Jun 302011
 

The Belmont Cinema has held ‘you’ve been trumped’ over for two more weeks due to popular demand writes Voice’s Suzanne Kelly.

Three more screenings have been scheduled over the coming weekend to cater for the sustained public interest in the film.
I attended it again last Sunday; Director Anthony Baxter was present and held another Q&A session after the film.  This session overran with many people staying behind in the bar to discuss the issues with him.

Long-term Menie resident Susan Munro was also present, and answered several questions.  Since filming, Ms Munro’s garden and car have been affected by a huge mound of sand which the construction engineers left very close to her property.

This will be the second consecutive weekend that the Belmont Picturehouse has added screenings of ‘You’ve Been Trumped’ to their schedule since it’s City premiere on June 17. Such has been the demand.

Belmont Cinema Assistant Manager Kenny says:

“We do screen quite a few documentaries, but interest for this film has been overwhelming.  We are very happy to have been able to add more screenings.”

In the current issue of Aberdeen Voice, you can read my review of Anthony Baxter’s award winning film.
See: youve-been-trumped-suzanne-kelly-reviews/

Since writing this review, major newspapers The Guardian and The Daily Mail have expressed interest in the Trump development.  They report Donald Trump has expressed concerns that ‘the world has changed’ since he bought land at Menie and has asked ‘where’s the market?’

The additional screenings will be held

Friday 1 July, 6.30pm
Saturday 2 July, 1.45pm
Sunday 3 July, 6.30pm

Anthony Baxter is on his way to the New York screening of ‘you’ve been trumped’; the funding he needed is coming from the public.  If you would like to support ‘you’ve been trumped’, then please visit:

You’ve Been Trumped’s crowd-funding campaign and trailer:
http://www.indiegogo.com/TAKE-YOUVE-BEEN-TRUMPED-TO-TRUMP

Additional information on the film can be found here:
www.youvebeentrumped.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Youve-Been-Trumped/187472834621346

Jun 302011
 

Documentaries on the whole can be, well boring to tell the truth.  They have to tell you what’s going on and why, and/or teach you something.  They are factual and more often than not dry.  Voice’s Suzanne Kelly watched  ‘you’ve been trumped’ which in the simplest terms tells the story of Donald Trump’s building of  ‘the world’s greatest golf course’ at the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire.

If you thought this meant a few stubborn local people were being unreasonable, then this film will grab you by the shoulders and shake you.  If you thought what was going on at Menie was undemocratic and environmentally dubious, you will be shocked at  how very, very much worse things are than you had ever imagined.  (I had tried to keep up with developments; this documentary has opened my eyes).

Baxter opens and closes his film with cuts from the classic cult film set in Pennan, ‘Local Hero.’ His re-enactment of the phone box scene is already being hailed as iconic (I shan’t spoil it for you – go see it).

If ‘Local Hero’ had been written today, you would think it was paying homage to what’s going on at Menie.  In the cult classic ‘Local Hero’, a lone man refuses to leave his Scottish coastal property and is thus halting big business from ruining the environment with a destructive, massive building plan.

Sadly, the Menie saga will not get the happy ending ‘Local Hero’ gave us.  The dunes are wrecked, the landscape forever altered by a flotilla of bulldozers.

Of particular concern to ecologists and scientists was the fate of the moveable sand dune system -  the last one in Scotland if you are interested – which is no more.  Trump has, as he put it ‘stabilised’ it.  This unique ecosystem, once a ‘Site of Specific Interest’ (SSI) is now a giant, barren sandbox filled with diggers.

Trees were filmed as they were torn from the earth and buried – several hundred of them it seemed.  Baxter interviews a scientist, who lets us know in no uncertain terms that this is an environmental disaster (a SSI is the highest level of protection a site can be given.  The Government decided it was not as important as ‘jobs creation’).  The scenes of coastal countryside bliss early in the film are followed by earthmoving equipment destroying the ecosystems – you don’t need a degree in environmental studies to see how terrible a thing this is, you just need eyes.

The film also uses some beautiful animation sequences of animal life superimposed over the pristine landscape that used to be the home of the Menie families.  There are very poignant scenes involving many of the residents, but particularly moving are scenes of life-long resident Molly Forbes tending her garden and chickens.

