Small Radical Films

All film is political. But all films are not equal. This is a competition for films that directly address social, political and ideological issues. Films that grapple with ideas and concepts that explore how we organise ourselves as a species and as a society.

We accept everything – from direct polemic, to experimental film, from original fiction to observational documentary.
We want opinion, analysis, personal stories, ideology, vision and fresh perspectives.
Challenge, explore, celebrate, discuss…
In short, any film that you feel is radical is welcome. As long as it is short (under 30 minutes).

We will be giving awards in the following categories:

  • Best Factual Film
    • made by an established activists or filmmaker
    • made by a student or first time filmmaker
  • Best Factual Film
    • made by an established activists or filmmaker
    • made by a student or first time filmmaker
  • Best film by a filmmaker under 18

Small Axe is part of the Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival

The festival runs over three days (from Friday to Sunday) showing a selection of feature films and competition shorts. On Sunday morning there is a full programme of shorts, followed by the announcement of the Small Axe awards.

Our Patrons and supporters include Paul Watson and Ken Loach.

The film festival is part of the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival. There is a charge to attend the full weekend, but there is free entry on the Sunday.

The Jury

Our Jury is made up of the festival organisers, supporters and award winners from previous years. Some of our Jury members from previous years include:

Ruth Pickersgill

Ruth Pickersgill

Equalities Activist and Labour Councillor

Ruth  is a labour councillor for Easton ward in Bristol. In 2010 she was given an MBE for work on equalities in Further Education. She is now 'retired' and uses her political career to continue the fight for equality. She is a Trustee at Bristol Refugee Rights and City of Sanctuary and is also chair for the Council’s Inclusive Cities initiative.

Julian McDougall

Julian McDougall

Professor in Media and Education

Julian edits Media Practice and Education, runs the Professional Doctorate (Ed D) in Creative and Media Education at Bournemouth University and convenes the annual International Media Education Summit. He is the author of over 100 books, articles, chapters and research reports and has given keynote speeches and joined invited expert panels in 17 countries...

Becky Parry

Becky Parry

Dr of Children’s Media

Becky began her career as a teacher of English, Drama and Media Studies in Secondary schools, before running a film education programme and children’s film festival at the Showroom cinema in Sheffield. Her doctoral research focused particularly on children’s film and included the use of participatory and visual research methods. Becky is currently developing a new MA course focused on digital culture and literacies.

Eleni Christopoulou

Eleni Christopoulou

SmallAxe Young Film Producer and Programmer

Eleni started out directing for Greek TV including a series about Children’s Rights. She moved to the UK to study experimental film. Since then she has worked with film and art as a tool for social change, setting up a production company, establishing a film festival, teaching and working as a researcher. She also creates visual artworks and curates online content.

Reuben Irving

Reuben Irving

Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival co-director and programmer for Small Axe

Reuben teaches film production at the university of Worcester. Before joining the university Reuben worked for many years as an editor in documentary and fiction. As a co-director of Gorilla Cinema he worked as a community activist and producer as well as setting up and touring with the solar powered mobile cinema.

Anne-Claire Adet

Anne-Claire Adet

Director of Bunkers

Anne-Claire is an independent video-maker whose debut short documentary BUNKERS on asylum conditions in Switzerland has been screened in more than 30 festivals. She works at the intersection of arts and politics, and is the current co-director of Les Créatives, a feminist art&talk festival in Geneva. Bunkers won the Best Documentary at SmallAxe 2017.

Anastasija Harrowna Bräuniger

Anastasija Harrowna Bräuniger

Artist, actress and director

Anastasija grew up in Germany, Moscow and the UK. She studied at Hochschule für Musik und Theater Rostock, winning several prizes for performance before going on to study directing at Ernst Busch School for Performing Arts Berlin. She is co-funder of “FLUGWERK” in Berlin-Wedding. Her artists collective FLUGWERK ENSEMBLE work in theatre and film. “Champions” was her first film project and won an Audience award at Tolpuddle 2017

Nathan Erasmus

Nathan Erasmus

Director of Assholio

Nathan's first animated project One eskimO was produced independently and after winning several awards; Warner Premiere commissioned it into a series of animated shorts. Since then he has worked on various motion comics, developed scripts for animated feature films, directed his first documentary; ROAD TO RIO and written a children's book.  He is now reverting his focus back to making animated shorts, music videos and documentaries. 

