Projectile: The interview

Freedom newspaper caught up with a member of the collective organising Projectile, the annual anarchist film festival in Newcastle.

Submitted by Rob Ray on April 7, 2007

Freedom: You've done two previous festivals, how do you think this one will compare?

Projectile collective member: We had tried to have less overlap between films and talks this year, but we ended up with so many items to fit in that we weren't as successful with that plan as we had hoped! There are fewer "historical" films this year, I suppose that's one difference, although it wasn't intentional.

The cabaret night is definitely a bigger deal this time around - actual bands, more spoken word and
poetry, and probably some weird art stuff going on as well. Maybe the only common factor is getting Dave Douglass to do a turn, but he doesn't need that much encouraging really.

What sort of crowd are you expecting for the event?

We get an interesting mix of anarchists, many of whom travel to get here specially for Projectile, and local people who may or may not be anarchists but come for a film, a speaker, or maybe this year the cabaret night and generally end up staying for more.

I should mention to anyone who is thinking of coming from out of town that we can sort you out with
someplace to stay, just get in touch ahead of time and bring a sleeping bag. The slumber party/staying up talking and drinking aspect that happens after the event at homes all around the area is always really
good. We had Stuart Christie and Stewart Home at ours one year, that was interesting...

What things would you particularly recommend as potential highlights of the festival?

The new documentary "Sacco and Vanzetti" is really excellent. For kicks, "The Anarchists" should keep you laughing in between fight sequences, it's ridiculous but I really liked it. We're all really looking forward to seeing "There Is No Authority But Yourself" too, as it's the one film we haven't previewed.

The vast majority of the films, showings and discussions seem to be coming from a class struggle angle, would you say that's the main focus of Projectile?

No, that's just the way things evolved - and it isn't strictly true either, as "Soma," the Crass films and so on don't really fit the mould. There must be something in the zeitgeist though, because it's definitely a theme that is coming to the fore at the moment...

What sort of background do the organisers have and how has that informed the process of putting Projectile together?

It's fair to say the one thing we all share is an interest in film, anarchism, and good nights out at the pub - as a group of individuals, we represent a fair spread of different takes on anarchism as a political philosophy. When we put the first Projectile together three years ago, it was an effort to have a second "national" event that, like the London Bookfair, would bring a lot of people together - but outside of London. There are other bookfairs about, so the idea of a cultural event with film at its core made sense, especially since some of us were already involved in programming radical films locally.

You've got some big hitters on the headline round-table talk on class struggle, Ian Bone, Dave Douglass and Ben Franks of recent 'Rebel Alliances'fame, what is the structure likely to be and what are you hoping will come out of it?

We have a moderator to try to keep things reasonably civil and fair. Oh, and don't leave Pauline McCormick and Penny Rimbaud out, eh? Pauline was involved with Class War's Heavy Stuff, and Penny has a very interesting (and not exactly fluffy) take on things. It will be interesting to see what areas of common ground this group can locate.

The Star and Shadow will be hosting, can you tell us a bit about that?

The Star and Shadow Cinema is hands down one of the coolest community cultural projects ever. It's an all-volunteer cinema that began with the four collectives that programmed the Side Cinema, an older alternative cinema venue in Newcastle. All of the people involved with Projectile have been involved with the Star and Shadow in some way, but only as part of a much larger and more diverse (and not explicitly anarchist) group.

What the Star and Shadow folks have done is rent about half of a large warehouse owned by the City of Newcastle and turn it into a great small cinema with a cafe that can host shows and some extra spaces that have been used for all sorts of purposes, from dance performances to creating banners for protests. There are hipster artist types involved, neighbourhood characters who have just wandered in, serious cinephiles, and of course us. Amazingly we are all still getting along. It resembles a social centre in some ways but the cinema is definitely core to the mission, not just showing movies but also making them and talking about them.

The Projectile Anarchist Festival will take place from May 18-20 at the Star and Shadow Cinema, Newcastle (map here). A full listings for the event is available at