KUC ~ a Centre for Community and Spiritual Discovery
invites you to
the first Global Movie Night of the Fall Season
at Kamloops United Church
on September 29, 2019, at 7:00 pm.
The video chosen for viewing and discussion is How to Start a Revolution.
(And since it’s Orange Shirt Sunday, wear your Orange Shirt as an act of remembrance and honour of those who attended Residential Schools, and an act of acknowledgement and reconciliation.)
This movie is being presented in celebration of the UN International Day of Peace.
How to Start a Revolution is a BAFTA Award-winning British documentary film about Nobel Peace Prize nominee and political theorist Gene Sharp, described as the world’s foremost scholar on nonviolent revolution. The 2011 film describes Sharp’s ideas, and their influence on popular uprisings around the world. Screened in cinemas and television in more than 22 countries it became popular among the Occupy Wall Street Movement.
Directed by British journalist Ruaridh Arrow the film follows the use of Gene Sharp’s work across revolutionary groups throughout the world. There is particular focus on Sharp’s key text From Dictatorship to Democracy which has been translated by democracy activists into more than 30 languages and used in revolutions from Serbia and Ukraine to Egypt and Syria. The film describes how Sharp’s 198 methods of nonviolent action have inspired and informed uprisings across the globe.
A primary character of the film is Gene Sharp, founder of the Albert Einstein Institution, and a 2009 and 2012 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. Sharp has been a scholar on nonviolent action for more than 50 years, and has been called both the “Machiavelli of nonviolence” and the “Clausewitz of nonviolent warfare.” Other main characters include Jamila Raqib, a former Afghan refugee and the Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institution; Colonel Robert “Bob” Helvey; Srđa Popović, leader of Otpor! students group Serbia; Ahmed Maher, leader of April 6 democracy group Egypt; and Ausama Monajed, Syrian activist.
Background and production
Scottish journalist Ruaridh Arrow, who wrote, directed, and co-produced the film, explained that he first learned about Gene Sharp’s work as a student, and then heard that Sharp’s booklets were turning up on the sites of many revolutions. But Sharp himself remained largely unknown. In explaining his motivation to make the film, Arrow stated that
Here was this old man [Gene Sharp] sitting in a crumpled house in Boston and that is where revolutionaries go for advice. It was one of the world’s great little secrets. It was a little bit of magic and I had to make a film about it.
The film was privately funded by Ruaridh Arrow and additional funding was raised through the US crowdfunding site Kickstarter. The film raised $57,342 in just under 4 weeks making it the most successful British crowdfunded film currently completed. Several high-profile figures are credited by the producers with supporting the crowdfunding project, including director Richard Linklater and actress Miriam Margolyes. Completion funding was donated by US art collector James Otis who sold the largest collection of Gandhi possessions including Gandhi’s iconic glasses and sandals in 2009. Otis stated that he was selling the items to help fund nonviolent struggle projects and is described as the Executive Producer of the film.
Principal photography began in May 2009 with Director of Photography Philip Bloom in Boston. Interview sequences were shot on Sony EX1 cameras with a Letus 35mm lens adapter and the Canon 5dmk2 DSLR camera. Ruaridh Arrow travelled to Egypt to film the Egyptian revolution in February 2011 but his camera equipment was seized by Egyptian secret police on landing and key sequences had to be filmed on the iphone4. Arrow reported live from Tahrir Square for BBC News during this period.