New Town Utopia
New Town Utopia is a film about utopian dreams and concrete realities - a feature documentary about the British New Town of Basildon, Essex. After World War Two, New Towns were designed as social utopias, built to create a 'new type of citizen', with public art, homes by progressive architects and work for everyone. Basildon and its pioneer residents were invested with these post-war hopes and aspirations. 60 years on, the town has deteriorated, degenerated and desaturated. Art and culture are almost a distant memory and Basildon is referred to as the worst town in Britain. The original plans and architecture, once thought so progressive, are now often vilified in the face of a terrible reputation, struggling local economy and fragmented community. Using art and culture as a lens, the film explores the development of the town from socialist stronghold dubbed "Little Moscow on the Thames" to becoming a Tory stronghold and home of the 'Basildon Man'. A destabilizing, significant shift from a priority of community to individual over an incredibly short period of time. An audiovisual journey through populated ruins, New Town Utopia is brought to life through the memories, stories and performance of artists, musicians and poets from Basildon. Facing austerity, adversity and personal challenges, these are individuals driven by their creative spirit to help their community through art, poetry, music... and puppets.
Starring Jim Broadbent, Terry Bird, Vincent O'Connell
Director Christopher Ian Smith