events

films

1968

Cinema Action mobile cinema started by Ann Lamche with support of Richard Mordaunt. First screenings of French film

1969

Develops into an informal group with a growing membership and regular meetings. Productiion based at Lusia Films. All work unwaged.

Mobile Cinema showings include Ford Dagenham, Ford Halewood, Vauxhall Ellesmere Port and a British Leyland factory.

Production of first cine tracts.

Richard Mordaunt and Schlacke Lamche film in Free Derry.

not a penny on the rent

16mm. B/W. 22 mins
Documentary supporting the campaign against the attempt by the GLC, under Conservative leader Horace Cutler, to raise council rents.

London transport

16mm. B/W. 6 mins.
Documentary supporting strikers at Acton tube depot.

GEC

116mm. B/W. 8 mins.
Animation and graphics on the call by the GEC Merseyside shop stewards for factory occupation to oppose closures and redundancies.

GEC 2

16mm. B/W sep. mag.
Reflections by shop stewards on lessons of the failure of the campaign seen in GEC 1.

1970

Moves to Alexandra Road.

squatters

16mm. B/W opt. 18 mins.
Documentary on the early squatters’ movement. Homeless families occupy empty properties and resist eviction by private landlords and the GLC.

Vauxhalls

16mm. B/W. Part silent, part opt. 8 mins.
Animation, stills and documentary opposing measured day work at the Vauxhall factory.

us all

16mm. B/W. 12 mins.
Documentary on a wages dispute by members of the draughtsmans’ union, DATA, at Rolls Royce, Coventry.

fighting the bill

16mm. B/W. 36 mins.
Documentary for the campaign against the Conservative government’s Industrial Relations Bill. Shows meetings and demonstrations and uses graphics, stills and library film to set the conflict in the context of an international struggle against capitalism and a long history of trade union struggle in Britain. The case against the bill is put by shop stewards Mike Cooley and Dick Jones from DATA, May Hobbs from T&GWU, Don Cook, Kevin Halpin and Tom Langan from AUEW.

1971

Police raid premises after a showing of Fighting the Bill outside the Albert Hall.
Richard Mordaunt, Marc Karlin and Humphrey Trevelyan split off to form Berwick Street Collective.
Films the occupation of the Upper Clyde Shipyards (UCS).
First substantial donation from trades unions.

the UCS struggle/UCS1

B/W. 23 mins.
Documentary supporting the occupation of Upper Clyde Shipyards. Includes speech by Jimmy Reid.

1972

hands off student unions

16mm. B/W. 33 mins.
Documentary for the National Union of Students’ campaign against proposals put forward by Margaret Thatcher when Minister for Education. Includes speech from Clive Jenkins of ASTMS and an interview with the French student leader, Alan Krevine.

1973

people of Ireland!

16mm. B/W. 95 mins.
Documentary. An analysis and chronicle of the instance of dual power in the north of Ireland: we see the barricaded resistance zone of Free Derry in August 1969, the struggle for democracy, the right to assemble and for free expression, the contradiction between labour and capital, the struggle against imperialism, the demands: a socialist workers’ republic. (CA 1980)

arise ye workers

16mm. B/W. 25 mins.
Documentary supporting dockers’ fight against the effects of containerisation. ‘The London dockers’ struggle to preserve their jobs against ruthless rationalisation; profiteering and land speculation, police harassment of pickets and finally the enforcement of the Industrial Relations Act with the arrest of the Pentonville 5.’ (CA 1975)

1974-5

miners’ film

16mm. B/W. 49 mins.
Documents — from the inside and for the labour movement — the events of the miners’ strike in 1974, as part of the successful opposition against Phase 3 of the Conservative government’s incomes policy. (CA 9 April 19751 Industrial action by miners in the winter of 1973—4 helped to bring down Edward Heath’s government. The film covers this crisis but reflects the miners’ historical and political understanding of it, informed by memories of the 1926 General Strike and analysis of the failures of nationalisation and more recent energy and employment policies.
International Film Critics’ award, Oberhausen 1975.
Jury Award for Documentary, Moscow.

viva Portugal

115 minutes – 16mm – 1975
The film, which traces the first year of the revolution in Portugal, was made by a group of French and West German journalists  – the English version was assembled by cinema action.

