Terrorist Grandmothers” take to the screens in documentary web series”

Disarming Grandmothers, a 31 part web series has just been released by independent documentary filmmaker, Claire Pope.  For nearly 6 years Claire has been following the lives of veteran peace campaigners Helen John and Sylvia Boyes, who found themselves on trial for terrorism when they trespassed into a U.S Spy Base in Yorkshire.  Concerned about the Government’s frequent attempts to clamp down on legitimate protest, the Hertfordshire based filmmaker juggled various day jobs to embark on a personal journey, uncovering the bitter irony of a law which protects spying on a global scale yet makes terrorists out of peaceful protesters.

“You cannot leave a bad law unbroken;  

you have to break it until it is taken away” Helen

Disarming Grandmothers shines a light on the modern day peace movement through the eyes of two extraordinary women, who with their humour, spirit and eccentricity enchant you into their world.  Helen, a passionate Feminist, Atheist and one of the founders of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.  She has strong and often controversial views; believing in the importance of direct action to raise publicity.  Sylvia on the other hand is a Quaker who shies away from media attention and chooses to campaign on a multitude of levels, from handing out leaflets and petitions to Helen’s preferred method of choice, direct action.  Despite their personal differences, impending visits from the bailiffs for non payment of fines, arrests and jail time, the women remain defiant in their attempts to work together to bring about a more peaceful world.  There are not many grandmothers who awake at 4a.m to scout out a radar station, board US military planes and who lay down in front of nuclear truck convoys; here are two of them. 

“In times such as these, perhaps the prisons ought to be full of dissenters.” Sylvia

Disarming Grandmothers was inspired by an article about Helen and Sylvia’s ‘serious organised crime’ in The Independent.  Believing this was a story she had to tell, Claire quickly became a ‘one woman band’ using an observational style of filmmaking to capture the women’s complex lives.  Steven Keevil, a Media College Lecturer and friend from University, worked with Claire to help transform 125 hours of rushes into 31 x 3 minute bite sized episodes.  Excited by the potential of the Internet to provide opportunities for self broadcast and to attract global audiences, the pair hopes to encourage discussion, debate and to raise awareness of the peace movement.  Disarming Grandmothers launched with an opening trilogy on 12th April and with new episodes being released every Thursday over a 6 month period, there are ample opportunities for people to see a slice of protest life that they might otherwise have never known existed. 

“Here were two people putting their freedom on the line to bring about positive change, I couldn’t ignore that”.  Claire

Contact:           Claire Pope

Mob:                07793 941222

Email:              [email protected]

Website:          www.disarminggrandmothers.com

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