Bennett, national co-ordinator of ‘Stand Up to Racism’, Chris Salewicz, biographer of Joe Strummer and Bob Marley, Anti-Fascist author and historian Rick Blackman, feminist historian and author Louise Raw, Clash ‘Rude Boy’ movie star Ray Gange, leading female Black Lives Matter activist Chantelle Lunt, Terri Hooley, founder of ‘Good Vibrations Records in Belfast, Mexico City Trade Union leader Fernando Luna, New York State Union organiser Dan Gniewekei and others.

The film also shows as to how a new Trade Union, was created in Mexico City, with between 3-400 members, this after a year of online video call consultations, between British, American and Mexican members of an online Clash fans group named ‘Clash Fans Against The Right’. The members involved were full-time Union officers in their own countries. That group was founded by myself and Robin Banks, in direct response to Boris Johnson’s ludicrous and deeply cynical claim that The Clash were one of his ”Two favourite bands”, that obscene announcement contained inside an official Conservative Party political broadcast in November 2019.

That social media group has since evolved into a real life Anti-Racism organisation named ‘Resistance Street’, which has staged live music events in London, Liverpool, New York and Belfast over the last two years. These events also featured many political speakers including Trade Union leaders like Matt Wrack. In its third section, ‘On Resistance Street’ traces that evolution and shows how social media can be harnessed and utilised powerfully on behalf of the Left, when people pool their intellectual and creative strengths.

The film was produced by myself and Robin, the lifelong friend of The Clash’s Mick Jones, who was immortalised in the band’s song ”Stay Free”. A song written by Mick himself and about their friendship. Robin and I were both friends of the late Joe Strummer, whose lyrics and quotes appear at various stages of the film.

This letter is sent in direct conjunction with a recent proposal which originated via friends of mine who are Unite Officers and Shop Stewards in Southampton, the city in which UK production was based. This followed another sold-out Southern regional premiere screening at Solent University Film Theatre on November 17th. The proposal was that there would be a special screening of the film for Unite members, Anti-Racism activists and other members of Trade Unions at the Unite-The Union HQ in Southampton.

I have personally attended previous Anti-Racism documentary screenings at the HQ, which were well supported and successfully received, audience-wise. Secondly, it was proposed that following that initial event, this could act as springboard for a series of special screenings in Unite HQ’s across the country.

Both Robin and myself were only too delighted at this proposal, given it had always been our hope that special political screenings could materialise via agreements with Trade Unions.

Many people who have seen ORS, have commented on its in-depth educational value. The film not only chronicles music’s role in this battle as stated, but charts the entire drift towards the political Right in America, Europe and Britain, as we confront the present. As such, the ascendancy of Trump, the Brexit campaign and the British and European Far Right are all documented, with emphasis on the now alarming authoritarian stances of the current Conservative government in Britain.

We emphasise that given our own political convictions formed over a lifetime, we were absolutely perfectly happy to see this screening and the proposed series across the country, take place with us making not a single PENNY of profit from it all.

We have now been informed that this proposal is not possible, in direct relation to a relatively recent motion passed by the Unite-The Union National Executive.

As you are well aware, that motion has forbidden the screening of any documentary films in Unite-The Union buildings, unless they are specifically to do with working conditions, wage disputes and industrial relations.

The officers and Shop Stewards concerned were truly shocked by this motion. So are we. Firstly, such films are few and far between and are only likely to be made if they were commissioned by Unions individually or the TUC.

Secondly and more importantly, this decision was taken without consultation of your regional political education officers, general membership or indeed the Unite-The Union Community section. As such, we believe this amounts to a Stalinist-style decision and one which stands directly at odds with the overall principles and history of Anti-Fascism and Anti-Racism in Britain.

It is a decision which consequently denies workers/members the opportunity to watch a film like this inside a recognised Union environment. It is a decision which raises serious questions concerning your Union’s commitment to Anti-Racism in general and which constitutes a gross act of cultural censorship.

Working class cultural activism and creativity should be an absolutely integral part of any genuine political education programmes. Particularly when it is based inside energies challenging racism in Britain.

The Shop Stewards and officers all voiced that belief and it is one we share and endorse completely. We are of course aware of the furore caused via screenings or potential screenings of the Jeremy Corbyn film ‘The Big Lie’.

We shall not comment further on that, other than to say until we hear differently, we have to assume that this motion was passed as a knee-jerk, supposedly politically expedient reaction, to all that. If you are of the view that there are other bona-fide reasons behind the motion, we would very much like to hear what they are.

In light of all this, we are now requesting the following:

  • That your National Executive convenes to formally re-assess this decision.
  • That in doing so, the Executive democratically consults fully with your regional political education officers and only reaches a final decision after such consultations.

If this does not happen, we believe it makes an utter mockery of their supposed role and programmes. We also believe strongly that there should be further extended consultations with appropriate representatives of Unite The Union-In The Community, this also on a regional basis.

It is our conviction that the current decision cuts right to the heart of supposed ‘democracy’, as related to fundamental ethics and principles of Trade Unionism within ‘Unite-The Union’. We believe this decision should be reversed. We believe that these matters will attract widespread attention and public interest within the public domain. With that in mind, we request a formal response from yourself at the earliest possible point.

In Solidarity.
Richard David
Robin Banks

The pair received a response from Sarah Carpenter, Unite’s newly-promoted (without proper process, according to union insiders) ‘Executive head of operations’. The reply, while anodyne in its language, confirmed that Unite has no intention of reversing its ban – and did not address any of the makers’ concerns about the political motivations behind it:

Dear Richard and Robin,

Thank you for your letter which you sent to the General Secretary on 18 December. The GS is currently involved in industrial disputes and has asked me to respond.

