2020 Online Programme

Due to the Covid-19 crisis and the cancellation of the Tolpuddle Festival in Dorset, the 2020 Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival is taking place entirely online. The screenings are all free and can be viewed from anywhere in the world.

Summary Programme:

Friday July 17th:

17.30 – I Am Not a Monster | Quirky, funny and pretty bonkers French film about learning how to be free
20.00 – The Grapes Of Wrath | 1939. One of the great ‘labor’ films of the depression era.

Saturday July 18th

14.00 – East Of Our Memories | New film about German nostalgia for the Communist GDR
15.30 – Unsung Hero: The Story of Jack Jones | New documentary biography of this forgotten hero of the labour movement.
17.45 – The Big Meeting & Gala Days | 2 films, separated by 50 years, that provide a historical perspective on the Durham Miners Gala.
20.00 – Human Resources | The second film of “the French Ken Loach”.
A young man from a working class family returns from University to join the management of the company that runs the town he grew up in. He is going to have to decide whose side he is on.

Sunday 19th July

13.45 – Wapping: The Workers’ Story | A retelling of the story of the Wapping printers strike from the workers’ POV.
15.45 – Under The Knife | In the post-Covid world this is crucial viewing for anyone who wants the NHS to remain a public service.
18.00 – Solidarity | A new film exploring the experience of blacklisting in the building trades.
20.00 – Small Axe Awards | Full programme of challenging new short films, and the announcement of the 2020 Small Axe film awards.

Detailed Programme:

Below you will find further information and screening details for all the films in the 2020 Online Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival.

As usual all screenings are free due to the generosity of our sponsors (see below). All films will be screened on Zoom.

To join a screening simple click on the link about 5 minutes before the screening is due to start. Due to screen size we advise you watch the films on a computer rather than a phone or tablet.

Each feature-length screening will be preceded by screenings of short films entered into the Small Axe Film Competition and each screening will be followed by an online discussion. In the case of the UK documentaries representatives of the film-makers and/or activists will join us for the discussion.


17.30 – I Am Not a Monster

Starting with the thought of political theorist Hannah Arendt, Ben Hayoun-Stépanian explores what freedom could mean today? The result is a joyful potpourri of ideas and alternative thinking, propelled by a thrilling soundtrack of Ethiopian hip hop. Asserting that the need for change has never been more urgent, I Am (Not) a Monster is an ambitious yet accessible activist outcry: ‘knowledge is power’…


Small Axe Shorts

Drifting with Debord

Documentary | David Archibald, Carl Lavery | United Kingdom | 17:35
Glasgow Glam Rock Dialogues channel the spirits of David Bowie, Suzi Quatro and Karl Mark to debate the life and legacy of Guy Debord, theoretical leader of the Paris-based Situationist International. Look out your feather boa!

Me and You

Documentary | Constantine Gras, Natasha Langridge | United Kingdom | 10:05
Natahsa Langridge, writer and performer, lives on the Wornington Green Estate in North Kensington. We follow her across a day during the COVID19 lockdown as she delivers food or checks on vulnerable, self-isolating friends and contemplates visiting her mother who has been diagnosed with cancer.



20.00 – The Grapes Of Wrath

Directed by John Ford and based on John Steinbeck’s 1939 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, the film tells the story of the Joads who, after losing their Oklahoma farm during the Great Depression in the 1930s, become migrant workers and end up in California. One of the great films of the  depression era.


Small Axe Shorts

The Record

Fiction | Chris White | United Kingdom | 04:38
What does it take to break a world record? Grit, determination, and creative thinking – as two young girls discover. More Details

BROOKLYN PARK (dir. Duravcevic)

Fiction | Nikola Duravcevic | United States | 14:49
Alone in New York, Somali rideshare driver Abdi begins his nightshift with the news of a tragedy back home. Poetic and lyrical, BROOKLYN PARK is a modern-day immigrant tale that explores alienation, grief, and transcendence. More Details



14.00 – East Of Our Memories

The phenomenon of growing nostalgia in Berlin for the communist GDR is revealed in this fascinating new documentary, which raises important questions about the relationship between competitive, individualist, Western capitalism, mental health and happiness.


Small Axe Shorts

Delphine ‘No Dogs’

Documentary (Student) | Anayis Der Hakopian | United Kingdom | 03:45
This short animation follows a real testimony during the “No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs” period in UK History. In this short we follow Delphine who has come to London when her child unexpectedly falls Ill. More Details

Chinese People Love Bat Soup

Documentary (Student) | Sam Jones | United Kingdom | 08:44
An individual project reflecting from inside looking out during lockdown, giving a voice to Chinese nationals as they reflect on how England has portrayed them during this time. More Details

15.30 – Unsung Hero: The Story Of Jack Jones

A documentary on one of the greatest British figures of the past century, trades union leader Jack Jones. He attacked poverty, fascism, worker exploitation and pensioner neglect with such ferocity he was voted The Most Powerful Man in Britain.


