Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Bank Holiday Monday saw me making a trip down to Cheltenham - to the racecourse, in fact - for the Greenbelt Festival, where I'd been asked to give a talk after a screening of Our Generation. It was one of the most important films we screened in Origins - a documentary about the Howard Intervention in the Northern Territory, which was Critics' Choice in Time Out, and which fires up audiences, turning them into instant activists!
I was a bit dubious about Greenbelt, given that it is vast, open air, summery and Christian - a combination which suggested I was in for a lot of happy-clappy evangelical bigotry. In fact, my prejudice could not have been further from the truth. The festival combines an intelligent and broad-minded approach to faith with a real concern for social, economic and political justice (Palestine featuring particularly strongly around the various tents), and a very positive ecological agenda. The talk after the film lasted for more than an hour, with an audience who were deeply concerned and committed to the ideas we were dealing with. It was only after the formal end of the debate that I was asked, very politely, whether I was a Christian myself. I suspect the questioner actually wanted to know if I had ideas about involving churches etc. - he certainly wasn't out to save my soul!
The political film programme at Greenbelt is organised by Tipping Point, run by a fascinating and energetic woman called Deborah Burton. I suspect there is going to be an ongoing partnership here: Tipping Point do monthly screenings of politically conscious films with talks at the Lexi. That's something we would definitely support....