Sometimes a project comes along that really captures our attention, and the news of a kickstarter campaign for Christopher Ian Smith's documentary New Town Utopia is exactly one of those moments. The film explores the utopian dreams and concrete realities of Britain's new towns, with a focus on Basildon in Essex where Smith grew up, reflecting on its ambitious and aspirational beginnings and its subsequent fall from grace.
New Town Utopia is, therefore, a journey into art, architecture and memory, and the stories of those people who call Basildon home. The idea is to discuss the question of whether it is people who make a place, or if a place makes the people... have a watch of the film they have put together for the kickstarter campaign to learn more about it and it hear Smith talk about his motivations for making the film:
New Town Utopia has been four years in the making, but as Smith has said, there is a certain urgency to its message right at this moment: “It is more relevant than ever - as the housing crisis exposes the long term impact of ‘right to buy’, globalisation continues to decimate the traditional high streets, and the Brexit vote revealed the depth of dissatisfaction of the Basildon people with their lot. This film is a chance to explore the complexities of a place so often derided on local and national level. In doing so it reflects on the issues impacting all our towns and communities”