Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle (2017), a powerful new feature documentary directed by Paul Sng (Sleaford Mods – Invisible Britain) and narrated by Maxine Peake (The Falling, The Theory of Everything) is released in cinemas on 16th June with special Q&A discussions throughout the UK. It explores the catastrophic political failures over the years that have led to the current chronic shortage of social housing in Britain, making it urgent topical viewing and contributing to the ongoing debates about the housing sector. The film receives its world premiere on 8th June at this year’s East End Film Festival with a special preview Q&A screening at Central Picturehouse on 15th June.
With the prospect of significant changes in council housing policy resulting from the passing of the Housing and Planning Act in 2016, Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle highlights the plight of long-term tenants who are fighting not just to keep their homes but also to preserve their tight-knit communities from the eroding effects of gentrification and social cleansing. Following the dramatic impact of Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake, the film raises crucially important issues about how to tackle the acute problem of providing homes for the 1.4 million people on council housing waiting lists and an estimated quarter of a million homeless people in Britain.
The documentary recounts the neglect, demolition and subsequent regeneration of a number of council estates in London – including the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark and Balfron Tower in Tower Hamlets – as well as in Glasgow and Nottingham that reflect wider national trends across the UK, examining the human cost of the housing crisis. Director Paul Sng received unprecedented access to residents, politicians and experts in the housing industry and media. There are interviews with Caroline Lucas, Danny Dorling, Lisa McKenzie, Nicola Sturgeon, Peter Hitchens and leading figures from the housing industry.
The resulting investigations reveal how the state is working with the private sector to demolish estates to build on the land they stand on, making properties that are unaffordable to the majority of people in the UK.
The emotional heart of the film remains the residents themselves determined to preserve their communities, people who know the difference between a house and a home, and who believe that housing is a human right, not an expensive luxury.
Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle raises important issues of concern for the future of anyone living in cities in Britain and across the world. Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle is produced by Velvet Joy Productions.
There is a special screening and Q&A featuring director Paul Sng and campaigners at Central Picturehouse on 15th June
The film is screening at selected cinemas nationwide from 16th June. Many of the screenings are accompanied by a panel of experts discussing man of the issues raised in the film.
The special Q&A screenings to date include:
16 June – Broadway, Nottingham
17 June – Hebden Bridge, Picturehouse
18 June – Hyde Park Picturehouse, Leeds
22 June – Mockingbird, Birmingham
23 June – Genesis Cinema, London
24 June – GFT, Glasgow
26 June – Arthouse, Crouch End
28 June – Phoenix Cinema, Leicester
29 June – Vue, Hull (part of the Hull Film Festival)
30 June – Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle
5 & 6 July – Dartington Barn, Devon
6 July – Watershed, Bristol
8 July – Chapter, Cardiff , hosted by actor Michael Sheen
10 July – Light House, Wolverhampton
22 Aug – HOME, Manchester