Small Axe Shorts

In Blood, We Trust

Documentary (Student) | Daryl Brown | Not Specified | 08:29
An experimental documentary that uses archival footage to complicate the notion of violence and its relationship to Black America. More Details

Near Miss

Documentary (Student) | Nigel Smith | United Kingdom | 01:29
Lesley arrives for a minor procedure when something unexpected happens. More Details

The Picket Line

Documentary (Student) | Joseph Scott | Ireland | 06:55
An observational piece following the picket line at Queen’s University Belfast, as the UCU and the UCEA, continue to have their prolonged stalemate on better pay and pension benefits. More Details

Mark Faulkner

Documentary | Chris Reeves | United Kingdom | 10:00
Portrait of a young disabled homeless man More Details

17.45 – The Big Meeting & Gala Days

Two fascinating films about the Durham Miner’s Gala. The first is a ‘Free Cinema’ short film, Gala Day, which was made in 1963. The second is a 2019 feature-length documentary from the team who brought you, Dennis Skinner: Nature of the Beast.

Together they provide an insightful perspective on the last 50 years of the labour movement.


20.00 – Human Resources

1999. The first feature of the French Ken Loach, Laurent Cantet. This is a moving examination of class loyalty and a fine example of “making the personal political”.


Small Axe Shorts

A Viable Candidate

Fiction | Orson Nava | United Kingdom | 19:00
Sylvan and Mia are the perfect couple; in love, caring and supportive of each other, and with a shared vision of what Britain could be with Sylvan as it’s first black Prime Minister. But a secret from his street-boy past could both destroy their dreams and devastate their marriage. More Details


Fiction | Yasin masoudi | Iran, Islamic Republic of | 01:03
Corona is a kind of war, this time in silence … More Details

Be More With MeMore

Fiction | Evan Skladany | United States | 01:00
Now there’s a revolutionary way to socialize without the need for others! MeMore is a therapeutic hallucinogen that generates multiple, interactive clonegrams you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home, or while safely navigating public spaces. Enjoy more, live more, be more… with MeMore!* More Details


13.45 – Wapping: The Workers’ Story

A brand new archive, documentary telling the story of the infamous Wapping dispute between Rupert Murdoch and the print unions that along with the ’84 Miner’s Strike, defined the Thatcher years for the trade union movement.


Small Axe Shorts

Social Fabric

Documentary | Sam Meech | United Kingdom | 15:00
A documentary looking at the displacement of knitting factories in Manchester. For over 30 years, Crusader Mill in Manchester was occupied by textile businesses run by the South Asian community. In 2017, following the purchase of the building by developers Capital & Centric, these businesses were forced to move out. Though the developers claim to be ‘saving’ the industrial heritage of Manchester, and creating a ‘community’ the voices of the South Asian textile community who actually worked in the mill have been missing from the narrative. More Details


Reclaiming Work

Documentary | Usayd Younis, Cassie Quarless | United Kingdom | 07:35
RECLAIMING WORK is a real David versus Goliath story that follows the journeys of a number of European cycle couriers as they use cutting edge technology to challenge corporate giants like Uber Eats and Deliveroo. More Details

15.45 – Under The Knife

A new documentary history of the dismantling and privatisation of the Health Service. In this Post-Covid world it is vital that anyone who wants to save the NHS as a publicly owned and funded institution must see this film.


Small Axe Shorts


Fiction | John Mossman | United States | 06:08
When a hospital runs out of respirators, the administrators face an ethical dilemma. More Details

LIMBO (dir. von Seck)

Fiction | Anthony von Seck | Canada | 17:20
Raymond Laissier, a high-profile intelligence operative sits down with Charley Underwood, a conspiracy theorist, to retrieve his personal handbook filled with top secret information. Hoping to have his sensitive material safely back in hand, a simple exchange of property becomes a shocking re-evaluation of Ray’s destructive occupation. More Details

18.00 – Solidarity

Blacklisting in the UK construction industry impacted thousands of workers who were labelled ‘troublemakers’ for speaking out and secretively denied employment. Activists uncovered alarming links between workplace blacklisting and undercover policing. SOLIDARITY follows meetings between activists and law students, brought together for the film, revealing the determination of a community working together to find a route to justice.


