- dir. NIKITA WOOLFE
- year. 2017
- country. UK
- run-time. 62
- rating. PG
£6.00 (£4.50 conc.)
Doors 7:00PM - Film 7:30PM
‘Concrete Soldiers’ 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.
Following the screening, there will be a Q&A with journalist and activist Andy Worthington, who does the voiceover for the film. We will also be inviting speakers from Tidemill/Reginald Road, Achilles Street and other local campaigns.
Starved of funds by central government, councils and housing associations are entering into deals with private developers, instead of renovating existing 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, decades, or for their whole lives.
Focusing in particular on the experiences of those living on the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark, Central Hill and Cressingham Gardens in Lambeth, the film exposes how councils bully residents into making decisions about their homes without proper consultation and also uncovers how developers have found loopholes to avoid building affordable housing.
It also looks at the Grenfell Tower fire in June, and the response of some who are saying that tower blocks built in the 1960s and 70s should be demolished. Politicians and journalists claim they are ‘criminally unsafe’, unfit for purpose as housing, and that their maintenance swallows up public funds.
But they are wrong. Although the greed has become palpable, and it sometimes seems that people can only stand by and watch this destruction take place, there is resistance from people, fighting for the future of our social housing. Working tirelessly, these people are fighting the system because they believe that by sheer persistence they can make a difference.
The film encourages viewers to have hope, and a belief that a fairer future is possible.
How this film came to be..
"Three years ago I was looking at all the new developments in London and was surprised to see how much of the construction happened on old council estate land. I started wondering why the councils wanted to sell off their valuable assets and whether there were alternatives. That’s how 'Concrete Soldiers’ began.
"Three years later and 'Concrete Soldiers' is not only answering my questions but it has also become a film about the fighting spirit that I encountered on the way. I was so impressed by people and their tireless campaigning in situations which often ended up with a negative outcome. It's easy to see why people would become discouraged and just give up. But some haven't and some even managed to succeed in their campaigns. That's what 'Concrete Soldiers' is all about."
There has been no funding for this project and there is no-one who is looking to profit from this film. My main objective is to make it accessible for as many people as possible, so there will be a download link available in the future."