Finally some exciting news out of the Croisette - Britain's fifth largest retailer, the UK's biggest farmer and the world's biggest seller of fair trade, non-animal tested and ethically sourced products and services, the Co-Op, is moving into film distribution, starting with the hotly awaited docs Burma VJ and The Vanishing of the Bees.
We often lament in my flat the march to sell out, that has seen the loss of once exclusively Fair Trade Green and Blacks to Cadburys, Pret a Manger to McDonalds, BodyShop to L'Oreal and Innocent to Coke, but often forget a Manchester-founded stalwart whose principles have neither diminished nor been bought out. Continuing to expand in the UK, and my local 24-hour corner shop, the news of the Co-Op's involvement in the social documentary area of the film business, especially given its huge marketing and retail space across its 2,500 stores and its ethical bank, is the best film news I've heard all year. Forget the Auto Workers Union owning 45% of Chrysler - the Co-Op is entirely member and worker owned, and with 3 million members is the UK's largest membership organisation. Best of all, with a film like The Vanishing of the Bees, the co-op is in the rare position of being able to effect a part of the change called in the films, through its farming, investment and trading practices.
and I don't think ScreenDaily have written this up yet ;-) Press release clippings follow:
This unique two-way partnership will see Dogwoof and The Co-operative jointly financing the marketing and distribution costs associated with campaigning films on important issues, starting with BURMA VJ and THE VANISHING OF THE BEES.
Both films, which will be premiered in the UK later this year, reflect two of The Co-operative’s hard hitting campaigns – to support the oppressed people of Burma and to help reverse the decline in the honeybee population.
Paul Monaghan, Head of Social Goals and Sustainability at The Co-operative, said:
“We recognise the power of film to motivate people to take action and drive change, and hope that these films will help mobilise our members and the general public.
“The Co-operative, the UK’s largest member-owned business, has three million members and a unique 165 year history of campaigning for change. With support from our customer-members, we have been campaigning for democracy in Burma for years and are leading the fight to save the honeybee. “