Lizzie Gillett came to London from NZ in 2001, where she'd been working in TV producing a weekly sports show. She volunteered to work with indie filmmaker Franny Armstrong (McLibel) at Spanner Films and by 2004 Lizzie was one of the producers of ‘The Age of Stupid’.
Over the five year production she managed a crew of 105 people in six countries and a budget of one million pounds. She helped develop and then implemented the unique "crowd-funding" scheme whereby 228 people and groups (including a hockey team and a women's health centre) invested between £500 and £35,000. They each own a % of the profits, as do the crew who all worked at massively reduced wages.
The film was the number one at the UK box office on it’s opening weekend, reached number four in the Amazon pre-order charts and was nominated for best documentary at both the prestigious Grierson awards and the BIFAs (British Independent Film Awards). There have been screenings of the film in the UN, the World Bank, the US Govt Environment Agency and in the UK, Australian, Swedish, Canadian, Australian and Dutch Parliaments. Kofi Annan personally hosted a screening at the Global Humanitarian Forum. There are more than 6.5 million references to the film online and it has been featured in most major media including New York Times (front page), BBC News, Channel 4, BBC Radio 2, 3 & 4, Newsnight, CNN, Time magazine, Sunday Times, Telegraph, The Sun, Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, GMTV and so on.
Lizzie produced the Global Premiere of the film, an event which more than one million people in 63 countries participated in, including Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Moby and Kofi Annan who all appeared live as part of the post-screening show.
For this Guinness World Record breaking event she managed over three hundred people across the 63 participating countries. Working closely with both mainstream commercial cinema distributors and campaigning organisations such as Greenpeace, Moveon.org, Avaaz and Friends of the Earth proved challenging as their motives were so different (profit versus political change) but all parties were happy with the results – a real success for getting a radical political message into the mainstream.
She helped set up and run the revolutionary Indie Screenings model through which over 1300 local screenings have now been organised by concerned individuals from Afghanistan and Argentina to Australia and Alaska.
Lizzie produced and directed a live daily web TV show from Copenhagen, called “The Stupid Show’ which aimed to make the complex political negotiations understandable to the general public.
In August 2006 while filming in Jordan Lizzie and Franny initiated and implemented a sponsorship scheme in which Westerners paid the school fees of 131 Iraqi refugee children.
Lizzie’s been invited to speak at international conferences, film festivals and leading film schools including Berlin, Cannes, London and Edinburgh Film Festivals, and at Film Independent in LA, The Foreign Office, EAVE, The ICA, The National Film Theatre in London and the prestigious Directors Guild of America.
She was featured by Harpers Bazaar magazine as a “21st century heroine”, one of twenty “exceptional women changing the world for the better through the work they do" and by Vogue as one of the UK’s leading “female eco-warriors”.
Lizzie is a Director of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand London Branch.
Lizzie's now the global campaign director for the 10:10 campaign which is now active in 40 countries.
Read Lizzie's list: "44 Craziest Things I did for the film"
Lizzie goes home to New Zealand
Lizzie and Franny's one argument ever (well nearly)
The cycle protest fails to beat the tireless producer
Filming a winning doc requires sacrifice
A near death experience in New Orleans
PICTURES - click on thumbnails for bigger version
- McLibel, 2005, 85 mins, Assistant Producer: Updated and extended version of McLibel released theatrically in the US, UK, Austria. Broadcast on BBC4 and BBC2 in 2005. Has also sold to 33 TV stations around the world.
- The Dammed, 2003, 70 mins, Assistant Producer: Shorter, updated Drowned Out, made for PBS and sold worldwide.
- Draft Bill, 2004, 30 mins, Director / Producer: A Critical Look at the Mental Health Bill.
- DVD Outsider: Very Helpful