Secret City: Bristol’s film exposes the Square Mile

Bristol NUJ and Bristol Festival of Ideas present:

Secret City: an investigation into the City of London, the Corporation that runs it, and its impact on the world

Arnolfini, Bristol, 6.30pm, Thursday April 11. Tickets £6/£4

“There, London’s voice: ‘Get Money, Money still!” Alexander Pope

IMAGINE a city consisting of fewer than 10,000 residents. Imagine that city’s government elected by businesses – the bigger the business, the more votes it has. This city has funds amounting to billions of pounds, accumulated over a thousand years, which it can use at will, with no public accountability, to promote its interests around the world.

This city is London. Not the metropolis we know so much about, but the thing referred to as the “square mile” or The City. Often referred to either as an archaic but quaint and harmless relic from the past, or as a place where bankers simply do business, neither description gets close to the reality of this entity.

The investigative documentary, Secret City, by Lee Salter (UWE journalism lecturer and NUJ member) and Michael Chanan, does just this. The film, recently selected for the London Independent Film Festival, focuses on the government of the City, the Corporation of London, which is best described as a state within a state.

Produced on a zero budget, the film is coming to Bristol’s Arnolfini after sell-out screenings in the Watershed and the Cube Microplex.

Secret City tells of the origins of the Corporation and charts its history from 1066 to the present day, focusing on its role in nurturing finance capitalism though Empire and slavery to today’s neo-liberal world economy.

By the 1990s, the Corporation had in many respects turned into one of the most effective ideology factories in the world, lobbying UK regulators, and using its global network of influence to push for an ever-more deregulated financial sector. This continued right up to the 2008 crash.

Secret City shines a light on this largely hidden site of power and we hope will lead to a more adequate understanding of the role of the Corporation of London in sustaining the hegemony of finance, on the texture of London and the UK, and its relations with the rest of the world.

The film-makers are privileged to have the support of Bristol NUJ, alongside the Bristol Festival of Ideas, for the forthcoming screening on 11th April. The film’s writer, Lee Salter, will do a Q&A session after the film and local investigative journalist Phil Chamberlain will give a short talk on the importance of investigative journalism today.

Read a review from the Independent

The Secret City website

Tickets and info: http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/film-lecture-the-secret-city

Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA

Box Office 0117 917 2300

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