She is also pivotal in Baxter’s incorporating old movie footage (pre WWII if I am not mistaken) of the area.  There are scenes of the agricultural and fishing heritage which is being swept away by both by ‘progress’ and Trump’s pursuit of what he calls ‘the world’s greatest golf course’.

Those residents being filmed retain their outward self-possession, but Baxter captures the frustration, sadness and fear which Trump brought to them with his construction tactics.

Over the months of filming you feel the anxiety and tension build.  An art event is held which adds optimism and shows local resistance.  However, the threat of compulsory purchase orders (where the Government could claim their land and force them out) lingered for a long and clearly took its toll on the residents.  So did having to go without water for over a week (a construction-related deprivation), losing a power line (snapped by a Trump earthmover), and ever-present private Trump security.

The viewer is amazed this relatively small number of residents handle it as well as they do.  The photographic documentation of these events is incontrovertible and extremely moving.  The Trump organisation derides Baxter as a ‘fraud’ and ‘failure’.

I never before found myself shouting and making comments during a documentary, but I was far from alone in doing so; the theatre echoed with shouts and indignant cries.  Baxter has grabbed his audience, and they wait for the next development eagerly and angrily.  He is not being sensationalist:  he is documenting and we are reacting.

A word on Mr Donald Trump is called for.  If Baxter’s film had been fiction, it would have been universally criticised for inventing (what is in my opinion) such an extremely pompous, deceitful, greedy, sexist megalomaniac villain.

When we first see Trump, nearly the first thing he does is try to hire some beauty competition winner (Miss Glasgow or some such thing) who had been invited to his press launch.

“She’s beautiful…. very nice…  Maybe she wants a job in marketing or something.” The Donald seems to direct at one of his staff.

Exactly how this gigantic housing development, resort and golf club got planning permission is a mystery only a few people can explain – and they are not talking.

The Aberdeenshire Council voted against the proposal when it first came up – its scale and environmental impact had all of the wildlife experts and charities (RSPB, WWF, Ramblers Association) dead set against it.  Martin Ford of the Aberdeenshire Council explained that Trump’s plans disregarded existing planning criteria.

Mr Salmond, our SNP Scottish leader, was by all accounts meeting Mr Trump for dinner and such.  Before anyone knew what had happened, the Scottish Parliament did what had never been done before:  it called the rejected application in, and gave it the green light.  Salmond is shown explaining how the ‘economic benefits’ and ‘job creation’ promised exceeded the value of our environment.  A subsequent interview with a London School of Economics seems to be the only critique performed on Trump’s figures.  Suffice it to say that the LSE expert had more than a few doubts.

Baxter uses these experts to illustrate the issues and gives us the sequence of events.  There are interviews with  the key players – including a reluctant Trump who is confronted by Baxter at the RGU press conference.  Trump was rattled.  Robert Gordon University awarded ‘The Donald’ an honorary Doctorate.  One of the most powerful scenes in the documentary is when Dr Kennedy, the first principal of RGU, returns his degree.

In a passionate speech Kennedy declares:

“Don’t trample your neighbours; don’t destroy the environment…Somebody’s got to stand up to this….”

When you see this documentary, you will see what kinds of pressures were and still are exerted on the residents and the documentary makers for standing up.  Perhaps the scene most fraught with tension is when Baxter has little control over the filming – as he is being arrested in an outrageous fashion by Grampian Police, virtually attacked, cuffed and thrown in a police car.

Whatever warranted this physical mistreatment?  There is no trace of cause in the events leading to the arrests.  Four hours later he and Phinney are released; their film is held for one week by the authorities.  Welcome to 21st Century Scotland.  We are ‘open for business’.

Coda:  Donald Trump arrived in Aberdeen last week on his partially gold-plated jet; he wants Alex Salmond and/or Sean Connery to open his resort.  On 7 July ‘you’ve been trumped’ will show in New York City:  I await audience and press reaction eagerly.

Watch this space; watch this film.

More City Screenings For ‘You’ve Been Trumped’. click here for more info

Jun 242011
 

In contrast to the local established press’s slavering over the crazy golf antics at Menie, Andrew Baxter’s film You’ve Been Trumped, premiered at The Belmont Cinema last Friday, gets behind the hype to expose the darker side of the saga. This is Sean Ashley‘s view.