1976

First public project funding: £900 completion grant from BFI Production Board for The Miners’ Film.

Moves to 35a Winchester Road squat.

The Miners’ Film wins International Film Critics’ Award, Oberhausen.

First revenue funding, from GLAA.

First major public project funding: £20,000 from BFI Production Board for The Social Contract. This film is never completed, although shown unfinished at several events. Out of the project a different film develops: So That You Can Live.

Applied for ACTT membership.

1977

class struggle: film from the Clyde

16mm. B/W. 83 mins.
Documentary made with shipyard workers during the occupation and work-in at the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, July 1971 to October 1972. The yards were occupied and managed by a joint shop stewards’ committee after the government had announced the decision to liquidate the company. Scenes of organising, work, discussion, high-level negotiations, relations between the shop stewards and union officials, dealings with the press, all with a strong sense of being seen from ‘inside’. Music by 7:84 and The Laggan.

1978

In danger of eviction from squatted premises. Successful application to Camden Council for alternative premises.

Grants: £6,500 revenue funding from BFI direct grant; £38,080 capital funding from BFI Housing the Cinema Fund (HCF) (for renovating premises).

Grants: from BFI HCF•, from GLAA.

1980

Moves into part-rehabilitated premises, 25—27 Winchester Road.

Work on offices/cutting rooms completed.

1981

Opens cinema at 29 Winchester Road.

so that you can live

16mm. Col. 85 mins. Screened on Channel Four, 1982.
Documentary filmed over five years showing the impact on one family in South Wales of developments in the national and global political economy.

1982

Franchised as ACTT workshop.

So That You Can Live completed and opens Independent Film and Video strand on Channel Four.

Filming of Sister Suzi Cinema. Project not completed owing to rights

Capital funding: £12,178 from BFI; £22,500 from GLA.

1983

First Channel Four workshop funding: £85,482.

Other funding: £25, 700 revenue funding from GLA; E9,189 from GLC.

rocking the boat

16mm. B/W. 63 mins.
A reflection on the UCS occupation and subsequent political events centred round a group of workers/pensioners on a boat trip. The Miners’ Film 16mm. B/W. 65 mins.

1984

the miners’ film

The 1975 Miners’ Film with a new introduction.

1985

Channel Four provides £270,000 for Rocinante, £92,250 for workshop.

1986

Rocinante

Super 16mm. Col. 93 mins.
Feature drama with Ian Dury, John Hurt and Maureen Douglass.

We went in search of England and found a ‘garden of secrets’ full of tradition and myth, violence and cover-up. So, drawing on many types of narrative — traditions of the tale, the romance and the novel, and using different cinematic genres, we tried to tell a story about the common ordinary world and the world we have in common. We borrowed our title — Rocinante — from Cervantes and equipped with Don Quixote’s horse set out to tilt at reality. [CA 19861]

Awards from Berlin, Madrid and Troia film festivals.

1987

Rocinante opens at Renoir Cinema. Six-week run.

Cinema Action writes its constitution.

1988

Last Channel Four Workshop money.

Whitechapel (computer firm) goes bankrupt owing Cinema Action approximately £l0,000.

1989

Bearskin

An Urban Fairytale 35mm. Col. 95 mins.
Feature drama with Ian Dury. ‘On the run from a couple of hit-men, young Johnny Fortune escapes from a life in basement poolrooms to become a dancing bear with the strangest Punch and Judy man in the business…; [Film Four International]

1990

Last grant from public funds: £28,500 direct grant from BFI.

Ann and Eduardo leave for Portugal.

1993

Premises closed.