The Facts


  • Four years in the making (2008-2012)
  • Over 1000 voluntary participants
  • 88,440 hours (more than 10 years) freely invested by participants
  • More than 260 professionally led workshops in all aspects of film development, support and production
  • 11 formal, financially supported, trainee placements for Fife young people
  • Youngest participant Mikayla Wilkinson: 2 weeks old, and the eldest, Nan Phillips was 93 years old


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What is a Community Film?


  • Defined by the collective engagement of all participants.
  • Captures the passion of the people involved or represented.
  • Creates something worthy of its participants’ efforts.
  • Produced by volunteers, social actors, community participants and their supporters
  • A way of building the social capital of the community.
  • Happy to employ the skills of community agents and artists in a supportive and empowering environment.


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Behind the Scenes




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Once Upon a Time in Fife



Community Film Continued



  • Broadly educational: building skills and confidence for individuals and the group.
  • Furnishes both an end and a beginning of a community enquiry process
  • Critical, creative, reflective, respectful, diverse
  • Sensitive to ethical, ethnographic and postcolonial issues.
  • Negotiates aspects of its methodology/approach/plan of action at the outset and reconsiders it when appropriate
  • Economical with resources and sustainable
  • A media process or product that contributes to social change, empowerment and social justice.


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  • A personal narrative of public value
  • A group narrative with multiple visions and voices
  • A form of advocacy for social causes
  • An opportunity for reflection and dialogue with other communities
  • Committed to finding new ways of engagement
  • Collaborative and improvisatory
  • Embraces spontaneity and improvisation in order to transcend traditional practices and approaches


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  • An act of faith and a form of communion with the other
  • Prepared to take risks and challenge traditions or expectations within and outside the community
  • Works alongside other modes of activism and forms of communication
  • A dialogue between creativity and critical analysis
  • Designed to showcase democratic and inclusive processes and their outcomes
  • Equipped to provide a body of evidence that counts as research


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A UNIQUE PROCESS – A FILM FOR THE AGE OF OCCUPY


A ground breaking work that paves the way for extraordinary collaborative film-making,
casting people in the retelling of their own stories.In The Happy Lands, the people of Fife capture the true drama the 1926 General Strike. A definitive
moment in national history, the film tells the real personal stories of their forebears: the struggles,
the hardship, and ultimately the triumph of the indomitable human spirit. In a unique process honed over decades of creating epic artworks with real people, director Robert
Rae embedded the entire movie making infrastructure in the heart of the sweeping landscapes of Fife, harnessing the experiences, family histories and memories of those involved.
From the stars of the film to the researchers, camera operators and costume designers, over 1000 Fife residents, from two weeks old to 93 years old, were responsible for the creation The Happy Lands. The result is an outstanding model of uncompromising artistic quality married with exemplary
community practice, offering the industry a genuine alternative methodology for film-making.
‘I have changed as a person… It has totally made me regain my faith in humanity.’ Kevin Clarke
(played Michael Brogan)

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RELEVANCE TODAY


A moving, brutal account of a nation on the brink of revolution, Robert Rae’s startling account of the impact of the 1926 General Strike offers irresistible parallels with a world in economic crisis in 2012.
March 1926: the Samuel Commission recommends a 13.5% reduction in wages, removal of government subsidy, and longer working hours for miners – and blames the debt.
October 2012: George Osborne announces £10 billion welfare cuts, and plans to allow companies to waive employee rights in exchange for shares – and blames the debt.
Set at a time when a Conservative-Liberal pact was slashing wages and the rights of the poorest in
society, The Happy Lands may be viewed as a damning indictment of Cameron’s Government- and a prescient warning of what could lie ahead.
With Fife badly hit by the recession and unemployment at a twelve year high, The Happy Lands offers tangible evidence of the real impact film can have in transforming lives, investing in local jobs, business and education, creating a legacy that will last a lifetime.

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