In August 2011, fires were raging in Tottenham. Four people in the small community, all black and working class, died at the hands of the police. North London was on fire and people were uprising – but what was the spark that led to the crisis?
That’s the question Dr Ken Fero, Lecturer in Directing, asked in his documentary ‘Burn’, and paper for publication ‘Cinematic for the People’, which he presented this month at Ho Chi Minh City’s Ton Duc Thang University’s Faculty of Social Science.
Balancing powerful witness testimonies with shots of the police reaction, Dr Fero’s film ‘Burn’ retraces the victims’ stories and offers fresh political analysis on the cause of the uprising.
The documentary also explores why the fires started and spread, during the blaze in Tottenham and across the last three decades.
Above all, it’s an inquiry into collective memory during crisis.
'Ho Chi Minh is a remarkable and culturally vibrant city and the students there had a real thirst for knowledge, as well as engagement in the issues in the film. They were keen to engage in documentary theory and practice and I am sure Regents will continue to build international links between our students and those in Ton Duc Thang,' Dr Fero said.
The screenings, prepared with Vietnamese subtitles, took place over a week and were followed by lively debates and Q&A sessions with students and staff.
Dr Fero also extended his Poetry & Motion initiative, an online collaboration between students at Ton Duc Thang and Regent’s: a shared practice digital forum producing poetic documentaries.
The trip was made possible through the HASS Research Committee, which supported Dr Fero’s involvement in the Ton Duc Thang University initiative, Innovations in Social Sciences and Humanities.
You can watch the film ‘Burn’ on Vimeo.