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On the Verge - The Film They Tried to Ban

IMC-UK Features | 23.03.2008 19:01 | Smash EDO | Culture | South Coast

Police have intervened across the country to censor 'On the Verge' an independent documentary about the Smash EDO campaign to shut down the Brighton's weapons manufacturer EDO MBM. So far establishments in Southampton, Chichester, Bath and Oxford as well as Brighton have come under police pressure to cancel film showings. In Brighton police intervened to prevent a showing at the Duke of York's Cinema, just one hour prior to the scheduled premiere.

Using activist, police and CCTV footage plus interviews with those involved in the campaign, 'On The Verge' tells the story of one of the most persistent and imaginative campaigns to emerge out of the UK's anti-war movement and direct action scene. See trailers of the film here(mpg) and here (wmv). A torrent file of the film has also been created. To download a copy of the film and to know how to use bittorrent click here.

Spokesman for the production company SchMovies, Steven Bishop said "I am extremely disappointed but not entirely surprised by the police's action. There may be issues with certification but as we're not charging for entry this shouldn't be an issue. If the police really had problems over the certificate they could have approached us at a much earlier stage. Our film although focussing mainly on the rights and wrongs of protest shows a number of examples of questionable police behaviour – Perhaps this is why they left their move so late"

Meanwhile the "On the Verge" Screening Tour continues. Confirmed upcoming dates are:
24th March - Oxford. OARC
25th March - Bath. Friends' Meeting Place
18th April - Glasgow. - the Carnival Arts Center
19th April - Aberdeen. - Aberdeen University
21st April - London. - London Action Resource Center Tour's page for the latest information on screenings.

Related Links: SchNEWS report | SchNEWS podcast | Other SchMOVIES about Smash EDO campaign | SchNEWS website

Sussex Police initially denied involvement in the decision to cancel the screening at the Duke of York's cinema, with Chief Inspector Taylor telling the Argus newspaper that "Police played no part in the controversial cancellation". Subsequently however the police were forced to admit that "a junior officer, who is not based in the city, alerted the city council to the showing and they advised the cinema of its responsibilities".

Staff at the Arthouse Community Cafe in Bedford Place, Southampton were approached at 11 a.m (Weds 19th March) by police accompanied by licensing officers. Threats were made concerning their licensing if the film, due to be shown on Thursday 20th was screened. Jani Franck director of the Community Cafe said "I grew up in South Africa and this feels awfully familiar. This has nothing to do with protecting the public this is nothing but censorship".

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Past 'Smash EDO Campaign' features in IMC-UK: Singers Arrested Outside Arms Factory | Smash EDO Action Camp: Shut down the Brighton bomb builders | Lebanon War protesters - Not Guilty! | EDO CORP: 2006 Alternative Report | 2007 Is The Year To Shut EDO Down | EDO MBM Injunction crumbles | EDO MBM desperate to stop protests as resistance increases | Smash EDO Take On The Law | Harassment Law Used Against Anti-War Campaigners | Campaign to Smash Edo | Arms company shut down

IMC-UK Features


London screening at Housmans, Friday 11th April, 7pm

25.03.2008 13:01

WE still plan to go ahead with our screening, so if you are in London come down and join us.

The screening will be followed by Q&A with the filmmakers.

Watch it in good company rather than on the goggle box!

Friday 11th April, 7pm

Housmans Bookshop,
5 Caledonian Road,
King's Cross,
London N1 9DX
Tel: 020 7837 4473
Nearest tube: King's Cross

mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

On The Verge torrent - response from SchNEWS

25.03.2008 18:24

Several people have made the good suggestion of doing a torrent of On The Verge.

We will do it later this week - probably from Friday (28th March). The reason is that the process of getting the film legally 'risk assessed' - particularly for those whos talking heads could cause legal problems for them and others - is just being finalised. The solicitor has urged us to not release the film as it is currently on the web - even as a torrent. It's also on hold for several days this week because the relevant crew are on the road as part of the Smash EDO tour/On The Verge screenings.

Also, the film will be finalised by the end of the week because it will then go off to a DVD copying firm, and the film will be released on DVD as soon as we have copies. This will be about a third of the way through the Smash EDO tour. The latest version of the film will be screened at these gigs anyway.

So - the end of this week the torrent details will be posted.

Jo Makepeace
mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

New screening in Brighton

27.03.2008 12:03

The Smash EDO film ‘On the Verge’ will be screened for free on Wednesday the 2 April at The Friends’ Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton. The film will start at 19.30 and will be followed by speakers and a Q&A.

Therezia Cooper
- Homepage:


Hide the following 27 comments

wheres the torrent?

23.03.2008 19:39

is this going to be available for free download on a torrent anywhere?

me thinks it should be!

interested torrent fiend

please torrent

23.03.2008 23:53

I agree with the above poster - it should be torrented!



