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Mark of a Free Society

2018 // Educational Film, Informational Film, Digital 2D


Dir: Robert Grieves

What is the film about?

In the industrial revolution, conditions were so brutal that death at work was commonplace. This sparked the world’s first trade unions that are still active today. This animation uses our own history to explore the human right to form workers’ groups.

History of workers’ rights
The right of citizens to organise in trade unions is a mark of a free society! This animation explains the development of workers’ rights by returning to the birth of the world’s first unions, during the British Industrial Revolution. Across the transport industries, conditions were so extreme that accidental death was an accepted daily occurrence. Lack of regulation drove workers to unite, initially undercover, but eventually as vast, powerful unions. This animation charts one of those British unions, the largest in the transport industry, the RMT (Rail Maritime and Transport).

Maxine Peake
Known for her powerful acting roles in Shameless, Black Mirror, and Hamlet, it’s Maxine Peake’s political reputation that makes her the perfect voice for this project. In 2017, Maxine was a key public figure in the rise of Corbyn, and campaigned hard for Labour’s success at the polls. This combination of Peake’s vocal delivery and Socialist reputation brings immediate kudos to this animated film.

What influenced it?

Members of the RMT had seen Robert’s animation about the Russian Revolution, marking its centenary in 2017, which had been watched by over 300k Facebook users. The Union wanted Robert to communicate their history in the same engaging way to social media audiences, thus reaching a new demographic.

A little background information...

The RMT commissioned Robert to reach out to an audience beyond their members, showing how their values in 2018 are rooted in the same fundamental human rights they started with.


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