Under threat, street trees aren’t silent. Through Blackbird North Films, the people find their voice.

Update posted by Graeme Benson On Mar 14, 2018

Funding is required to finance a documentary concerning environmental issues, which has implications for people around the world, facing a threat to their local environment.

The documentary features a movement to prevent the mass felling of mature street trees in the city of Sheffield, U.K, the ‘Save the Trees campaign.’ And funding is required to raise financial support primarily for camera equipment required to do the job proficiently and transportation costs to various locations and in short to enable the film to see the light of day.

Through international film festivals, the documentary highlights the extraordinary situation whereby a local council has effectively, declared war on its own citizens to enforce mass tree felling. And Sheffield city council has all the tanks, ships, submarines and aircraft at its disposal to conduct this war: its alliance with AMEY Plc, a multinational company with massive financial resources, using security guards, and the police to evict tree protestors from tree felling sites, the judiciary to enforce laws supporting felling, and an infinitesimal pot of tax payers’ money to force through the tree replacement programme to pay for it all, despite claims of being ‘cash strapped.’

It gets worse. When a champion, or champions were sought to tip the scales back again to support the tree campaigners, none were and remain forthcoming. I personally wrote to major environmental organizations like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, frankly begged them, to paraphrase Trump, to ‘come see what the hell was going on.’

In short, both organizations preferred to remain 'isolationist.'

Major celebrities with environmental credentials were contacted, from Sir David Attenborough downwards, including actress, Dame Judi Dench, a renowned ‘tree lover’. And again, they “didn’t want to get involved.”

Ironically, it is possible that they all probably conceived it was: ‘A Little Local Difficulty.’ (Film title)

A theme emerges: ‘Ourselves alone.’ The film celebrates the inspiring stories of ordinary people fighting a battle against insuperable odds, without help, becoming extraordinary, standing up to say NO to dictatorship from their own local government when the street trees in their neighbourhood have been threatened with the chop.

Tree campaigners like Dave Dillner, 71, who started S.T.A.G (Sheffield Tree Action Groups) and coordinated all the local tree groups to form an organized resistance against the local council. Despite having a major heart attack and being brought back from the dead, Dave patrols at ‘stupid o clock’ in the morning to watch for tree felling crews in order to warn protestors ‘where and when.’ Campaigner Calvin Payne is just one of many arrested by the police for peaceful protest and was nearly imprisoned. Councillor Alison Teal, (Green Party) has sacrificed a personal life to be on the front line of protests, been arrested, faced vilification by Labour councillors in council, and the list goes on. It is not uncommon news today to hear that a 74-year-old pensioner has also been arrested for trying to prevent a tree felling.

The themes are universal: the citizen against the multinational, against the powerful from local government upwards, forced into sacrifices for the benefit of their environment and future generations. Furthermore, the film also points to the underlying political issues; depletion of local democracy as a result of councils signing long PFI (Private Finance Initiatives) and examines what is democracy when people are ignored.

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Anonymous

Backed with £20.00 On Apr 18, 2018

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All the best with this important film Graeme.

Fran Grace

Backed with £20.00 On Apr 03, 2018

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Anonymous

Backed On Apr 03, 2018 Amount Hidden

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Anonymous

Backed with £10.00 On Mar 27, 2018

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Tracy Barron

Backed with £10.00 On Mar 21, 2018

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Anonymous

Backed with £30.00 On Mar 19, 2018

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To all backers, you are real stars and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support in helping to produce this film. With very best wishes. Graeme Benson (Dir: Blackbird North Films)

Graeme Benson

Posted On Mar 19, 2018

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Anonymous

Backed On Mar 19, 2018 Amount Hidden

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Hi Graeme, you're doing a great job, keep at it, see you soon!

Judoire

Backed with £50.00 On Mar 18, 2018

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Guest

Backed with £10.00 On Mar 18, 2018

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Graeme Benson

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I am the director of Blackbird North Films, a film production company, based in sheffield, U.K.

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