Exodus Library Launch

Exodus: The Definitive Collection

Spectacle is excited to launch a new video library on Vimeo on Demand containing material produced on and with the Exodus collective. This includes both Spectacle produced TV documentaries: Exodus: Movement of Jah People and Exodus From Babylon along with extras and bonus material including an anti crack song and music video made by members of the collective with Spectacle and an appearance on Swiss youth culture TV show ZEBRA.

Trailer for the Exodus Library

We will continue to add matierial from the archive and organise online screening events.

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What was Exodus?

The Luton based Exodus Collective came into existence in 1992 as part of the growing DIY culture which arose in response to unemployment, poverty and frustration amongst young people. They organised free ‘rave’ parties, renovated derelict homes, set up a community farm and a community centre. Their philosophy had a strong spiritual strand, appealing to notions of community and natural justice in its struggle for survival and renewal. Their utopian project, whilst always peaceful, presented a challenge to the status quo and was met with powerful opposition.

Exodus offered working, viable solutions to many of society’s stated ills, poverty, crime, drugs, unemployment and the break down of community.

Exodus was a unique urban phenomenon which did not simply confront but intelligently challenged societal assumptions and values. Exodus blended a volatile mixture of rastafarianism, new-age punk and street smart politics. “We are not drop outs but force outs.”


Exodus, Movement of Jah People investigates the group’s quest to regenerate their disaffected community by squatting and renovating decayed buildings. Their regular raves brought ex-army, ex-estate agents, ex-shop assistants, and ex-criminals together as Exodus, a dance collective with a new direction, an attempt to offer viable solutions to many of society’s stated ills such as poverty, crime, drugs, unemployment and the break down of community.

Broadcast on Channel 4 as part of the Renegade TV series.


“This remarkable film is an antidote to the dereliction and paranoia on Britain’s streets. Squatting and renovating decayed buildings, Exodus pursue a mutually agreed quest to regenerate their disaffected community… For anyone interested in a street relevant discussion on drugs, criminality, spirituality and community, this film is a must see.” – Squall Magazine 1995


Exodus from Babylon investigates the intricate web of opposition to the Exodus group, from aggressive policing to local government obstruction. It reveals the shift in policing from reactive peace keeping to proactive intervention, involving a series of special operations by Bedfordshire Police.

The programme looks in detail at a number of police actions against Exodus, including the prosecution and acquittal of collective member, Paul Taylor, for possession of Ecstasy and for murder. It asks why the strategy of getting tough with Exodus emerged and identifies a number of interlocking interests at play.

Exodus from Babylon contains original music by the Exodus Collective and some great reggae tunes.

Broadcast on Channel 4 as part of the Renegade TV series.

Please contact Spectacle directly if you are interested in screening any of the films in this collection publicly: distribution@spectacle.co.uk

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Refugee Week at Spectacle

This week is Refugee Week, a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Founded in 1998, Refugee week is held every year around World Refugee Day, which is on the 20th of June.

Across the country hundreds of organisations host programmes of arts, cultural, sports and educational events. At Spectacle we have been working with refugees in a variety of countries for many years, and this week we invite you to watch our films about refugees. 

Micronomics Refugee Youth Interviews

The Micronomics Project investigated an understanding of small scale self-organised (micro-)initiatives and whether the economy has room for them. The film considers their potential to challenge the dominant definition of ‘the economy’ and implication, when the value created and exchanged is of social nature

Interviews and footage from Spectacle’s Micronomics Project is now available through our Archive.

Quand le Papier Arrive 

Make yourself comfortable. Give yourself a few minutes to listen to what these people would like to tell us. This film is a succession of portraits of ‘Paperless’ people.

Filmed in Brussels and released in 2007.

The ‘Paperless’, the ex-‘Paperless’  and also their Belgian loved-ones answer the main question- “When the papers arrive, what would change in your lives? ” All of them reveal their hopes, wishes and plans. What would change in relation to the world or their relationships with others? What impact would that have on the image that these people have made for themselves and our society? Some of them original, some moving, their answers call out to us.

