‘Money Puzzles’ now online

“Sharp critique” – “Fascinating” – “Outstanding achievement”
“a brilliant and illuminating film with really good storytelling and construction
of its epic subject” 

Money Puzzles addresses the widespread misunderstandings about money and debt to be found in both the media and everyday life, not to mention university economics departments. It questions the illusory qualities of the myriad forms of money in the twenty-first century, along with the falsehoods and distortions of the economics on which austerity politics is based. It asks about the role of debt as a form of control and coercion at international, national and household levels, and what happens when debts become unpayable. It also reports on alternative approaches variously found in the social solidarity movements in countries like Greece and Spain, complementary currencies in the UK, the international campaign for citizens debt audits, and the need for universal principles for sovereign debt restructuring recognised by the UN General Assembly last year.

Money Puzzles is a counter-narrative to mainstream economic orthodoxy. It also dispenses with the conventions of the mainstream documentary – the all-knowing narrator, the balanced opinions – and turns to different voices: economics students in England frustrated with the inadequacy of what they’re being taught, solidarity volunteers in Greece, anti-eviction activists in Spain, advocates of citizens debt audits across Europe, critical economists like Costas Lapavitsas, Molly Scott-Cato, Johnna Mongomerie and Axel Kicillof.

It is not without irony that a film about money is constrained by lack of it: the subject matter of the film is necessary for making it. Working from an academic base but very much at the margins, with only small tranches of academic funding, the film was made with support in kind from colleagues (especially the Political Economy Research Centre (PERC) at Goldsmiths), and a small crowd-funder. I also owe a great debt of gratitude to friends and colleagues in Greece, Spain, Belgium and Argentina who helped to make it happen, and to the community groups who opened their doors to our cameras.

But if the film’s mode of production is determined by the structuring constraints of our lack of finances, the flexibility of digital video enables alternate forms of dissemination, and Money Puzzles is designed for multiple forms of use.

The complete version, running 130mns, comprises nine chapters.
The short version runs 58mns.
Watch them here.

The chapters will soon be made available individually. But as we know, a film comes alive best in front of an audience, so here’s the call. If anyone would like to arrange a screening, do please get in touch.

LOGO small




version español: Memoria interrumpida



A documentary about memory and politics in Argentina and Chile



A film about the City of London, the Corporation that governs it, and its role in the economic crisis. 

Directed by Michael Chanan – Written by Lee Salter

On 15 October 2011 anti-capitalist protestors, intending to set up camp in front of the London Stock Exchange in Paternoster Square under the banner of Occupy LSX, were ejected from the square and parked themselves instead in front of St Paul’s Cathedral. The result was one of the starting points for this film: a highly public debate about capitalism and the Church.

But there was also another power acting in the shadows to eventually eject the Occupiers – the City of London Corporation. An ancient body which dates back before William the Conqueror, before there was a parliament in Westminster, which zealously guards its autonomy and privileges to this day.

This is the subject of Secret City: a state within a state, with deleterious effects on democracy, politics and economics in London, the country, and the world, for the City is the linchpin of global finance capital. In short, not just a film for Londoners—especially in these times of crisis, the role of the City concerns everyone everywhere.

Secret City had its premiere on October 16, 2012 at the House of Commons.

Available on DVD and streaming from E2 Films


Three Short Films About Chile

A trilogy by Michael Chanan made on a visit to Chile in November 2011.

1. Homage ・ 2. Community ・ 3. Protest
2012, 34mns 

Three glimpses of Chile in 2011. Homage is a visit to Valparaiso. Community is a portrait of
Población La Victoria and its community television station, Señal 3. Protest is an account 
of the momentous student protest movement—the occupations, marches, demonstrations, 
street actions and web activism—and its tremendous impact on the country’s political life, 
as they denounce the most intensely privatised education system in the world, demand the 
return of free public education, and question the legitimacy of actually existing democracy in Chile.


Chronicle of Protest: the film


(UK 2011) dir. Michael Chanan 90m. Digital.

A video diary about the movement against
government spending cuts in the universities and beyond
with students, activists and citizens of the real big society.

Featuring Terryl Bacon, Terry Eagleton, Mehdi Hasan, Joe Kelleher, Josie Long,
Len McCluskey, Blake Morrison, Paul O’Prey, Nina Power, Michael Rosen,
Lee Salter, Clifford Singer, Sly and Reggie, Mary Warnock and more.

With songs by Banner Theatre.

In collaboration with the New Statesman and Roehampton University.

Premiered Sat 30 April 2011 • East End Film Festival


Comments are closed.