F.A. Are you originally from London?
C.T. No, I'm Portuguese, from Lisbon.
F.A. How do you feel about the riots? Also, In your opinion, what's the reason behind these riots?
C.T. These riots started as a reaction against the police, as again they killed someone. Then things went out of control very quickly. This is not an organized revolution for social ideals, this is gangs' war. These riots do make you think about the real root of the problem? These are poor people who are having their lives stripped with unemployment cuts amongst other things and and decided to say: We got the power! They obviously didn't use it well.
I disagree with the attacking of local shops, homes, people and destruction of communities. I believe in a revolution that refers to positive social, local, personal change. Although I understand the reasons behind the riots, I still can't agree with their actions. I'm angry, sad and I think this random destruction will only bring fear to people and make the system/police even stronger. These riots have no social or political change in mind, they are not about anything except greed. They want to take what they want and destroy everything regardless of what or who they're destroying! Even though the message is not positive, they are sending a seriously strong one.
F.A. Is your area safe? If not, can you specify how?
C.T. I shot the video on Monday, today is Thursday and things quieted down a bit. Lots of shops are still closed down and it all feels very silent. On Monday the helicopters were above my house all afternoon and night. When I went out everything was happening just around the corner. I didn't see any clashes. I heard the gangs were in the park, there was a car burning and a huge amount of riot police barricading the main street (Mare street), it felt like war zone. I didn't see any gangs, only people from the community and lots of riot police. Shops were smashed and looted around Hackney central, just a little further up. That day, I felt like nowhere was safe, riots spread all over London, then to other cities in the UK as well.
F.A. If it weren't for social media, do you think the riots would have taken place anyway?
C.T. These were not Facebook organized riots, things started on the streets and spread out. My friends and I were using Facebook and text message to spread the news and make sure that everyone in different areas were safe. It was a way of keeping in touch and getting alternative point of views to the corporate media. People were sharing ideas, articles, images of what was happening in their neighbourhoods and collectively trying to make a sense of what was happening. It was nice to to use social media to check on each other. It was all scary and violent, but nice to feel the wave of care and solidarity.
F.A. Do you think the government might restrict sites like Facebook, Twitter etc. in order to prevent the riots from spreading?
C.T. Well the government did that on the Royal Wedding's day. They shut down over 50 accounts related to groups who are trying to make a change, but these riots have nothing to do with it. We want a positive change, not random destruction.
F.A. Do you think David Cameron's house or the Parliament will be attacked?
C.T. No, I don't think so, as I said these riots have no political agenda, they are the result of anger. They have no political or social thought, their targets were random, they set alight people's houses and local shops to loot mobile phones, toys and other goods.
F.A. How is your footage different from a usual news coverage? And what do you think makes yours a movie?
C.T. My video is a document of what happened around my neighbourhood on August 8th, 2011 when the riots were kicking off in London. I didn't comment on it or put a voice-over to explain it, however, the images were very powerful on their own. I wanted to keep the rawness of the moment. I was scared and didn't follow the riots across London, only on the Internet, but felt I needed to film this. I used a mobile HD camera which is the size of a mobile phone and not the greatest sound. Nevertheless, the sound of the helicopters give a sense of the tension in that moment; the next day I edited it on Final Cut.
F.A. What is your intended message?
C.T. This video, as I said, is simply a document. I would like to follow it with other videos, conversations, friends and other people living in different neighbourhoods. People are still trying to understand what happened and I would like to give voice to a debate that isn’t reported by corporate media. We have been trying to make the Revolution with positive actions for social change, but these riots were not it. This also shows how the politicians are acting and how people are feeling empowered; I would like to dig further into that. My main idea will be to understand the reasons behind the riots in England and bring forth ideas and actions for unity, community, sustainability. I hope these ideas and actions will become stronger than the present riots. In order to do this I will need to get a camera with good mic.
The Film Annex Team