The Truth Lies In Rostock

In August 1992 Lichtenhagen estate, Rostock, in the former East Germany Police withdrew as fascists petrol bombed a refugee centre and the home of Vietnamese guest workers while 3000 spectators stood by and clapped. Using material filmed from inside the attacked houses and interviews with anti-fascists, the Vietnamese guest workers, police, bureaucrats, neo-nazis and residents, a story of political collusion and fear unfolds.

Refugee Week’s vision is for refugees and asylum seekers to be able to live safely within inclusive and resilient communities, where they can continue to make a valuable contribution.

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Launch of Despite TV Library

Video Libraries

For the first time Spectacle is making the entire Despite TV magazine series available. This release is the first of several Video Libraries we will be putting out on Vimeo On Demand over the coming months. These libraries will use the Vimeo’s series format to curate selections from Spectacle’s back catalogue, grouping together finished films with previously unreleased archive material. We will be releasing Video Libraries on Murray Bookchin, the Exodus collective and Battersea to name a few.

Despite TV

Despite TV was an video group founded in 1982. The group operated out of the Tower Hamlets Arts Project on Whitechapel Road East London and produced video magazines that explored local issues, showcased local talent and promoted community organisations. Despite TV covered issues that have shaped the political, social and topographical landscape of London in profound ways.  Despite TV documented and commented upon events such as: the dissolution of the Greater London Authority (GLC), the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) taking over the old docks to turn them into an annex of the City, and the transformation of Brick Lane from a National Front stronghold to the Bengali street we know today.

The films are not all slick productions but they make up for this with creativity and anarchic energy. Despite TV’s magazine shows were made at a time when video was far from ubiquitous and there is a feeling of excitement, a sense of discovery and possibility that underpins all the films. A typical episode moves from a report on a nurses strike to a situationist dissection of a Big Mac to a local band performing and then on to a short film about a toucan reminiscent of Chris Markers work.

The episodes in this series give insight into political events large and small, from enormous development projects to campaigns for more cycle paths to protests against Page 3. The breadth of events covered gives the series the feeling of a time capsule, giving insight into the political and cultural mood of England in the 1980’s and early ’90s.

Rent the complete series HERE

The story of Shaker Aamer and Guantanamo

The prolonged campaign for the release of Battersea resident Shaker Aamer, a Guantanamo Bay military prison inmate, resulted in success. It is now five years to the day since he was released from prison after serving 13 years without charge or trial. We have followed the case of Shaker Aamer in detail since the completion of Outside The Law: Stories from Guantanamo in 2009 up to his arrival at Biggin Hill airport on 31st October 2015. Here are all our Guantanamo campaign videos which chronicle the series of events surrounding this story of injustice.

Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

Documentary telling the story of Guantánamo, extraordinary rendition and secret prisons, focusing on the stories of three prisoners, Shaker Aamer, Binyam Mohamed and Omar Deghayes.

It examines how the Bush administration turned its back on domestic and international laws, rounding up prisoners in Afghanistan and Pakistan without adequate screening (and often for large bounty payments), and why some of these men may have been in Afghanistan or Pakistan for reasons unconnected with militancy or terrorism; for example as missionaries or humanitarian aid workers. Focusing on the stories of three particular prisoners — Shaker Aamer (still detained. November 2009), Binyam Mohamed (released, February 2009) and Omar Deghayes (released, December 2007).

The documentary provides a powerful rebuke to those who believe that Guantánamo holds “the worst of the worst” and that the Bush administration was justified in responding to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 by holding men neither as prisoners of war, protected by the Geneva Conventions, nor as criminal suspects with habeas corpus rights, but as “illegal enemy combatants” with no rights whatsoever.