Last Friday evening I was very lucky in being able to attend the Scottish premiere of You’ve Been Trumped.

Tickets had sold out very quickly and although the Belmont Cinema had laid on an extra screening the following day, I wanted to be there for the premiere.

It was indeed exciting.

The film, produced by Richard Phinney and directed by Anthony Baxter, tells the story of unprecedented environmental destruction and the effect on families by the development of Donald Trump’s golf resort at Menie.

In NE Scotland, the reality of what has been happening has often failed to be published by the local press and I wanted to see with my own eyes a truthful description of events.

The film began with a look at the family history of Molly Forbes, her son Michael and their close connection to the land and sea in this part of Scotland. This, if I were to be asked, was my favourite part of the film as it reminded me of Scotland’s heritage and identity which could easily be forgotten if it were not for old sepia pictures and film stills, and, more importantly, memories of folk like Molly.

Further on in the film I witnessed the bullying and intimidation experienced by the families living in their own homes, but surrounded by Trump’s estate. The level of contempt held by the Trump Organisation towards their peaceful living neighbours was astonishing.

Whilst watching, I felt angry and upset at the injustice the Forbes, Milne and Munro families experienced. Care and support for them from the authorities was blatantly non-existent.

I was also touched by the dignity of the residents and the suffering they have endured, often  unreported, but am very glad their voices have been allowed to be heard through this documentary.

I hope You’ve Been Trumped will be seen by many, many people.

* Stop PressAdditional screenings will be held at Belmont Picturehouse, Aberdeen:-

Friday 24 June at 6.30pm
Saturday 25 June at 1.45pm
Sunday 26 June at 6.30pm

Jun 242011
 

‘You’ve Been Trumped’ is a new documentary taking on Donald Trump’s invasion of Scotland.  Director Anthony Baxter talks to Voice’s Suzanne Kelly about movie making in Scotland, Trump, Menie’s residents and environment, the future – and getting arrested for a ‘breach of the peace’.

Anthony Baxter meets me in the Belmont Cinema Saturday afternoon; an extra day’s showing of his documentary, ‘You’ve Been Trumped’ has been added by popular demand.

Tickets for the previous night had sold out at a fantastic pace, rivalled only by the demand the Belmont experienced for the last Harry Potter movie.  Rather impressive for a documentary about building a golf course.

However, this is no ordinary golf course, no ordinary bit of coastline, and certainly no ordinary people at the story’s heart.

Although there are a large number of people wanting and needing his time before the movie starts, he invites me to sit with him for an interview, and offers me more time afterwards should I need it?

The documentary had its Scottish premier at the Belmont the night before, and residents of Menie were warmly-received guests of honour.  When the film ended last night, it received a standing ovation – something I have never seen for a documentary — with long-suffering Menie residents Molly Forbes and Michael Forbes getting applause.

The audience included Martin Ford, the Aberdeenshire Councillor who cast a deciding vote against Trump’s plans before the Scottish Government called in the plan and allowed the devastation of the Menie Estate.  This was a completely unprecedented move on the Scottish Government’s part.

Baxter greets me enthusiastically; he is eager to talk about last night, and he is filled with thanks for all of those who came, and those who supported the film’s creation, particularly the Menie residents and his producer, Richard Phinney.

I ask him how he became interested in Trump’s plans for building ‘the world’s greatest golf course.’

“My grandfather lived in Montrose, and we often went up the coast to Menie when I was young,”

“I wanted to make the film – it was a very important story and it wasn’t being told properly… it was not being reported.”

We discuss the glaring absence of newspaper coverage of last night’s event (both Northsound Radio and STV covered the film’s premier, but there was not a word in the Press & Journal or the Evening Express).

“It was the biggest documentary ticket sales demand at this cinema, and none of the local press even mentioned it,” Baxter comments.

As a local event it was newsworthy – as a documentary on a controversial Aberdeenshire issue, it was doubly so.  Elsewhere in the world, the press are less coy.  The Times and The Guardian newspapers aren’t so myopic – they have covered the documentary prominently.  In the wider world The Toronto Star, Canada’s biggest selling newspaper, declared:-

“You’ve Been Trumped is a “shattering chronicle… of American greed, hubris and stupidity.”

