Film makers highlighting demise of British pub optimistic for sector's future

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Still danger: film makers hope their documentary can inspire others to start campaigns to save their local
Still danger: film makers hope their documentary can inspire others to start campaigns to save their local
The people behind a film that raises awareness of the demise of the British pub have said although it's still a "very challenging time to be a publican", they believe there is now "more positivity" in the industry from when they started the project four years ago.

Ripping Out the Bar​ follows the story of a group of locals in Hackney, east London, who are determined to save their neighbourhood pub, the Chesham Arms, and restore it to its former glory.

The documentary, which was made by amateur film makers Jon Yeomans, business writer and news editor at The Daily Telegraph​​, and Sukhpah Sahota, television producer at Maverick TV, looks at the social and economic forces that are battering the pub industry, and finds out why so many publicans are finding it hard to survive.

Made on a low budget, the documentary was shot at weekends and in the pair's spare time, and was originally screened at the Hackney Archives, Dalston. 

"We had a very good reaction to the screening," said Yeomans.

"It provoked a lot of debate among a lot of very passionate people, from locals who were part of the campaign to more casual observers who didn't really know too much about the pub sector before."

Inspiring future campaigns

The team is hoping to continue promoting the film online, mostly through word of mouth.

"We've had a lot of interest from community groups that want to screen it and perhaps help them get their own campaigns going to save their local pub – which would be a great outcome," Yeomans continued.

"While each case of a pub under threat is different, the story of the Chesham Arms being saved is quite inspiring and I believe it can provide a model of how a campaign group can make a change but they have to be very, very organised and motivated, which the Chesham campaigners were."

He added: "Over the time we made the film, I think there is a perhaps little more positivity in the industry – the rate of reported pub closures seems to have slowed a little, and pubs are trying to find new ways of enticing people in.

"The change in the law to give pubs slightly more protection from being converted is welcome. But it's still a very challenging time to be a publican and the danger of pubs in London, especially being converted to other use, seems as great as ever."

The documentary is now available on Vimeo for a 30-day rental at £1.77.

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