A new feature length documentary about Dennis Skinner has just been completed, and very good it looks too.
Shot over the course of 2015/16, Nature of The Beast traces Dennis Skinner’s rise to a political icon, but also reveals the real man behind the Beast of Bolsover.
However, as can be imagined, a mainstream film about such a forthright anti-establishment figure as Dennis Skinner means mainstream funding networks have not exactly been falling over themselves to fund the project.
The main photography has already been completed, but funding is still needed to raise further funds for archive material, music, post-production and film festival entry fees. If the funding is found, the film is due to be released next year.
Don’t let this film be silenced by an establishment scared stiff of Dennis and determined to silence his message.
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Dennis Skinner: Nature of The Beast
Nature of The Beast is the result of two years hard work by a small group of committed independent filmmakers in Liverpool.
Director Daniel Draper, already a supporter of socialist politician Dennis Skinner, had the idea for the documentary after interviewing Dennis for a previous project. With Dennis on board, the small team was assembled including his producing partner and editor Christie Allanson, and friend and DOP Allan Melia. Filming began around the country, funded out of their own pockets and donations from the public.
Being independent and raising the money in this fashion does have its benefits – we were able to construct our narrative and tell Dennis’s story in the way we wanted. This artistic freedom has enabled us to create a film with complete freedom, without worrying about mainstream concerns, which may have held our narrative back if we were backed by a corporation or broadcaster.
The film follows Dennis from early years to modern day – his entry into politics, his high and low points, his rebellions against the party, whilst naturally highlighting the wit and passion that has earned him the nickname ‘The Beast of Bolsover’. Woven in to this narrative are more personal moments; Dennis’s schoolboy cross-country days, his love of musicals and the outdoors, his relationship with his family. Interviews with his four remaining brothers and some of his Bolsover constituents pepper the film and help reveal the unseen side of the man.
Dennis Skinner is often daubed as a “left-wing firebrand” and that is his attraction for many people. His unending passion and commitment to fight for the working class, to fight for the miners, to fight for the under-privileged is something to be respected. But there is more to this left-winger than the media portrays. Unwelcome on live TV, Dennis Skinner doesn’t mince his words, and this documentary is a personal portrait of one of the country’s most
Having finished principle photography, the team now need to raise the funds to pay for archive footage, images, and post-production sound. A Kickstarter campaign is being launched at the end of September and we are hoping to raise the £17,500 needed to complete the film. After two years of graft on a shoestring budget, and crew working for free, the money is needed now to pay for necessary post-production costs and to complete and release the film.
More information can be found at www.dennisskinnerfilm.co.uk, by searching for the film on Facebook, or by following @DSkinnerFilm on Twitter.