The film contains interviews with former prisoners (Moazzam Begg and, in his first major interview, Omar Deghayes) lawyers for the prisoners (Clive Stafford Smith in the UK and Tom Wilner in the US), and journalist and author Andy Worthington, and also includes appearances from Guantánamo’s former Muslim chaplain James Yee, a London-based Imam, and the British human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce.

“Outside the Law is a powerful film that has helped ensure that Guantánamo and the men unlawfully held there have not been forgotten” – Kate Allen , director Amnesty International UK

February 2012 – Tuesday 14th marked 10th anniversary of Shaker’s detention, which was marked in England by a series of protests, and in Guantanamo by a hunger strike.

Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice

Also available in Spanish here

Spectacle has made this short film about Shaker Aamer to mark the 10th anniversary of his incarceration.

Shaker Aamer was one of the 171 men held in detention in Guantanamo Bay. Despite never having had a trial, having been approved for release twice, and a growing number of people from all walks of life campaigning for him, Shaker was remained in detention (released from prison on 30th October 2015). His physical and mental health deterioration is a prevalent concern. During the 10 years that Shaker Aamer has been incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, he’s has never been charged, and he has never denied his innocence. He has continuously lobbied for the welfare of other Guantanamo inmates from within the system. Many believe that this, and his potential as a witness to U.S. human rights abuses, are the reasons he still remains captive.

Through conversations with activists and former detainees; the film paints a picture of who Shaker Aamer is, the injustices he has endured and what his life has involved for the last decade. From Bagram and Guanatanamo Bay prisons, to the unknown dark prisons throughout the world, Shaker Aamer’s story illustrates the lengths to which the U.S. and U.K. governments will go to justify their despicable War on Terror.

Shaker Aamer, time is running out.

The Shaker Aamer Campaign held a protest vigil for Shaker Aamer on Wednesday April 9th 2014 in Parliament Square to bring him home.

Not another day in Guantánamo

London Guantanamo Campaign Demonstration in Trafalgar square on May 23rd 2014. Interview with Aisha Maniar, London Guantanamo Campaigner and organizer of the event, and Noel Hammel, Chair of Kingston Peace Council.

Eleven years in Guantanamo

This video is an interview with the lawyer Clive Stafford Smith about Shaker Aamer.

Shaker Aamer finally released from Guantanamo

Video interview on the day of his release with Shaker’s lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, founder/director of justice charity Reprieve at Biggin Hill airport.

Order Spectacle’s DVDs  Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice (New Version) and Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

Click Guantánamo for more blogs
Or visit our Guantánamo project and Shaker Aamer project pages for more information and videos.

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El documental “The truth lies in Rostock” también doblado al castellano.

Ubicado en la antigua República Democrática Alemana RDA, en el distrito de Lichtenhagen, “The truth lies in Rostock” narra los episodios acontecidos entre el 24 y el 25 de agosto de 1992, cuando un grupo de extrema derecha atacó la residencia de un grupo de trabajadores vietnamitas.

Este pogromo tan significativo en la historia del neofascismo de posguerra pasó a la posteridad, no tanto por la agresividad y la gratuidad de la violencia infligida por los manifestantes, si no por la pasividad y la complicidad de sus vecinos. La mayoría de éstos no sólo se hicieron partícipes de ello  no interviniendo sino que además alentaron y animaron a los neonazis a llevar a cabo tales actos vandálicos, proporcionándoles el valor necesario con el cual acabaron prendiéndole fuego al edificio.

El centro de acogida de Mecklemburgo-Pomerania Occidental (Número 18 de la calle Mecklenburg), conocido como ZAst, por sus siglas originales (Zentrale Aufnahmestelle fur Asylbewerber fur) o Sonnenblumenhaus (La casa de los girasoles) como era conocida por los dibujos de su fachada fue la diana de su ira. Fundado en 1991, era el mayor centro al noroeste de Alemania donde se registraban las peticiones de asilo, hasta que éstas pasaban a ser tramitadas por el Estado en un desesperadamente lento proceso burocrático.

