Franny Armstrong

Franny Crew 2
London, England
The Age of Stupid, McLibel, Drowned Out, Baked Alaska & lots of little ones
Time on the job:
One lifetime
Jet, jeep, bus or bike:
Original connection:
Dreamt up the whole kaboodle
Memorable moment:
Good, bad and ugly ones almost every day
Scared of:
Climate change and maggots
Guilty of:
Murdering pop songs round the piano




Franny writes regular messages for the Spanner Films email list - join via our homepage - as well as her Facebook page and Twitter account. For press or speaking enquiries, please contact There's a high-res press photo available for download here



Former pop drummer and self-taught filmmaker Franny Armstrong, born 1972, has directed three feature documentaries - The Age of Stupid (2008), McLibel (2005) and Drowned Out (2003) - which have together been seen by 70 million people on TV, cinema, internet and DVD worldwide. In the early days of the internet in 1996 she founded the McSpotlight website, which  Wired magazine described as "the blueprint for all activist websites". Through her company, Spanner Films, Franny pioneered the “crowd-funding” finance model, which allows filmmakers to raise reasonable-size budgets whilst retaining ownership of their films - Age of Stupid is the most successful known example, raising £900,000+ from 300+ investors - as well as the “Indie Screenings” distribution system, which lets anyone make a profit by holding screenings of independent films - Stupid was screened locally 1,100+ times in the first six months. In March 2009, the solar-powered Age of Stupid "People's Premiere" set a new Guinness World Record by being simultaneously screened in 63 cinemas across Britain, whilst only producing 1% of the emissions of a standard premiere. It also hit No 1 at the UK Box Office, backed by zero pounds spent on advertising. Then in September 2009, a million people watched Stupid's Global Premiere event - featuring Kofi Annan, Gillian Anderson & Radiohead's Thom Yorke - in 700 cinemas in 63 countries, linked by satellite. In September 2009 Franny founded the 10:10 climate campaign which aims to cut the UK's carbon emissions by 10% during 2010 and which has amassed huge cross-societal support including Adidas, Microsoft, Spurs FC, the Royal Mail, 75,000 people, 1,500 schools, a third of local councils, the entire UK Government and the Prime Minister. 10:10 launched internationally in March 2010 and, as of July 2010, has autonomous campaigns up and running in 41 countries, where some of the key sign-ups include the French Tennis Open, the city of Oslo and L'oreal. 10:10 estimates that organisations doing 10:10 have so far cut 500,000 tonnes of C02.

Franny has written chapters for three books, won Sheffield Doc Fest's "Inspiration Award", been called a "21st Century Heroine" by Harper's Bizarre, an "Eco Hero of the Decade" by The Guardian, one of "London's 1,000 most influential people" by The Evening Standard, one of the world's "Top 100 Women" by the Guardian and "Green Personality of the Year" by Edie. She is Professor Franny at Wolverhampton University and she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Open University at Exeter Catherdral in 2016 for her "exceptionally innovative and socially responsible methods to make social justice films more accessible to the general public". Her latest projects are the climate comedy PIE NET ZERO (2020) which trended at #9 on YouTube globally, and WHAT IF? (2019) starring Ed Miliband, Caroline Lucas and Chris Packham in a parallell universe where humans ARE tackling climate change.  




The highs, lows, very highs and very lows of making independent films.



"Oh no, not another film about climate change" - Huffington Post, September 2009
"Coinflip chance of avoiding climate catastrophe" - Huffington Post, August 2009
"MTV generation has something important to do" - The Guardian, September 2009
"Should greens vote Green?" - The Guardian, May 2010
"What good was I to the Narmada villagers?" - Guardian article about the making of Drowned Out, August 2002
McLibel chapter in "Battling Big Business" book published 2002
Franny's Age of Stupid diaries



"Can this woman save humanity?" - Time Out magazine
"The Age of Stupid is the future of film" - Huffington Post
Birth of the 10:10 campaign - The Guardian
"Saturday interview" in The Guardian:
"For Independent Filmmakers Final Cut Is Now Just Step One" - Front page of New York Times
"21st Century Heroines" - Harper's Bazaar magazine
"Green Personality of the Year" - beating Barack Obama!
Spanner's interview with Franny
about why and how she made The Age of Stupid.




See the Spanner Films photo galleries for tonnes more.
High-res press photo available for download here




 Here's a few highlights - see the Spanner Films video page for tonnes more.

The complete 50-minute documentary, The Making of The Age of Stupid

Stupid's Guinness World Record-winning solar-powered
UK premiere which led to a change in the UK law and
a major policy announcement from the Maldives. 

Stupid's Global Premiere, which got very out of hand
very quickly but was kind-of a triumph in that it
got climate change out to a million viewers in
63 countries. With the help of Thom Yorke and
Kofi Annan.

Franny's final thoughts for The Stupid Show as the
Copenhagen climate summit collapses into uselessness.

Reunion in Copenhagen with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson,
who'd come to Franny's rescue whilst she was being mugged by
a girlgang a month earlier (no, really). 

Franny interviewed by The Guardian for the launch of 10:10

Franny and the UK climate minister Ed Miliband
fighting about flying on the BBC's Newsnight

"On my head with Ed" - Franny interviewing Ed Miliband
in Copenhagen whilst bringing half-remembered childhood

gymnastic skills out of the bag





The Age of Stupid
Global Premiere
The Stupid Show
10:10 Global
10:10 UK

Indie Screenings
Drowned Out