Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle is a forthcoming feature length documentary that will explore the failures and deception behind the social housing crisis in Britain.
Directed by Paul Sng, maker of the acclaimed cinema release Sleaford Mods – Invisible Britain (2015) and the award winning film & television director Lee Skelly (BBC, Channel Four).
With the future of social housing under threat from the Housing and Planning Bill, Dispossession will examine how central and local government have failed to provide adequate social housing in Britain since the 1980s, and worked with property developers who have put profit before homes. The documentary will also tell the stories of individuals and families who have been uprooted from their homes and communities and become the victims of social cleansing, and explore alternatives to estate demolition and ‘regeneration’.
The film-makers were motivated to make the documentary after hearing of David Cameron’s plans to demolish “sink estates”, in January 2016. “I found Cameron’s comments insulting,” says Sng. “This demonisation of council estate residents seems to me a convenient excuse to create a false narrative to justify demolition.” “I grew up on a council estate in Peckham, so I have a good understanding of how important they are at housing people on low-incomes and the stability they provide to families,” says co-director Lee Skelly.
With a newly commissioned soundtrack by musician Mickey O’Brien (La Roux) and featuring interviews with council estate residents, campaigners, homeless charities, house building professionals and political thinkers.
Dispossession promises to be a confrontational and shocking exposé of an inhumane system, where a roof over your head is no longer a right, but an expensive luxury. The film is being crowdfunded via Indiegogo, with a target of £25,000 that will cover the cost of filming interviews and estates around the UK, plus licensing fees for archival material and the production of the various perks on offer. In return for a donation, crowd-funders can opt to receive t-shirts, soundtrack CDs, and limited edition artwork. Donations may also be made anonymously and minus a perk.
Between 2000-2014, housing associations received in excess of £62 billion in funding, yet built only 26,000 homes per year, half the number required. Meanwhile, local authorities have sold land in prime locations at a fraction of its cost to property developers. In many cases, ‘estate regeneration’ is a smokescreen used to demolish council estates to build homes on the land they stand on, which are largely sold to those who can afford to pay the market value.
Paul Sng lives and works in Brighton. As a film-maker, he is interested in telling the stories of those neglected, misrepresented or forgotten by mainstream media. His debut feature, Sleaford Mods – Invisible Britain, was conceived in November 2014 and crowdfunded on Indiegogo in February 2015 – 6 months later it was screened in cinemas around the UK.
Lee Skelly was born in Lambeth and grew up in Peckham, London. He began his career at Phil Redmond’s Mersey Television, later to become Lime Pictures. Whilst at Lime he wrote and directed an award winning short film that led to a trainee directorship. For the last six years he has worked as a successful freelance television drama director for Channel Four and the BBC.
For all enquiries regarding the film, contact Paul Sng: firstname.lastname@example.org