El primer claro aviso de un ataque fascista en Lichtenhagen se produjo cuatro días antes, el 21 de agosto, a través de una llamada anónima al Ostsee Zeitung, un periódico local. Hubo advertencias anónimas de que si el fin de semana no se “limpiaba” el refugio ellos se encargarían de hacerlo. Sin embargo nadie dio la voz de alarma ni en la redacción ni en el ayuntamiento, alegando que el mensaje no era lo suficientemente concreto como para crear un dispositivo de alerta.

De todas maneras, una vez empezaron los altercados, y ante las innegables evidencias de que la tensión iba a estallar de la peor manera, El Sonnenblumenhaus fue desalojado. Lejos de reprimir sus quejas, los manifestantes volcaron su rabia sobre el edificio contiguo, hogar de 115 vietnamitas. Afortunadamente, y tal y como puede verse en el documental, no hubo que lamentar la muerte de ninguno de ellos, aunque esto no fuera precisamente por la eficiencia del cuerpo policial, cuyo papel se ha considerado a posteriori escaso y deficiente.

“The truth lies in Rostock” alterna el desarrollo de los hechos aquellos días con el testimonio de vecinos, manifestantes (fascistas y antifascistas) y otros tantos colectivos que vivieron en sus carnes la crispación acontecida. En un intento por investigar los hechos y elaborar un análisis de los mismos, Spectacle entrevista a diferentes cargos públicos cuyo papel fue crucial en la toma de decisiones aquellos días. Sin embargo, lejos de entonar el mea culpa, encontramos una serie de acusaciones cruzadas sobre si la gestión del centro recaía sobre unos u otros, así como si éste era competencia del ayuntamiento regional o no, en un lamentable ejercicio de depuración de responsabilidades.

El documental cuenta con la participación de Herr Magdanz, (concejal de asuntos internos del ayuntamiento de Rostock), Peter Magdanz, (Concejal de asuntos internos del Ayto. de Rostock), Siegfried Kordus, (jefe de policía de Rostock hasta el 25 de agosto de 1992), Klaus Kilimann, (alcalde de Rostock), Herr Zoellick, (Concejal de Juventud, Salud y Deportes y sustituto de Klaus Kilimann), Herr Kordus, Jefe de la Policía de Rostock, que estaba al cargo temporalmente, sólo hasta que el nuevo Jefe de la Policía tomara su puesto el día después de los disturbios, Herr Deckert, (asistente del Jefe de Policía. Rostock), y  Lothar Kupfer, (Ministro del Interior de Mecklenburg Vorpommer).

Puede obtener más información en castellano sobre el documental en el catálogo de la página web de Spectacle, donde podrá también encontrar el guión traducido para descargar. Así mismo puede encargar una copia física en castellano o ver el documental en nuestra cuenta de Vimeo en inglés.

Para más información relacionado con el caso de Rostock, puede consultar nuestro blog, donde encontrará diferentes artículos en inglés. 

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Memories of Battersea – Screening Event

We are pleased to announce that after a few months of filming and collecting stories from Battersea residents, we are ready to screen our project to the public!

Memories of Battersea is a video oral history project run by Spectacle and part funded by the Wandsworth Grant Fund. The project gave young adults from Battersea the opportunity to be trained in film-making while producing short films about their neighbourhood, collecting memories from elder Battersea residents, bridging intergenerational gaps and engaging with the history of their borough.

The screening will take place on Monday, 15th October at
Senior Citizen Club
234 Carey Gardens
London SW8 4HW.

  • 4.30pm – 5.30pm – walking tour of the Carey Gardens Estate with Mark Saunders – filmmaker, Brian Barnes – mural artist and Nick Wood – architect
  • 5.30pm – 7.30pm – screening and discussion with contributors and filmmakers

You can find trailers to “Memories of Battersea” in our previous posts or on Spectacle’s Youtube channel: bit.ly/MBATTtrailers

More info about the event can be also found here

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