From the TUC

The Spirit Level: Using film for a fairer society

28 May 2012, By

Read The Spirit Level: why equality is better for everyone? Want to back the film? This is your chance. Support a documentary which will help to change the world.  We all know that it is social movements that change the world, but films can be a big help in getting politicians to pay attention and recruiting people to the cause That’s our ambition.

The Spirit Level addresses the defining issue of our age, the costs of inequality. The idea that a growing gap between rich and poor is socially corrosive is something many people find intuitive, but what Wilkinson and Pickett present is compelling evidence of the link. Over the last few years, films like an Inconvenient Truth and the End of the Line have successfully raised public awareness of the impact of climate change and over-fishing, as well as making an impact on government and corporate policy.

The End of the Line persuaded the UK government to commit to list blue fin tuna as an endangered species and three leading British retailers changed their fish sourcing policy within weeks. The Spirit Level documentary’s Executive Producer was the man behind the End of the Line – and our aim is no less ambitious. We want to make a film that is talked and written about, that gets into cinemas and on our televisions, and builds a social movement.

Our purpose is to achieve social change, and to make people aware of the ways in which we can achieve greater equality in our societies: campaigning for lower pay differentials within companies, for TU/employee representatives on boards and for more cooperatives and mutuals, amongst other things.

While many people, including some of the most powerful politicians and business leaders in the world talk of the problems of inequality, we are yet to see any real, tangible change. In the US the richest fifth of the population controls about 85% of the country’s wealth. In the UK the richest 1% have seen their share of income rocket from 7.1% in 1970 to 14.3% in 2005, whilst the incomes of the poorest have stood still.I In the UK since the start of recession many people on low incomes have seen their incomes fall as a result of Coalition policies. In December 2011 the OECD reported the gap between rich and poor was at its highest level for 30 years. So, with public opinion across the world beginning to swing away from austerity, there is no better time than now to raise awareness of the problems caused by inequality.

This May we launched our campaign to raise awareness and funds for the film. The web page for contributions is live for five more weeks only at www.indiegogo.com/spiritlevelfilm

We want you to join in our movement for greater equality and support this film. We are asking supporters to help make this happen by pre-buying a copy of the film. If just 2,500 people worldwide paid £12, we will achieve our target. And of course, it is possible to donate more.

But it isn’t all about money. This is a movement and a campaign and, regardless of how much cash you have, we hope  you will participate and spread the word about our message – by sharing the web address through Facebook, Twitter and social networks.

I believe that together we can do for the public understanding of the ways inequality damages all of us what An Inconvenient Truth did for the public understanding of climate change.  Co-author Richard Wilkinson says,

“We need to be communicating as simply as possible an empirically based picture of a better world we should be moving towards – a world capable of inspiring people. The social environment, the quality of social relations, the strength of community, how much we trust each other – all are improved by greater equality”.

It’s hard to argue with that.

GUEST POST: Katharine Round is Director of the upcoming film The Spirit Level. She is a producer and director with over thirteen years experience in television. Her films have covered everything from the impact of organ donation, to the power of sport to transform lives, and the realities of parenthood. She has made films for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Five, Discovery, and Al Jazeera and her focus is on using film to create meaningful change in lives and attitudes.

2 Responses to The Spirit Level: Using film for a fairer society

  1. Philip Roy McCabe
    May 29th 2012, 3:25 pm

    I tried to purchase the film on the given web set indieagogo but had a message saying the site was no longer available. I woudl like to buy a copy of the film – how can I do so?

  2. Katharine Round
    May 30th 2012, 1:26 pm

    Hi Philip
    Sorry, there was a mistake with the link – this is the correct one:
    indiegogo.com/spiritlevelfilm.

    Thanks for your interest and support
    Katharine