| Friday 28th March
2008 | Issue 626
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VERGE ON THE ROAD
AS SMASHEDO MOVIE TOUR GOES AHEAD DESPITE CENSORSHIP ATTEMPTS
SchNEWS and SmashEDO have combined forces to bring the world “the film they tried to ban” - On the Verge, the story of the four -year campaign against EDO MBM, Brighton’s favourite bomb-builders. Determined to beat the censorship imposed by Sussex Police and their allies (See SchNEWS 625), SchMOVIES have taken the show(ings) on the road.
The first leg of the tour over the last week has taken in Oxford, Bath, Hereford and finished up at Bristol’s Kebele social centre. According to movie director Steve Bishop, “The whole things has been massively energised by Sussex Police’s cack-handed attempt at censorship – so cobblers / bollocks to them basically. Venue organisers have been surprised at the turn outs – obviously huge credit has to go to everyone who organised a screening at short notice.”
It’s perhaps to be expected, but still heartening, that Quaker meeting houses and anarchist social centres have refused to be intimidated, and have worked to make sure screenings have gone ahead despite all the pressure on them.
In Hereford, landlord of the The Barrels pub Peter Amor - despite being “to the right of Margaret Thatcher” - was determined to show the film saying, “freedom of speech is important – you know Voltaire and all that”. After visits from local cops saying they were following orders from “Head Office” hadn’t deterred him, it took a last minute letter from a council official threatening him with a six month prison sentence or a £20,000 fine before he reluctantly pulled out. Guerilla Cinema (our local contacts) managed to get another venue and after a certain amount of clandestine skulduggery in an alleyway over fifty people crammed in to see it.
Police attention shows no sign of abating with the Common Place – a radical autonomous centre in Leeds - being the latest place to have their licence threatened by the local council if they show the film.
Only one town (a community centre in Chichester) has actually cancelled as a result of police action but offers of screenings from as far afield as San Francisco, Belfast, Athens and Australia are pouring in.
For the time being SchMOVIES is resisting the urge to put the film in any easily downloadable format because in the words of Steve Bishop, “We want people to watch this film together – to weep, to laugh, to be inspired and empowered – to meet others and take action together. Whether that’s going to be achieved by people sitting in their bedrooms gawping at Youtube is debatable.” Despite this, the film will be available in a variety of formats shortly...
* To get a full list of upcoming tour dates check out www.smashedo.org.uk/diary.htm#tour
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