The makers of a new film about the miners’ strike have launched a crowd-funding campaign to help raise money to complete the project in time for next year’s 30th anniversary of the strike.
Veteran film-makers, unions and left-wing MPs have already pledged their support to the documentary which will explore 1984/85 dispute through the voices of ‘Arthur’s Army’, a group of miners who were on the front-line for a year defending their jobs and communities.
Ken Loach, John Pilger and Christopher Hird are all supporting the film, called ‘(Still) The Enemy Within’, and Loach was among those who attended a special event to launch the fund-raising campaign at London’s Somerset House on 12 November.
Loach, who directed the 1985 film ‘Which Side Are You On?’, said: “The mainstream media didn’t tell the truth about the miners’ strike when it happened, and the same lies are still being told. It’s therefore important that we tell this story. The film should be made.”
Pilger, who reported from pit villages during the strike, said: “This is an important film. What happened to the miners in the 1980s is happening again in other forms as an increasingly totalitarian state touches our lives. If you can, please support this project.”
‘(Still) The Enemy Within’ is a first-time feature for director Owen Gower whose team spent a large part of the summer filming in former mining villages across the country. Gower, who worked on the BBC natural history series ‘The Burrowers’, described the process of making the film as very moving.
“Interviewing the miners in our film was a real privilege,” he said. “Many had not spoken before about their experiences in 30 years and it was incredible to see their memories come flooding back.”
The film has had vocal support from a number of MPs and politicians. Hackney North MP Dianne Abbott said: “I think it would be great if there was a film made about the miners’ strike. People need to remember what happened and people need to remember the continuing significance of that dispute.”
Dennis Skinner, MP for Bolsover and an ex-miner himself, described it as a “breath of fresh air” in comparison to previous accounts of the strike.
The event in London was supported by the National Union of Teachers, the Firebrigades Union and the Communication Workers’ Union, and attended by figures such as David Hopper, chair of the Durham Miners’ Association, and Gareth Peirce, the lawyer who assisted many miners during and after the strike.
The film-makers have already conducted more than 70 hours of interviews with ex-miners, women and supporters up and down the country, including those from LGBT and Black and Asian support groups.
They also filmed at the Durham Miners’ gala, the CWU conference in Bournemouth, the David Jones/Joe Green memorial in Barnsley, and at the Tory party conference anti-cuts demonstration in Manchester. They have started to edit the film and are aiming to have a rough cut ready by March 2014 and the finished documentary completed by the end of May.
They are still hoping to talk to more people and organisations involved in the strike, however, and would like to hear from anyone who has footage or images which might help to tell the story.
More information about the film is available here.
You can see a trailer for the film, or donate to the project, by visiting the film’s crowd-funding page.
Organisations who want to support the project can download a model motion here.
If you have a story to tell or material to contribute email: email@example.com.