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In our Taking Liberties blog, not only will we keep you uptodate on the progress of the film, we'll also post news about the ongoing civil liberties movements we're related to.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

DVD Extras

Are now upon us. Initially the thought of doing any more work on Taking Liberties has made those members of the team who somehow retained their sanity from the film itself reach for the nearest bottle of meths. But once that urge was tamed, there is a strong inclination - from myself at least - to return to the edit suite, go back through the vast swathes of material that were cut, and put together another hour or so of material together for when the DVD comes out in October. This is because:

1) All of the stories in the film had to be cut down considerably from their original edits, in order to bring the film in at under 10 hours and give it some semblance of pace. For example the Mouloud/Ricin story has many strands that had to be chopped (eg how the media completely misreported the outcome of the trial). We still have the longer edits for all the stories (somewhere) so hopefully we will be able to tell the stories in more detail.

2) We interviewed several academics and commentators who really know their stuff on the different aspects of civil liberties. Sadly we were able to include only very small snippets of these interviews in the film - again for reasons of pace. We will be able to go back to each of these interviews and show much more of the discussions - which will be particularly useful as an educational tool.

3) There are several stories that we had to cut from the film completely. If you've read the book you'll see that there are incredibly moving and powerful stories that just didn't make it into the film at all, and we feel we have a duty to tell these on the DVD extras:
-Simon and Gus. 2 Academics at the LSE who wrote a report on ID Cards that showed that the Government was essentially lying about the cost of ID Cards. The Government then initiated a smear campaign against them.
-Sandy Mitchell. Truly horrific. Sandy was framed and tortured in Saudi Arabia for a crime he did not commit. Rather than fight to save this British citizen from his appalling treatment, the British Government turned a blind eye and left him to rot. Once Sandy was finally freed and returned to the UK, New Labour sided with the Saudis again, and halted Sandy's efforts to sue the Saudis to get compensation for his years of abuse.
-Sack Parliament. This was a very surreal demonstration we filmed which was about attended by about 20 very small anarchists and about 800 very large policemen. The Police overreaction was astonishing and they ended up hospitalising a press photographer, Marc Valee.
-Phil says "shit". This is a tale of a heavy metal fan who was accosted by police and given an £80 fine for quietly swearing near a police metal detector.
-Alex Stone. Alex is a British citizen who was falsely accused of assaulting a child in the USA. He was extradited with no evidence and sat in a US Jail for 6 months in terrible conditions (Alex is blind). Rather than help him, the UK government facilitated this injustice. Alex was eventually released but not after his life had been ruined.

Along with several others. These are stories that we all have a very strong emotional connection with and we were gutted when they had to be cut.

4) Lots of Random weird stuff. There's a sketch by John Oliver, an extremely distasteful puppet show on the history of protest, and the many incidents we were stopped and hassled by police on a demonstrations.

There will also be the obligatory "making of" featurette (however we want to break with industry norms and talk honestly about the making of the film rather than spew forth sycophantic guff), Directors commentary (will probably end up being heavily edited by the lawyers and the distributor so apologies in advance for the long breaks of silence) and anything else silly or interesting that we find along the way.

We welcome suggestions and requests for the DVD extras so please make your views known on the Taking Liberties Forums.

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