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Demystify, Democratise, Disrupt: A Manifesto For Filmmakers by SLG Film School 2019 students

Illustration of someone looking through binoculars

Drawing by Daniel Owusu

Students from the South London Gallery Film School 2019 have written a collaborative manifesto.

The text addresses the urgent need to devise new forms of visual expression and production frameworks in the film and artists’ moving image industries. This manifesto follows on from their collective statement published during the Black Lives Matter protests.

Demystify, Democratise, Disrupt: A Manifesto For Filmmakers

We believe in the quiet gathering of stories in our homes and communities. These are our breadcrumbs.

The artist is not a commodity. Artists should not be measured by incessant output and productivity.

We ardently believe in creative freedom and the wildness of the imagination. We are the natural enemies of boxes and borders.

Failure is an integral part of our process.

We will continue interrogating the canon, even as we create our own.

We believe in collectivity as an antidote to hyper-individualism and hierarchies. We claim the right to disagree with and contradict each other.

Community should not mean conformity. We defy assumptions imposed on us about the kind of work we should make, or how we should make it. We will make what we want.

We claim our right to difference. We are free to resist the zeitgeist.

We welcome amateurship in all its hybrid, unexpected forms. Those of us who infiltrate institutions should work to undermine their exclusivity. Non-professionals will be our Trojan horses.
Let us storm the gates together.

Demystifying the art and film industries will encourage wider participation.

Precarity is our general condition. We refuse to let it divide and pit us against each other. Through databases, loose collectives and peer support, we will consciously pool and share our resources. The current arts funding models are obsolete. We are working towards long-term infrastructure and a unionisation of practice.

We need and welcome intergenerational engagement. We are mentors and mentees. The archive should be an active resource for future artists. If our cultural histories remain displaced on the fringes, these conversations will continue repeating.

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Click here to download the manifesto as a PDF.


South London Gallery Film School (formerly known as REcreative Film School) is a free, radical film course that takes place annually at the South London Gallery. Since 2015 the school has worked with nearly 100 young people from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the film industry.

It focuses on non-conventional forms of filmmaking and storytelling, and aims to develop young people’s individual creative practices through workshops, screenings and talks by invited guests. The school is committed to influencing long-term change in the film and art world by supporting marginalised voices.


Alice Campos, Ciro Puig Bonet, Daniel Owusu, Houra Javadi, Hussein Samih, Janay Stephenson, Jemmar Samuels, Jessica Murrain, Jordan Minga, Laura Davis, Miranda Mungai, Munesu Mukombe, Nonhlanhla Makuyana, Roanna Seekings, Sophia Siddiqui, Tamir Amar Pettet, Vanessa Okeowo


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