TVF to bring doc on non-violent revolt to Mipcom

Michael Rosser, Broadcast, 11 August 2011

A crowd-funded film about the world’s leading expert on non-violent revolution has been picked up for distribution by TVF International.

How To Start A Revolution profiles the work of Gene Sharp, a US academic and Nobel Peace Prize nominee whose writings have inspired non-violent protests around the world. The feature-length doc has been independently produced by Richard Shaw, who is also head of development at Lion Television. It was directed by Ruaridh Arrow, a former Sky News producer who has also worked on Channel 4’s Dispatches programmes.

While filming in Cairo, Arrow reported for the BBC from Tahrir Square on the Egyptian revolution. Director of photography is Philip Bloom, a former cameraman for Sky News who has shot documentaries for Channel 4, Discovery and Sky 1.

The film features testimony from key players in the Serbian revolution of 2000, as well as those involved in the Iranian uprising in 2009, building to the Egyptian revolution on the streets of Cairo.

Sharp’s book, From Dictatorship To Democracy, has been translated into more than 30 languages over the past two decades and the filmmakers claim his methods were used in democratic struggles in the Balkans, Georgia, the Ukraine, Indonesia, Burma and Iran. The film is the biggest British project on the US-based crowd-funding website Kickstarter, which raised nearly £37,000 in 30 days.

Arrow said: “We were stunned by the success of our Kickstarter campaign, which demonstrated an international demand for the story of a man who will one day be recognised as one of the greatest thinkers of our time.”

He added: “TVF so clearly understands the international political importance of this film - that non-violent people power can be a powerful agent of change.”

Leila Monks, director of TVF International, said the documentary would be launched to the international market at Mipcom in Cannes this October.