Great film night – Dennis Skinner documentary!

Published October 20, 2017 at 12:27

On Wednesday 11 October, UNISON, in conjunction with the Blackburn and District TUC, organised a free screening of the film Nature of the Beast, a sympathetic film on the career of Dennis Skinner MP, affectionately known as the Beast of Bolsover.

Activists from across the region attended the event at Blackburn College and there was an opportunity afterwards to raise points of interest and invite further discussion.

Directed by Liverpudlian’s Daniel Draper & Christie Allanson, the film tells the story of Dennis through his own, his brothers and constituents eyes. The film purposefully doesn’t reference many current issues (the Director’s didn’t want to date the film) but is more of a celebration of old fashioned Socialism, rabble rousing and class consciousness. Dennis Skinner has spent his whole political and Trades Union career representing the very people who elected him, using his voice to protect those whose voice isn’t loud enough – a lesson for all MPs and Trades Unionists alike today.

Some background from the directors:-

‘In 2014 we made a documentary about Robert Tressell’s book, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. It was the centenary year of the book’s publication, so we interviewed a host of people about the book’s impact on their lives, everlasting relevance etc – and one of our interviewees was Dennis Skinner. So after that project finished, I sent Dennis an audacious letter asking if he would consider letting us make a documentary about his life and contribution to politics in this country. 

Luckily he agreed…which kickstarted the three-year journey of making the film. We shot the film over 18-months on a minuscule budget of £2400. The shoot in Parliament we were charged £700 for just one hour – so hopefully that shows just how well we stretched our filming budget! After everything was completed we ran a Kickstarter campaign to pay for vital post-production services – and we raised an incredible £21,000.

The film has played in independent cinemas across the country, as well at plenty of community screenings, like yours. Dennis has now seen the film and thinks we made “a decent fist of it.” High praise indeed from such a man!’

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