Small Axe Shorts

Shocking Facts About the Origin of Pandemics

Documentary | United Kingdom | 04:18
Three in four of the world’s new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals. Responsible for nearly three million deaths a year, these diseases are largely transmitted through trading wildlife (legally and illegally) and factory farming. It’s time to make the connection between eating meat and the decimation of wildlife, antibiotic resistance and disease outbreak. More Details


Invasion: The Unist’ot’en’s Fight for Sovereignty

Documentary | Michael Toledano, Sam Vinal | Canada | 18:19
In this era of “reconciliation”, Indigenous land is still being taken at gunpoint. INVASION is verité cinematic experience about the Unist’ot’en Camp, Gidimt’en checkpoint and the larger Wet’suwet’en Nation standing up to the Canadian government and corporations who continue colonial violence against Indigenous peoples. More Details


20.00- Small Axe Film Competition Awards

All film is political. But all films are not equal. The Small Axe Short Film Awards is a competition for films that directly address social and political issues. We accept everything – from direct polemic, to experimental film, from original fiction to observational documentary. We want opinion, analysis, personal stories, ideology, vision and fresh perspectives. Challenge, explore, celebrate, discuss… In short, any film that you feel is radical is welcome; as long as it is short (under 30 minutes)

Films will be screened in the short blocks listed below. All films are in the same screening room.

20:00 – 20:15 Films By Young Filmakers (under 18) 

I Am George

Young Film (Made by filmmakers under 18) | Lovro Hostić, Ivona Štefica Mihanović | Croatia | 03:27
George is a boy who is different from the others. While he enjoys expressing his individuality, he finds himself being forced to conform. His usual colorfulness is replaced with shades of black. Will he break free from the norm or will he remain an average citizen?


Young Film (Made by filmmakers under 18) | Niki Paleka, Aleta Franić, Dora Pecigoš, Jan Novak Vukašinović, Ursula Pavić, Noa Zelenko | Croatia | 05:01
Kids in the Frooom! film school wrote, filmed and acted in their own story called Duel. Since the beginning of history this sort of dispute solving was popular – from swords to florets, from muskets to pistols. Even today this is not a yet abandoned practice to solve quarrels.


Young Film (Made by filmmakers under 18), Young Film (Made by filmmakers under 18) | Andrew Wang | United States | 02:52
A “scary” horror scene filled with horror stereotypes, with a different kind of “fear”

The Covid Scar

Young Film (Made by filmmakers under 18), Young Film (Made by filmmakers under 18) | Patricia Hayes, Marc Hayes | Not Specified | 00:40
The COVID scars go beyond the skin.


20:15 – Documentary

We’re in quarantine

Documentary | Efi Amanatidou | Not Specified | 20:28
The video intends to function as a call for awakening amidst the disaster we are living and impels towards the acceptance of responsibility in terms of the life stance each one of us employs; aiming to make use of the current coronavirus crisis as an occasion for reflection – in order to prevent the reduction of our realities and societies into a dystopia.


20:35 – Student Documentary


Documentary (Student) | Julian Liby | United States | 23:39
What started as a project to interview conspiracy theorists about the COVID-19 pandemic, became an opportunity to glean information about the psychological and personality characteristics that make conspiracy theorists tick, and whether or not the perpetuation of such theories on social media can be detrimental to us.


21:00 – Fiction

SELKINCHEK – THE SWING (dir. Sagnybaeva)

Fiction | Samara Sagynbaeva | Kyrgyzstan | 20:00
An elderly and honest Bolot works as a heating man at a village school. When the coal in his house finishes, his wife persuades him to steal coal from the school, despite the school’s small supply.


21:20 – Student Fiction


Fiction (Student) | Caleb Stevens | United States | 02:19
A quarantine short film.

Fred’s Night Out

Fiction (Student) | Anayis N. Der Hakopian | United Kingdom | 04:07
A vagabond suicidal fox decides to crash an urban party where he meets the Vixen of his dreams.

04_EMIL_CASTING.mp4 (dir. Zahavi)

Fiction (Student) | Lili Zahavi | Germany | 09:23
Emil is auditioning for a main part in a huge international film production. Playing a homosexual, drug-addicted SS-Officer he needs to break up from his lover shortly before the battle of Stalingrad. But of all people Oskar, his Ex-Girlfriend’s new boyfriend, happens to read the counterpart and threatens Emil’s chances of getting the part.


Fiction (Student) | Josia Brezing | Germany | 01:12
During a nocturnal car drive in search of sex, the protagonist meets a trans prostitute. But instead of releasing him from his desires, she informs him together with a leather fetish boy about his irresponsibility regarding the climate change.

Cyril Offence

Fiction (Student) | Louis Linsey | United Kingdom | 14:44
A true story set in 1969 Rochdale, England, about the first person to come forward against the politician Cyril Smith.


21:50 Announcement of the awards




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