Spanner Films

Production Company
Spanner Films Logo
Camden, London, UK
Day job:
Producing and distributing low-budget, high-impact films
Dream job:
Producing and distributing high-budget, mega-high-impact films
The Age of Stupid, McLibel, Drowned Out, Baked Alaska & Truth or Dairy
Time on the job:
Since day one
Jet, jeep, bus or bike:
Our accountant claims we were the first UK company with "bicycle miles" rather than "car miles" in our official accounts
Memorable moment:
One of the best things about making independent films is that life is jam-packed with memorable moments, both good and bad
Planning to spend profits on:
Spending 95% of our time filmmaking and 5% fundraising, rather than the opposite


Spanner Films is a small London-based documentary film production company founded by producer/director Franny Armstrong in 1997. Notable productions include the no-budget epic McLibel (1997/2005) - the story of a postman and a gardener who took on McDonald's and won, with courtroom reconstructions by Ken Loach - and Drowned Out (2002), which follows an Indian family who decide to stay at home and drown rather than make way for the Narmada Dam.

With zero backing from the mainstream TV industry, Spanner's films have now been seen by a total of more than 53 million people.

After accidentally making McLibel completely independently (as no broadcaster would commission it), they discovered the benefits of owning the complete rights to a production - namely editorial freedom and millions more viewers - and have since pioneered the "crowd-funding" model as a means to raise production funds whilst retaining all distribution rights, for which they were recently featured in TIME magazine. For the upcoming release of The Age of Stupid they have developed a new distribution model, which is inherently fairer to the producer and should ensure a wider audience - more details soon.

All of Spanner Films - and all their friends and most of their families - have been working on The Age of Stupid since December 2004. Here's what they've been doing, in too much detail.