BAFTA winning Ken Loach screens political film in Copeland

By Rachael Grealish

ALL the way from the BAFTA’s and straight to Mirehouse – Ken Loach made a political appearance in Copeland for a screening of his latest film.

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The award-winning director Ken Loach was made quite the journey from the winners podium as he joined Copeland’s Labour campaign trail with a showing of his film: I, Daniel Blake.

Over 100 people packed into the Mirehouse Labour Club, on Thursday February 16, to watch the film, that won Outstanding British Film at the BAFTA’s on Sunday.

When asked why he showed the film in Copeland Mr Loach, 80, said: “We were in Stoke yesterday for a screening as elections are really important, I think, and we thought the film might have a connection and if they saw it, it might raise some questions in people’s minds about how the government is working, how people are being affected, and, obviously, when there’s an election in process, people will become politically-minded and more aware, sharper, so it’s really a contribution to that discussion.”

Mr Loach, though not currently a member of the Labour party, spent the afternoon in Copeland door-knocking in support of the Labour campaign.

He said: “We only had a few hours, it’s very interesting, always, and the houses we went to were labour houses – which is very reassuring, because with voting there is always different things to consider – but what we found that was at the foremost of people’s minds was the threat and closure of the hospital. The idea of losing their local hospital is just horrific.”

Though she was not in attendance the the film, Mr Loach said he would’ve liked to see Gillian Troughton at the screening to meet her.

After the screening the politically-minded veteran Director held a question and answer session for the attendees.

Mr Loach said: “I think it’s [the film I, Daniel Blake] what kind of society are we, how do we treat people, like ourselves, who are struggling and need help, how do we treat them, I think we would treat them with how we would like to be treated ourselves: with support and understanding and we would expect to play fair and I think that we’re not getting that and people are being trapped, the system is setup to trap people and to withdraw their financial support they need – then their lives are thrown into chaos.”

During the Q&A Mr Loach commented on the spirit and togetherness of the Copeland community.

He said: “This is just amazing, I thought there would be around 20 or 30 people here, but just look. Here you’ve got strength, you’ve got community.”

He then implored those in attendance to vote Labour in the upcoming by-election, next week.

During the evening donations were being collected for the Egremont homeless shelter, Calderwood House – in total £352.07 was raised.

Rachel Holliday, the Calderwood House founder, was in attendance, she said: “It’s been an honour to meet Ken, and see this film. It’s just amazing. When I watched the film I understood it because all the people that come into Calderwood House are Daniel Blake’s.”

The evening was organised in cooperation with Momentum, the Labour and anti-austerity group, and Steve Nicholson, Vice President of the Mirehouse Labour Club board.

Mr Nicholson said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic to have Ken Loach here. It’s been huge, not just for the club, but the people of the community. We are a small community and the film is something a lot of people here can relate to.”