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An update and film trailer from the makers of The Spirit Level documentary…

Based around the best-selling book The Spirit Level, this new documentary will look at how the rising gap between rich and poor has impacted on our societies. How has it risen? Why does it impact on society? And could greater equality really benefit everyone, even the rich?

Filmmakers are talking to people around the world, in different societies, at different income levels. How far do they believe that society makes you who you are, and what do we all want for a better future?

In this blog, producer Katharine Round talks about making the documentary:

The last few months have been a profound journey for The Spirit Level, as, fresh from the first round of interview filming, we began to tackle the heart of the film – finding the stories through which we can begin to understand how structural economic and social shifts can impact on all our lives.  It’s been an exhaustive process of speaking to thousands of individuals all over the world and being privileged to hear about their lives, hopes and fears.

When the project began last year, my quest began to secure each of the key figures behind the research in the book – and I was astounded as the responses came back. “yes I would be pleased to take part”, “this is important”, and so on. I started voraciously reading everything each of my interviewees had ever written.

Trailer for The Spirit Level:

The Spirit Level - Two Minute Trailer from Literally Films on Vimeo.

There were works by Michael Marmot on health, James Gilligan on violence, economist Ha-Joon Chang, Noam Chomsky, Amartya Sen. The list is endless. And of course, I read Chris Snowdon (The Spirit Level Delusion) and Peter Saunders, who take a completely different view. My journey into what producer Christopher Hird had termed “the intellectual detective story” was truly under way.

Armed with questions (and criticisms) I set out to the many wide and varied locations to film interviews with these thinkers, accompanied by the able director of photography Woody James.

I started on the next phase of the journey buoyed from the experience. It’s been months of intense preparation, taking me the length and breadth of the UK, from conversations with young men on the outskirts of society in Manchester, to activists fighting for change in Glasgow, and community leaders in the North east and elsewhere who tell of how economic shift has ripped the heart out of communities, and the people left fighting for a decent standard of living

I’ve spoken to people demonised by the media: the “riot boys”, the low-waged, and the unemployed. I’ve found thoughtfulness and compassion where we have been told there is laziness and fecklessness. And it’s not just in the UK – my evenings have been spent speaking to those all over the world, from call centre workers to inmates in a California prison and young women preparing for motherhood.

Many of you supported the campaign last year and helped us launch with a bang, others I’ve met along the way and have offered support with research, on social media and through organisations. It’s thanks to our collective work together that we’ve got this far. When we launched we managed to make a huge noise online, and raised enough money to finance these first important shoots.

The trailer on this page is a short clip of just some of the interviews we’ve managed to secure so far. You can help us by simply taking time to share this clip with your friends, colleagues and online networks today. The finished film is available to pre-buy as a download, and if just 2,000 people buy it in advance, we can complete the UK leg of the film. The more people see it, the more likely we are to reach those who can help us. Our community is bigger now than ever before, which gives us a great opportunity to get the message out – so please share far and wide!

Our aim is to be able to get back on the road and filming as soon as we can, so we can make our planned release date of summer 2014. Thanks again for being part of the journey to bring The Spirit Level to the screen – we’re excited about what lies ahead and look forward to sharing more with you.


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