Maria Burza and the TV Kryzyz Collective

Maria Burza and the TV Kryzyz Collective

Anarchist Film Collective

Winners of the Best Documentary 2016 with House On Strike (Syrena to nie skłot, to strajk) The collective viewed films together and Maria fed this back to the rest of the jury.

Iqbal Mohammed

Iqbal Mohammed

Filmmaker

Winner of the 2016 Audience Award for best film with Three Minute Warning. Iqbal has written several short films including his directorial debut, Against the Norm, which was screened at the very first Small Axe in 2014. He also works as a pharmacist.

Radheya Jegatheva

Radheya Jegatheva

Creator of iRony

Radheya is an Australian filmmaker born in 1999 in Malaysia to parents of South Korean and Malaysian ancestry. Radheya's films have more than 500 official selections worldwide winning awards in 6 of the worlds 7 continents including 10 Academy Award qualifying festivals and an Australian Academy of Cinema & TV Arts award nomination.

Jennifer Wager

Jennifer Wager

Cinematographer, Director and Professor

Credits include; Dare to Dream: Cuba’s Latin American Medical School, Venezuela Rising and Against the Silence: The Families of the Cuban Five Speak Out. Wager is an Assistant Professor at Essex County College. She produces for Pacifica Radio/NYC’s Cuba in Focus, as well as the TV series, Newark City of Poets. In March 2017, she launched “She Got the Shot!” a project documenting women cinematographers from around the world.

Lauren Knapp

Lauren Knapp

Director of The Sandman

Lauren Knapp is a documentarian working in film, radio, TV and 360 video. Her work focuses on pressing social issues through intimate, character-driven portrayals. Her work has been featured on The New York Times, National Public Radio, and PBS. The Sandman won best student documentary at SmallAxe 2017.

Giannis Vlahopoulos

Giannis Vlahopoulos

Writer, Director, Photographer

Winner of Best Fiction Film 2016 with Wall (To Ihos)

Fernando Mitjans

Fernando Mitjans

Filmmaker

Winner of best student documentary 2016 with Limpiadores

Paul Watson

Paul Watson

Documentary producer and director.

Paul's first major award was an SFTA in 1969. He went on to bring reality TV to Britain with the 1974 series 'The Family' and has not stopped since. His credits include:  the '40 Minutes' series (1980's/90's)  Sylvania Waters (1992); The Home (1996); Malcom and Barbara: A Love Story(1999) and Loves Farewell (2007);  Rain in My Heart (2006). He has picked up a string of awards and nominations including a Grierson, Prix Europa, RTS and in 2008 he was awarded a  BAFTA 'Special Award for Outstanding Creative Contribution to the industry'

Jeremy Hardy

Jeremy Hardy

Comedian

Jeremy was well known for his Radio appearances including; Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation, The News Quiz and I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue as well as TV including; Saturday Live, Blackadder Goes Forth, QI, and Mock the Week. He has been in films; Hotel, How To Be, Jeremy Hardy vs the Israeli Army. He wrote books; When Did You Last See Your Father, Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation,  and My Family and Other Strangers and of course he performed continuously as a stand-up comedian.

Leila Sansour

Leila Sansour

Documentary film maker and Founder of Open Bethlehem

Leila was one of the first producers at Al Jazeera having worked on the channel's leading documentary series. She currently works for ITN news and is best known in the UK for her film "Jeremy Hardy vs The Israeli Army" (2003). Her latest feature documentary 'Open Bethlehem' will be released in the UK in Christmas 2014. The film is a deeply personal story that charts the creation of a campaign called Open Bethlehem, an initiative that works to save the city and bring down the wall.

Morag Livingstone

Morag Livingstone

Documentary Producer

Director of Belonging.( 2017), experienced short filmmaker, writer, and documentary photographer telling the real stories of real people in order to bring about real change. She is co-author of two best selling books, Hackney Child and Tainted Love both published by Simon & Schuster in 2014.