HOW TO START A REVOLUTION is a new documentary film revealing how one man's work has helped millions of people achieve freedom in the face of oppression and tyranny.
Gene Sharp is a shy, modest and little-known man. But his work has inspired a generation of people to challenge dictators through non-violent action in a tidal wave of revolutionary spirit and reform that has swept from Eastern Europe, though Asia and to the Middle East and North Africa.
18 months ago we started work on this feature-length documentary. Through the candid and intimate testimony of the people responsible for non-violent revolutions our film seeks to tell the story of how people power can be used topple dictators.
To make this film our director (Ruaridh Arrow pictured above) slept overnight in Tahrir Square in Cairo at the height of the February revolution. He’s met the leaders of the Syrian pro-democracy movement and the people responsible for overthrowing dictators in Serbia and Ukraine. He has spent time with Gene and his colleagues as they spread their message of effective non-violent revolution.
The film reveals how the leaders of an uprising in one country train the participants in the next and how social media now threatens dictators and tyrants around the world in ways that were unimaginable just a decade ago.
Not only is this documentary an important film of record of the civil uprisings that have shaken the world in the last decade but we also hope it will help inspire future pro-democracy movements develop their strategies for non-violent revolution in the face of apparently overwhelming odds.
It’s been a humbling experience to learn how the personal struggles of the few have become the rallying calls for a generation of people suffering under brutal tyranny and oppression.
HOW TO START A REVOLUTION is the remarkable story of the modern revolution, the power of people to change their world and the man behind it all.
THE NEXT FEW WEEKS
Our filming is finished and right now we're 10 weeks into our edit. For the next few weeks we’ll be hard at work in the editing room putting together the final version of this film. What we're hoping for from Kickstarter is help towards the completion costs.
Making a feature-length film is a very expensive and challenging process – particularly at this end-stage. We've been working hard on raising the money we need to complete the film and we’ve had amazing and inspiring help from our friends and colleagues around the world who have given us so many resources to get this far.
Even our employers are helping us out with some of our direct costs, by providing facilities and with in-kind gifts of time, technical assistance, editing equipment, legal help and financial expertise.
No one's been paid to make this film, we're simply covering costs right now. We've begged and borrowed (but not stolen) to get to this stage.
But to complete the film we now have the most cripplingly expensive stages ahead of us, we have to clear all the archive, put the film through post-production and cover the costs of getting it out to the market at film festivals, get it online and onto DVD.
Every dollar we raise is all going to be used for three very specific things:
- firstly we need to it to acquire and clear the best possible archive material we can, the royalty costs for good archive are very expensive;
- secondly we need to spend time on making this film look and sound as good as we can by using specialist post-production techniques in the online edit, in the grade, the dub and so on;
- and thirdly we need to spread the message about the film at film festivals and in the international marketplace. We think we have a great film that can make a real impact at festivals and with distributors, one of the biggest challenge of all will be to get it noticed in a very crowded marketplace.
This film is an independent production. The people working on it all have full time jobs in the industry, but for this very special project they're giving their services, even giving up paid jobs, to get this film made. We've had no commissioning money and no access to conventional funding. This has all been self-financed from our own pockets and has only been made possible through the incredible generosity of our many partners, collaborators and donations from our co-producers.
HOW TO START A REVOLUTION is a portrait of how millions of people can make a difference to their own lives if they’re only given the resources to do it. It also shows how social media and the web can drive profound and enduring change, Kickstarter does the same and that’s why we’re attracted to this method of funding.
A few people can make an enormous difference by spreading the word - we’ve seen this in action as we make the film.
We hope that this model of crowd-funding can do the same for a film that sets out to record the extraordinary achievements of people who have changed their world in the most profound and inspiring way imaginable.
We’ve come up with a list of benefits we can offer you if you’d be prepared to make a pledge. If we can reach our target to complete this film we hope it will pay tribute to the people who have already been down this path, we hope it will encourage those who are in the middle of a non-violent action and it may even help inspire people in the future to learn from their experiences.
CAN WE EXCEED OUR TARGET?
Yes, and if we do it will allow us to make an even better film and distribute it more widely. Exceeding our goal will both increase the amount of great archive we're able to use in the film, allow us to release it in more territories. It will greatly expand the distribution platforms for the work online and on DVD and allow us to produce different versions at different lengths to distribute it in all the territories where the film really needs to be seen.