A Film Teacher's View of Brexit

 woke up on 24th of June with a sense of dread quickly confirmed by the news; the UK had Brexited! What folly! What a nasty, irresponsible and lazy referendum campaign had caused it. Then the perpetrators resigned like rats leaving the sinking ship. We have been badly let down by our politicians. What happened to the constitutional rule that sovereignty belongs to the people in Parliament?

However, for those reading this blog so far I assure you that is the end of the whinge. What I want to contribute is to show the decision will affect one small, micro, area of the creative arts.

EsoDoc is an EU Media documentary film workshop to encourage and enable young filmmakers to work for human rights. I was Head of Studies for 11 years until 2014. We began the very day that the EU expanded to include East European states like Bulgaria and Rumania and from then on  it was usual for members of 12-13 different countries to come every year to our three workshops.

Many conscious-raising docs are made drawing attention to environmental and human rights issues-  on mining destroying communities, on drones casually killing civilians, on state sponsored cruelty towards Romas.

Perhaps more important, we started courses in participatory video to train non film-makers like Indian villagers or incarcerated prisoners how to to shoot and edit documentary film. Out of this, for example, grew Video Volunteers in India where 250-300 cameras are now in the hands of the urban and rural poor shooting their own news stories. These are sold to TV or shown on the internet and the payment returned to the film-maker. It's a 'win - win' situation.

Then we moved to mixed media on the internet. Google 'Awra amba' for example and you will watch and interact with everyday life in an utopian Ethiopian village.

All this is highly subsidised by the EU Creative Arts programme, the cost of the workshops, grants towards the development and distribution of films. Ultimately the European tax payer pays of course but at the sharp end the young Euro film-maker is encouraged to work on worthwhile projects rather than waste their time with TV.

The result of Brexit, presumably, is that UK teachers and students will no longer be welcome; no longer receive the financial benefits, no longer able to co-produce and network with  fellow Europeans. No wonder the Scots want to stay in. Esodoc will be impoverished too because much of the talent comes from the UK where the film industry is healthy, or was.

EsoDoc is miniscule, but its part of the EU Creative Arts programmes that runs thirty of so projects from which the UK will now be barred. And that is a small thread in the patchwork of cultural and educational organisations that help to bind Europe together. 

I feel ashamed.