Subversive distribution

24.03.2008 11:11

Given that the state is trying to clamp down on this, one option to undermine this attempt is to promote viral distribution and get the film out as widely and as quickly as possible, via bit-torrent, YouTube, MegaUpload and similar sites. That way the film still gets to be seen widely - in fact, through an even wider distribution than a few in situ screenings. Moreover, when the state tries to intervene (as it probably would), because these files are now so widely distributed they will not be able to stamp them out, and the state may even raise a higher awareness to the issues they are trying to dampen. That wouldn't be in their interests either. Either way, the state loses through subversive distributions.

Might I also suggest that this be undertaken ASAP before the nuLabs decide to pass yet another hastily constructed law which will mean a hassle to distribute it then.

Upload it so we can download it and redistribute it!!

Fuck Censorship

Torrent please

24.03.2008 13:18

I agree with the above people asking for a torrent, considering it now comes with prestigious sub title "the film they tried to ban" this film would get massive distribution and publicity if it went live.

Is there any reason for not doing this?

Fly posters

i'll ask

24.03.2008 16:03

hi there, i help out schnews put stuff online
so i'll ask if they want to do a torrent - they are quite busy at the moment doing the tour, but i'll offer to help out innit


Reasons not to use peer 2 peer distribution of this film

24.03.2008 18:09

Much like how the film studios want to do their cinema release before their DVD releases, I think it doesn't make sense to push p2p distribution of this film yet...

P2P sucks! It's about individuals sitting at home alone watching their little screen by themselves. While it's true that more people may download the film than are likely to ever see it at public screenings, the environment which people watch films in is very important.

Public screenings rock... they get people together, give people the oppotunity to ask questions, discuss the issues raised and hopefully agree to get together again to do something. People meeting face to face, hearing about local relevence and bouncing ideas off each other is way better than somebody sitting watching it on their laptop while waiting for their microwave meal to cook.

By all means, the film should be (and I'm sure it is) made available freely for those who are going to screen it. However, at this stage it make sence to keep organising as many screenings as possible and captialise on the publicity potential of the polices attempts to censor the film. When those people who would go to screenings have been reached then sure, roll out an online campaign but not to soon as why would people make the effort to go to a public screening if they've already downloaded and watched the film?

devils avocado

smart schMOVE

24.03.2008 19:18

the fact that the film is not being uploaded on the net kind of detracts from the 'we are being censored' argument but there is good reasons for it i think

What is happening is that local police forces are attempting to prevent the spread of organising groups forming or being inspired by meeting in a room to see the film with the Brighton folks.

It is no so much the film that is being censored but the campaigners themselves who are an intelligent and articulate bunch whose live message will go a lot further than simply watching the film itself.

The p2p system neutralises the power of face to face contact with the people involved and obviously the possibility of new groups forming as a result.

Go out and see the film

you'll love it


To devils avocado

24.03.2008 19:28

I take your point entirely. Public screenings do have a social aspect to them that cannot be matched with private PC (or TV) watching. I'm not sure that we are at cross purposes though. This need not be an either-or divide. There are two issues here:

(a) the film being a talking point for gatherings, raising awareness and developing strategies
(b) the goons and 'eavies changing their tactics in order to step on (a) happening at all.

Perhaps its fitting to do what we can to address (b) while +still+ doing whatever can be done in rolling out the public screenings. If not, we are liable to be in a situation in which no-one can see the film publicly and most copies have been seized under some quickly fashioned diktat. By dispersing it to the four winds no UK diktat will stop it; it will also receive a far wider audience numerically by those who sit at home and watch it than by those who travel to sites around the UK on the one hand or once it has been banned on the other.

Viral distribution is a great addition to the public screening route - both-and not either-or: spread the message, raise awareness, factor into the file an addition to encourage people to participate, just like one might at a public screening.

Fuck Censorship

easy on the massive generalisations

24.03.2008 19:54

Dearest devils avacado, whilst you make some good points in your post your argument becomes as squishy and unpalatable as an over ripened tescos avacado when you make sweeping generalisations.

If the film is shared online as a high quality file people will be in a position to start their own screenings up and also to share and distribute the films on DVD-R's. And another thing my fruity chum, my housemates and i like nothing better than eagerly awaiting the download of a film and then watching it TOGETHER in our living room and yes we might enjoy the odd bit of microwave popcorn with said films but we are very much into our home cooking as well. Oh and if we like the films we see we tend to reccomend them to others and share our downloads with them.

Share the film, spread the message. Simple as that.

interested torrent fiend

Index Librorum Prohibitorum

25.03.2008 00:40

I would suggest a limited high-quality distribution disc distribution to social centres at the same time as DivX torrent. That's just a suggestion though, anyone able to produce their own movie will be smart enough how to distribute it for maximum effect.

There are limitless numbers of places that this, or any other film, could be shown, but there are very few places that would actually want to show it outside of activist circles if it weren't banned. Being banned is the best recommendation for any one, any idea or any thing. If I was a film-maker I would pay to be censored. In fact please hide this comment.


