Lights, camera, Dalston: Hackney stars again

St Mark's Lon E8 filming feature about CND Feb 2012

HACKNEY’S ATTRACTION for film-makers continues as a feature film shoots in Shoreditch and Dalston.

Birkbeck Mews and St Mark’s Church hall have been locations this week for a movie with the working title of Bomb. Dark Mirror Films of Pinewood is believed to be the production company. It is taking a chance by casting actors who are not yet big names.

The film is a look at one of the most astonishing social movements of the last half-century.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament(CND) started in London in 1958 when several thousand people packed into a hall in Westminster to demand that the UK renounced nuclear weapons and encouraged other nations to disarm.

CND symbol
Top: Actors take a break from the glamour of filming in Hackney and, above, the CND symbol

At the time the West (democratic countries) had encircled the younger Soviet Union/USSR (totalitarian Russia’s unpleasant empire) with thousands of nuclear-weapon-carrying missiles.

The Russians frantically tried to compete in what became termed the Cold War arms race. The cost of this militarisation was such that it is seen as a big factor in the empire’s collapse in 1990.

Around the world people accepted that a nuclear holocaust could erupt at any moment. Hence CND attracted famous people, among them an aristocrat-philosopher Bertrand Russell. A Roman Catholic priest, Bruce Kent, became the face of the British protest group, whose Mercedes-Benz-like symbol went global. Membership hit a peak in 1983. It now campaigns against nuclear power.

The film-maker’s hiring of St Mark’s hall comes at a good time. The magnificent church and superbly detailed ancillary buildings are undergoing re-roofing and decorative plasterwork repairs.

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