Baxter tells me that in Canada the audience was extremely angry after seeing the film, and couldn’t believe Donald Trump’s golf resort had been given the go-ahead in Scotland.  Today’s audience was no less angry.

“How did you finance your film?” I ask. Baxter answers by first thanking those who helped – the credits contain a fairly long list of sponsors and supporters.

He explains his frustration at the lack of Scottish arts funding:  none of our government-sponsored arts bodies has given him anything at all towards his film’s creation.  He had applied for a £10,000 grant – he was turned down.  Apparently the Scottish government funding source which turned him down concluded ‘there was not enough audience interest.’

I would love to ask this agency what it has to say now.

“I also had to re-mortgage my house.”

I asked him to repeat, and he confirms this.  It takes a particular kind of bravery to invest any money and time to pursue a creative venture in the first place – but to be willing to risk your home to make a film about one of the world’s most lawsuit-happy entrepreneurs must take nerves of steel.

I mention that ‘You’ve Been Trumped’ has just won an award.

“It’s fantastic to get the Sheffield Doc/Fest Green Award– it’s the highest environmental documentary accolade in Great Britain.” Baxter explains.

“Now I just want to get the film seen by as many people as possible.”

The judges who awarded the prize said:-

“This year’s Green Award goes to a film which exposes one of the most shocking environmental crimes in recent UK history.  We hope that this award will raise awareness and hold Donald Trump to account for his environmental and social belligerence, and expose the corruption and incompetence at the heart of the Scottish authorities which let this destruction go ahead.”

The project started a year ago – by the time I’ve seen the film, I realise what an extraordinary year it’s been for him, the Menie residents, and tragically for what was once a dynamic sand dune system and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (the highest environmental protection an area can be given – for all the good it meant in the end).

It looks as if Baxter will be successful in getting people to see his movie – he is off on 7th July to New York where the film will be shown at the IFC (the prestigious New York City home for independent films).

“I will be sending Donald Trump an invitation.” Baxter offers.

Trump has apparently derided the film as ‘amateurish… a failure’ and ‘an attempt to cash in on the Trump name.’   According to STV, the Trump organisation has branded Anthony Baxter ‘a fraud.’  All things considered, I somehow think ‘the Donald’ won’t be accepting Baxter’s invitation.

Grampian Police would seem to have slightly overstepped the mark

The Trump organisation has a habit of, shall I say, putting forth its own version of the truth.  For one thing the Trump organisation once said it would never use compulsory purchase orders to take over the homes at Menie.

This claim was proved to be untrue by Aberdeen Voice’s contributor, ‘Bennachie Blether’ , who had been sent copies of lawyer’s letters which indeed discuss compulsory purchase orders, see: Aberdeen Voice Article – Menie Masterplan

Trump has also claimed that Menie Resident Michael Forbes twice promised to sell out  to Trump. Forbes denies the claim, and for anyone who has seen this film, it is inconceivable Forbes would ever have said any such thing.   I am therefore just a little sceptical of Trump’s fraud claim.   Baxter then has other showings – for details see: youvebeentrumped – the movie

Baxter and Phinney were arrested at Menie for ‘a breach of the peace’.  This arrest is captured on film.

The events leading up to their arrest need to be seen to be believed.  Suffice it to say, the whole cinema was outraged.  Grampian Police would seem to have slightly overstepped the mark.

Baxter is asked during the Q&A – the first question as it happens – if he now plans to complain about the police or take any further action.
Baxter says that he wanted to do the job of showing what is going on at Menie, and it is now for others to look at the police.

He and Phinney were charged with a ‘Breach of the Peace’ before the charges were downgraded to written cautions at the time – which served both to prevent them having a fair day at court, and to try to intimidate them from continuing their filming.

If the intent was to stop this film, it is clear that it did the exact opposite.

The entire matter was eventually thrown out – not before DNA had been taken and they had been treated like criminals:  they did not find out about the matter being dropped from an apologetic police force, but from the media third-hand.  This use of police caution had also been used against Michael Forbes – he had removed marker flags that Trump’s people put on his land – and was cautioned not to do anything again.  The value of these flags was £13.

Baxter has suggested someone should investigate the policing of the Menie Estate.  Someone will be doing so.

