As the #BlackLivesMatter movement gained momentum throughout the US over the past few years, the fight against police brutality and racist oppression was simultaneously erupting overseas. In Generation Revolution, London-based filmmaker activists Usayd Younis and Cassie Quarless follow British activist organizations the London Black Revolutionaries, the R Movement, and the Black Dissidents from 2014 to 2015.
“We really found that there was a lot of anger on what was going on politically in our country,” says Quarless. “But people didn’t necessarily feel as though it was a reality that you could be involved in activism and that activism could actually be used to change things.” Though the film is focused on a British story, Younis and Quarless don’t want the conversation to stop in the UK. They argue that issues of police brutality, gentrification, and homelessness–highlighted in the film–are happening on a global scale. “We want to be thinking about these issues in a global context,” says Quarless. “You guys are fighting for rights [in the US] and we’re doing that in the UK as well, and there are people in France doing the same thing, people in Germany doing the same thing.”
The film premiered in June 2016 at the international Sheffield Doc/Fest and has since showed in cities across the UK and US, including Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. Many screenings include Q&As with the Younis and Quarless and, in some cases, with local activists as well. Positive Force DC is collaborating with the filmmakers for one of the screenings in Columbia Heights this week.