London Film-makers Co-operative – Miners’ Strike Appeal Film 1984
This stylish, low-budget and heartfelt campaigning film was made by the London Film-makers Co-operative, “in solidarity with the miners”. Shot on 35mm and originally screened before the main feature in independent cinemas around the UK during 1984-85, it was presented as an ‘advert’. Buckets were passed around and the money raised was given to the fund for striking miners. The year-long Miners’ Strike resulted in widespread hardship; many groups and individuals took part in fundraising ventures to support the strikers.
Director Richard Philpott had a background making unusual, experimental films about political causes. He usually shot on 16mm but in this case worked on 35mm so that the film could be screened alongside traditional narrative feature films. Philpott was a member of the London Filmmakers’ Co-operative, an organisation founded on left wing, non-hierarchical principles. The film parallels the darkness of the mining pit with the darkness of the cinema space while also highlighting the illuminatory force of the miners and the power of working together. It was made with an immediate, specific purpose in mind but still conveys its urgent, poetic qualities, even when viewed today.