Your letter rightly refers to a decision made by the union’s Executive Committee (made up of lay members, elected democratically by and from the wider membership), which was debated and agreed by them at their meeting in September 2023. This decision was ‘That Unite should not use its premises or resources to show or promote any external films or other content that does not relate to our industrial agenda to support the pay, terms and conditions of our members and/or support existing Unite policies. In this context the Union should be especially careful to avoid appearing to endorse any material which causes unnecessary offence to members.’

This would mean that we cannot show any films unless there is a clear link to our industrial agenda. The film you have produced looks fascinating and I am pleased to see that you have found venues where this can be shown. However, from the information you have sent I do not see that there is a link to our industrial agenda, and so we are not able to use Unite premises or resources to show or promote this film.

Carpenter has been accused, acting on Sharon Graham’s behalf, of threatening a soon-to-retire regional official with the loss of his pension bonus if he did not cool his support for the people of Palestine against Israel’s genocide – and of cancelling showings and readings of films and books showing the pro-Israel lobby’s sabotage of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party and exposing abuse by Starmer’s Labour toward left-wing party members.

Sharon Graham has been alleged by Unite insiders to have:

Her supporters also prevented debate and votes on Gaza at a March meeting of the union’s elected executive.

Apart from the issue of Gaza, her tenure as Unite boss has also been marked by a string of other allegations – which neither she nor the union has denied – including destruction of evidence against her husband in threat, misogyny and bullying complaints brought by union employees. She is also embroiled in both an employment tribunal for discrimination and a defamation lawsuit brought by Irish union legend Brendan Ogle for the union’s treatment of him and comments made about him by Graham and her close ally Tony Woodhouse.

‘On Resistance Street’ will receive its London premiere at The Gate Picturehouse Cinema in Notting Hill on
Wednesday April 17th. That will be followed by a short theatrical run across Britain. The film will then feature in a wide number of national and international Film festivals.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Cartoon: Nostalgia movie marathon

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 13/04/2024 - 7:50am in

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Withnail and I Stage Play Taps Robert Sheehan, Sooz Kempner: Details

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 04/04/2024 - 11:47pm in

The cult movie Withnail and I is getting a stage play starring Robert Sheehan (The Umbrella Academy), Sooz Kempner (Doctor Who), and more.

Talkin’ ‘Bout Tina

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 07/07/2021 - 6:49am in

Talkin’ ‘Bout Tina

The post Talkin’ ‘Bout Tina appeared first on LiarTownUSA.

The Avengers '98 - The Director's Cut DVD/Blu-ray covers

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 12/06/2021 - 9:15pm in

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Movies

'The Avengers' movie released in 1998 has to be one of the biggest disappointments ever in the history of movies... at least for me. I was genuinely looking forward to it having missed out on the opportunity to visit the set the year before. A stuntman friend of mine was doing some work on the film and needed some help with his gear. He knew I was a fan of the original series and tried to get in touch with me. But this was a few years before the advent of mobile phones, so his calls to me went unanswered as I was at the day job helping Sooty to put on a show at The American Adventure Theme Park.

When the film was released, it got blistering reviews. And it's easy to see why. The film was a mess and its narrative virtually incomprehensible. There were rumours of it being a troubled production. The film seemed to have very short running time for a so-called blockbuster. There had been no preview screenings for the press prior to its public release. Indeed its premiere was virtually non-existent. And what's more, even more sinister, was the fact that Sean Connery's face appeared nowhere in the Titan Magazines special published to coincide with the release (save for a shot of him in a full page ad for another publication).

Titan Books had also published a novelisation written by Julie Kaewert. Kaewert had used the original screenplay and the book revealed many omitted scenes and the plot actually made more sense. Indeed, it was one of those rare occurrences where the novelisation was actually better than the film!

Adding to the ignominy of the film's reputation (at least on a personal level). I was browsing a second hand VHS stall at the local flea market one Saturday and found, to my surprise, a brand spanking new copy of the film on VHS. It was the Saturday before the Monday the film got its official release on the medium. The VHS was a genuine copy and the tape inside had been played for about ten minutes. You can picture the history... Reviewer gets preview copy - Watches ten minutes of it - Gives up - Can't wait to get shot of it - Sells it on to a second hand stall - Rescued by fan out of pity.

As the years rolled on, stories of the production and the apparent existence of a 'Director's Cut' started to fly around filmdom.

Fast forward to last year and I was approached by Dan Martin who runs a Facebook page dedicated to getting the 'Director's Cut' released on Blu-ray. He wanted a faux cover as a proof of concept to put on social media to drum up some support for the campaign in the wake of 'The Snyder Cut' of 'Justice League' getting a release.

How could I not refuse?

Here it is with a few variants. Hopefully it speaks for itself. It's different to the original artwork. Not TOO quirky or stylised with the fun being emphasised through the use of old BBC weather symbols in the background. I also slipped in the union flag/rampant lion symbol which, although from 'The New Avengers' fitted in with the flavour of the design - especially since its a symbolically burning icon behind Sir August. 

Hope you like it and I'm still waiting for the call from Warner Bros either to ask me to produce a final version of the cover or to issue a take-down order.



Here's some textless versions of the artwork.




And a selection of logo variants too...

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Movie Yelling With Nicole and Mallory: The Hunt for Red October

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 27/07/2017 - 12:55am in

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Movies

SO MUCH YELLING.