A documentary on legendary socialist, trade unionist and Labour MP Dennis Skinner will premier at London’s East End Film Festival this Saturday (June 17).
Raised with nine siblings in a Derbyshire mining village, ex-coal miner Skinner has fought for the rights of the working class for over 50-years.
Known as the “Beast of Bolsover”, Skinner is uncompromising in his views, has a set of incorruptible principles and is respected and feared on both sides of the House of Commons.
‘Dennis Skinner: Nature of The Beast’ looks at what lies behind his passion and drive and tracks his rise from local councillor to one of Britain’s most recognisable politicians.
After interviewing Skinner for a previous project – a documentary about Robert Tressell’s seismic book, ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ – director Daniel Draper approached Skinner about making a feature-length documentary about his life and contribution to British politics.
Draper explained that after a 90-minute phone conversation encompassing “football, nature, literature, musicals, Woody Allen films and a little politics”, Skinner agreed to let him make the first ever documentary about the Beast of Bolsover.
“Working with Dennis over the last three years has been an absolute joy – to have such access to a political stalwart, to witness his passion first hand and to capture his narrative on film has been an honour,” said Draper.
“He is the personification of what the Labour party should be, and his principles are particularly relevant in today’s political climate. It’s important that a portrait of this man exists, and I’m thrilled Dennis trusted me to do it.”
Production began late 2014 after a small grant was received from the National Union of Mineworkers and several union branches.
Due to a minuscule budget, all the crew volunteered their time and expertise over a period of 18-months, travelling a combined 3,000 miles across the country and working around the MP’s busy schedule.
After filming was completed in mid-2016, a crowd-funding campaign raised archive and post-production costs.
Now, thanks to the hard work and commitment of a small team, the documentary is ready to be released.
‘Dennis Skinner: Nature of the Beast’ premiers at 4pm this Saturday, June 17, at The Castle Cinema in Homerton, East London.
Following the screening there will be a panel discussion featuring director Daniel Draper, festival organiser Anna Burton, Rio Goldhammer of Punk Rock Politics and other guests.