The MP for Bolsover is the focus of “Dennis Skinner - The Nature of the Beast” in a film which looks at his passion and drive.
Raised alongside nine siblings in the mining community of Clay Cross, Dennis has fought for the rights of the working class for over 50-years. Uncompromising in his views and with a set of incorruptible principles, Dennis is respected and feared on both sides of the House of Commons.
The film tracks his rise from a local councillor to today where he is one of Britain’s most recognisable politicians - known as ‘The Beast of Bolsover’.
After interviewing Dennis for a previous project - a documentary about Robert Tressell’s book, ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ - director Daniel Draper approached Dennis about making a feature-length documentary about his life and contribution to British politics. After a 90-minute phone conversation about football, nature, literature, musicals, Woody Allen films (and a little bit of politics) Dennis decided he trusted Dan to make the first documentary about him and his politics.
Photography began late 2014 after a small grant was received from the National Union of Mineworkers and several union branches. Due to the minuscule budget, all the crew volunteered their time and expertise over a period of 18 months, travelling a combined 3000 miles across the country and working around Dennis’s busy schedule.
After photography was wrapped mid 2016, a successful crowd-funding campaign raised archive and post-production costs. The autumn of 2017 will mark three years since the birth of the project which, thanks to the hard work and commitment of a small team, is now ready to be released.
Director Daniel Draper said: “Working with Dennis over the last three years has been an absolute joy - to have such access to a political stalwart, to witness his passion first hand and to capture his narrative on film has been an honour. He is the personification of what the Labour party should be, and his principles are particularly relevant in today’s political climate. It’s important that a portrait of this man exists, and I’m thrilled Dennis trusted me to do it.”
Dennis Skinner - The Nature of the Beast will be released in UK cinemas on September 8. It will be screened at the East End Film Festival on June 17.