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‘New Town Utopia’ Examines British Cities of the Future That Didn’t Evolve as Planned

"It's a passion project - about where I grew up, the utopian ideas of the mid-twentieth century and the importance of art to our happiness."

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New Town Utopia

Logline: What happened when we built Utopia? A documentary about grand utopian dreams, the harsh concrete realities of globalization… and some rather angry puppets.

Elevator Pitch:

Basildon, UK: A town with a terrible reputation, failing economy and unhappy population.

It wasn’t meant to be like this… the British New Towns were designed as social utopias, built to create a ‘new type of citizen’ – with homes by progressive modernist architects, job opportunities, green space and a plethora public art.

The characters are a group of funny, complicated artists who’ve led challenging, and sometimes tragic lives. This includes a puppeteer (and his angry puppets), poets, musicians, and more…

“New Town Utopia” explores what happened by merging performance, architecture and memory in an audiovisual journey of populated ruins.

Production Team:

Christopher Ian Smith – Producer/Director (“Arterial,” “Cumulus,” “All That Is Solid…”)
Margaret Matheson – Executive Producer (Scum, Sid and Nancy, Sleep Furiously)
Greg Haines – Music Composer (Where We Were, Digressions)

About the Film:

It’s a passion project – about where I grew up, the utopian ideas of the mid-twentieth century and the importance of art to our happiness. Camus referred to Utopia as being “in contradiction to reality.” Maybe new towns were an impossible dream. I also think its a very relevant film for now – as we see our high streets and communities decimated by “out of town” developments, the effects of globalization, and poor treatment at the hands of national government. (I believe the Brexit vote was a result of this.) I wanted to explore this with humour, poetry and memory.

Current Status: We’ve completed production and now raising finance through Kickstarter to support post-production.

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