Where's the fucking torrent?

25.03.2008 01:16

Is it copyright?


Buy the fucking DVD someone and upload the damn thing

25.03.2008 01:25


Looking forward to the torrent diwnload link.

Poor bastard

reply to devils advacado

25.03.2008 13:28

If i download the torrent, i'll watch it with my freinds!

Also you have to take in to consideration those who can't get out to a screening either for physical or mental health reasons.

definately torrent.


to avocado

25.03.2008 14:31

I agree with your point about publicity etc and keeping the numbers up for the tour, it is good propaganda being 'censored'. Indeed the 'censoring' attempts is a bit of an own goal for the pigs!

and I fully intend to go to the Forest Cafe in Edinburgh and watch it with a bunch of unwashed art-hippies.

But after the tour i reserve the right to torrent the fuck out of it :)

Torrenting is not about the alienated individual watching a film by his or her self with a microwave meal - it is about the free and unrestrained sharing of information.



a quick message to pc sean mcdonald

25.03.2008 16:38

i bet you cant wait to get your chubby fingers on this can you

PC Sean Mcdonald

nice one!!

25.03.2008 18:59

cheers for that schnews, nice one for taking on board the points people have made. i look forward to downloading/uploading it when it goes up.

interested torrent fiend

To Jo Makepeace

25.03.2008 19:15

Thanks for taking our comments on-board.

Also, while I'm at it - thanks for all the great and dedicated work you at SchNEWS do. Kudos, respect, groovy on your soul!!!

Fuck Censorship


25.03.2008 20:12

I'm one of those peeps who can't get to a public screening - though I 100% agree with the need for people to gather and grow against the EDO bastards in public screenings. But I'm happy it's going to be accessible online for others like me - thank you to everyone making it happen x

Quiet one

International Film Screenings? Not Happening (YET) :-((

26.03.2008 10:14

Kind of hard to host a film screening when we can't get a copy of the film! Cheers and Solidarity.

UFU Movie Club, Greece
- Homepage:


28.03.2008 00:06

for best use of oppressive police dirty censorious tactics in promoting a zero budget independent documentary with a political message

goes to



'On The Verge'



28.03.2008 01:52

for getting the torrent up when you do, I can't make a public screening, I look forward to it.

Fly Posters

Interview with Tom on tour on Thursday evening

29.03.2008 22:09

17minutes 45seconds interview recorded with Smash-Edo campaigner Tom at Bristol's Kebele Cafe in Easton. Thursday 27th March 2008.

On The Verge Tour - Police Harassment Backfires ;-)

Members of smashEDO are sure someone is co-ordinating a campaign against the film. Andrew Trivett says: "At first we thought it was just Sussex police being spiteful. But it has become clear that there is an organised effort to stop people seeing it." Sussex police deny involvement in a campaign. A spokesman says: "To confirm, we haven't sent a circular to other police forces."

Audio Tom from On The Verge tour Thu27Mar08 - mp3 12M

Over the past 10 days, Brighton produced film On The Verge has become notorious, not so much because of the material it contains but because of the reaction of police forces and local authorities to it. Made for less than £500, the film tells how a small but committed group of activists, smashEDO, are taking on the Brighton base of an international arms manufacturer and, in the process, their local constabulary.

Tony Gosling
- Homepage:

Could it be?

30.03.2008 06:26

Could it be that there is a short bit in the film that not only shows the police in a bad light but also shows them doing something very illegal and/or actionable?


online movie benefits

02.04.2008 17:03

one good thing about putting a film online - at least, using one of the video hosting sites - is that you can now attach lots of extra information to the film (credits, subtitles, public screening dates, background materials, campaign contacts, links to websites to make comments etc) in the video 'metadata', and make that available to whoever accesses the film as torrent or otherwise. this information is often neglected when people simply burn off copies of dvds or use the last generation of rather crap online video sharing tools. with the full transmission metadata attached to a high quality online video, people can watch a film online, download and screen it to 200 fired up people, burn it, share it, whatever (its creative commons license allows), and also have access to the information that enables them to take action, share it with people abroad and so forth.
hooray for the new generation of networked online video projects!
plus extra hoorays for the schnewsers, smash-edos and all the rest of you lovely people....

- Homepage:

Come on !

02.04.2008 23:16

Put it on YouTube or make it available for download.




03.04.2008 12:50

Having been one of the ealier posters asking for a torrent, on reflection, as frustrting as is is for those of us who want to watch it now, the current way of holding screenings with the police interest in stopping it is building a lot of hype around the film.

Maybe the thing about releasing it as a torrent should be.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Timing


Screening of the film they tried to ban

14.04.2008 19:46

The film will be shown at The Railway Pub, Tulse Hill London, 7 Station Rise on the 16th of April a 8pm.. see you there
Sorry for the short notice.

Smash EDO