The Real Social Network (2012, UK, 76 minutes)
directed by Ludovica Fales, Srdjan Keca and Isis Thompson
a Kitchen Sink Collective film; produced by Quark Films
editor: Adelina Bichis; original music: Jon Wygens, Alcyona Mick;
music: Stay+; animation: Peque Varela; sound editor: Jay Price
Protest has changed. A new radicalism, fuelled by modern technology, has hit the streets.
At the end of 2010, following the British government’s intention to raise tuition fees and make the country’s higher education the most expensive in the world, a broad student protest movement arose. A moment before the “Arab Spring” and protests for social justice around the globe, the British students already deployed methods that would characterize the new wave of protest: organizing in real time through social media, “occupying” the university; ultimately extending their scope to include wider social issues. The three directors used several cameras to observe the different centers of the protest and participants. Despite the protesters' discernible lack of experience, the new passion they found in their struggle suggests that their protest has just begun.
The Real Social Network captures the passion, the anger and the technology that has forever changed the game between those in power and us.
In the winter of 2010, the coalition government in the UK announced sweeping changes to university tuition fees that set higher education in Britain to be the most expensive in Europe.
Students voiced their discontent in widespread protests that brought news footage into our homes reminiscent of the 70s and 80s; from horses charging marchers, to the windows of Conservative Party office being kicked in. However, one occupation's success at holding their University and generating amazing amounts of support suggested that something different was happening here.
We have been with a group of University College London students with a passion for change since day one. We have seen them come together and organize themselves using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to make their belief in the fundamental right to an affordable education heard across the country and around the world. Their occupation, a classic 60s sit-in with a Twitter-feed twist, has seen the beginning of the strongest student movement in 40 years.
From their first occupation right through to the huge protests across London on 26th March 2011, we have followed this amazing group of people as they turned into experienced activists, mobilised not only other students but also workers, created technology that will change the face of protest - and became friends. We believe we have a story that both captures a moment in time and will have great resonance for the future.
- Ludovica Fales, Srdjan Keca & Isis Thompson