I form the impression that Anthony Baxter is a man who is not going to rest on his laurels; in fact I doubt he’ll be getting much rest even if he wanted to.

People are seeking his attention; I end the interview and he gives me his contact details.  He’s leaving Aberdeen after this afternoon’s film and question & answer session.  One last question springs to my mind.

“What’s next?  Any future documentaries planned?” I ask.

“I’d like to do something on Afghanistan.  There is a children’s hospital ER I want to look at.” Baxter answers, and is soon ushered away for the film’s start.

I resolve to keep my eye on his future works, and head off to find my seat.  When I emerge a few hours later, I am impressed, shocked, and angry.  The film is beautifully crafted, and through all the trials, the residents of Menie, and other individuals who stood against the Trump machine renew my faith in people to a considerable degree.  If as Trump says Baxter is a ‘fraud’ and a ‘failure’, then I think we could do with more frauds and failures like him.  See this film.

Awards: Sheffield Green Award, Sheffield International Documentary Festival, Doc/Fest 2011
Directed By: Anthony Baxter
Written By: Anthony Baxter & Richard Phinney
Produced By: Richard Phinney
Website http://www.youvebeentrumped.com http://www.jonsi.com

For those of you who saw the film and wish to rate it for The Guardian  readers, see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/movie/142256

… And for those of you who have not yet had the pleasure – additional screenings will be held at Belmont Picturehouse, Aberdeen:-

Friday 24 June at 6.30pm
Saturday 25 June at 1.45pm
Sunday 26 June at

Jun 222011
 

By Fred Wilkinson, with thanks to Tripping Up Trump.

Due to “unprecedented demand”, Aberdeen’s Belmont Picturehouse have shaken up their schedule in order to host a further 3 screenings of Antony Baxter’s controversial documentary film You’ve Been Trumped.
Donald Trump has publicly expressed that Anthony Baxter is a “fraud”, and that the film is “boring”, but that does not appear to resonate with those who have actually viewed the film.

Mr Trump it would appear, despite currently on a visit to the North-east to examine the “worlds greatest golf course”, will not be available to attend the additional screenings.

However,  Mr Trump has been invited to a special US preview of the film 7 July in New York.

“If Mr Trump can’t stay in Aberdeen then we are happy to invite him to the screening in New York,” said Director Anthony Baxter.

According to Emily Richardson, Film Programmer for Picturehouse Cinemas:

“Following the unprecedented demand for tickets for the sell out Green Carpet Premiere and the follow up screening, The Belmont is delighted to be holding three further screenings of You’ve Been Trumped. We have been delighted with the amazing response to this very topical film and are very pleased to have been able to bring the film to the Aberdeen audience,”

The additional screenings will be held:-

Friday 24 June at 6.30pm
Saturday 25 June at 1.45pm
Sunday 26 June at 6.30pm

For more info, see: youvebeentrumped.com

Other Links …..

Trump film wins festival prize.

Voice’s ‘poetry mannie’ Bob Smith reviews YBT( See ‘The cafe 2′ column. )

Belmont_Picturehouse – Youve_Been Trumped

Aberdeen Voice Article – March 2011

Jun 032011
 

With thanks to Tripping Up Trump.

In March 2009 the Trump Organisation asked Aberdeenshire Council to use Compulsory Purchase Orders to remove local residents from their homes.

Earlier this year, after almost two years of this threat, the Trump Organisation announced that they would no longer seek the use of these powers, while continuing to deny that they had made the original request.

To celebrate the withdrawal of the Compulsory Purchase threat to the homeowners at Menie, Tripping Up Trump have decided to hold a second March of Menie on Sunday the 5th of June 2011.

Similar to the first, very successful, March that took place in October of 2010, it will involve people gathering at the Balmedie Country Park Visitor Centre at 12 noon and walking through the dunes to The Bunker (a site of multiple ownership) where there will be a number of attractions provided for people of all ages.

Information will be available to educate those who are not impressed with the propaganda and misinformation put out by the Trump Organisation.

For those of you unfamiliar with the forthcoming movie You’ve Been Trumped, Here is the trailer once again.


The first screening of You’ve Been Trumped will take place at the Belmont Cinema in Aberdeen at 8.30pm on Friday 17 June.
More Info … https://www.facebook.com/pages/Youve-Been-Trumped/187472834621346

Tripping Up Trump is a campaigning organisation based in the North-East of Scotland, formed to fight the environmental destruction being carried out by the Trump Organisation and support the Menie residents whose homes and land have been threatened with Compulsory Purchase and continue to be intimidated and bullied by the Trump Organisation.

Writer and researcher, Andy Wightman, has recently compiled a report on Trump’s Ego Trip at Menie. Andy will be one of the speakers .

Some fascinating insights to be shared for sure.

Mar 112011
 

With thanks to Martin Glegg and Helen Thomas.

You’ve Been Trumped – a new documentary investigating the social, economic and environmental impacts of the Donald Trump golf course development near Aberdeen, Scotland has gone viral – with an innovative crowd sourcing drive to finish the film in time for its world premiere at the beginning of May 2011.

The feature length film, which includes music from Jonsi, the lead singer of Sigur Ros, has been selected to premiere at ‘arguably the best showcase in the world for documentary’, according to its production team.

The filmmakers were arrested and put in prison cells by Grampian Police whilst making the film.  The Director, Anthony Baxter was also handcuffed in what the National Union of Journalists described as ‘a blatant example of police interference aimed at stopping bona fide journalists from doing their job’.

Now, to complete the documentary for cinema release, the producers are embracing crowd sourcing, which has been pioneered by some of world’s top filmmakers such as Kevin Macdonald, the director of hit films such as Touching the Void and The Last King of Scotland.  The film is aiming to raise £12,000 in 50 days through the website Indiegogo.

In its first day of crowd sourcing, You’ve Been Trumped raised almost £2,000 with donations coming in from around the world.  The filmmakers are offering ‘Perks’ to contribute to the film, such as signed DVDs by jonsi, and a guided walk along the coast to the village where Local Hero was filmed.   The story of the residents on the Menie Estate where Donald Trump is building a £750 million golf resort, has been likened to the classic 1983 film starring Burt Lancaster.

The exact location of the premiere of You’ve Been Trumped is top secret until a news launch on 23 March 2011.

Feb 042011
 

By Helen Thomas.

The residents of Menie can celebrate. The threat of being forcibly evicted from their homes has been lifted.

As reported in The Press And Journal on Monday 31st Jan Donald Trump publicly states that he will not be asking Aberdeenshire Council to use Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) to evict residents from their homes to make way for his golf resort.

Of course he also states that, “we have not, and will not, request that Aberdeenshire Council use their CPO powers to purchase houses.”

His statement is designed to make himself out to be the victim of malicious lies, whilst the Menie residents are branded troublemakers.

Unfortunately for Mr Trump however, there is documented evidence that he did make the CPO request. In the press release http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/news/release.asp?newsID=1258 obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the Council states:

“The Council has been asked by the Trump Organisation to use its powers of compulsory purchase”.

Can it be any clearer? One does not have to be too cynical to guess that Trump’s statement is the result of a huge volume of negative publicity and a desperate attempt to manage the backlash. Resistance is growing and he knows it. People don’t like to be bullied and the threat of the use of CPOs against homeowners for his own gain is just that. Because of these lies, the Menie residents will be cautious in celebrating. They know the battle is not yet won and wonder what will come next. ( See STV Article and Video: Click Here )

They are not alone in their battle, however.

A small parcel of land next to Michael Forbes’s land, right in the heart of the potential development, has been bought by the campaigners and anyone can sign up to own a part of it. Nicknamed The Bunker, this piece of land, and the campaign solidarity it offers, is now owned by 10,000 people – and that number’s growing every day. The residents’ fight has reached every corner of the globe. The Facebook group has new requests from people wanting to join daily – from places as diverse as Florida, the Netherlands and Australia.

It’s not just ‘ordinary citizens’ either. Ex-Queen guitarist Brian May has pledged his support. The Green Party’s Leader and MP Caroline Lucas, author and broadcaster Cameron McNeish and film producer David Puttnam have all joined The Bunker.

The world is waking up to Donald Trump – and they’re doing it in Scotland.

If you would like to join The Bunker please visit http://www.trippinguptrump.com/the-bunker or join us on Facebook at http://www.trippinguptrump.com/the-bunker