Filmmaking Project

Cost of Living (2022)

Cost of Living film trailer

Commissioned by York St John University’s Cinema and Social Justice project and funded by the Screen Industries Growth Network, the new film entitled Cost of Living shines a light on the historic experiences of those affected by economic insecurity, rising costs and diminishing social services, themes that are familiar to many across the North of England today. Made with footage from the Yorkshire Film Archive and the North East Film Archive, this new film brings together material from across Yorkshire and the North East chronicling experiences and impacts of previous cost-of-living crises. 

The film was curated from archive footage filmed between the 1940s and the 1980s; drawing significant parallels with today, the film provokes an eerie familiarity and a sense of history destined to be relived. Campaigners are seen calling for decent housing, while homeless pensioners attend soup kitchens and mothers protest a lack of nursery places. Other themes include unaffordable bills, rising fuel prices and insufficient jobs – echoing familiar contemporary conversations around the worsening cost of living crisis in 2022. 

Founders of the Cinema and Social Justice Project Dr Lauren Stephenson and Dr Martin Hall were joined by Dr Steve Rawle to produce the film, The team are all lecturers at York St John University. The project has been created to demonstrate the power of film to provoke reflection, aid learning and affect meaningful change in society. Cost of Living is the first film to be made by the project. 

Dr Martin Hall, one of the founders of the Cinema and Social Justice Project says “We were motivated to make this film because this is not the first time that people from Yorkshire and across the north have faced unsustainable living costs. We wanted to make a film that has the power to really highlight the social and economic injustices that we have seen repeated yet again in 2022.” 

“The interesting but challenging subject matter of socioeconomic ‘injustice’, homelessness and housing are a contemporary experience but a theme that also reverberates within the archive collections.”

Yorkshire Film Archive

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Cinema Social Justice Project
York St John University
Lord Mayor’s Walk
York, North Yorkshire YO31 7EX
United Kingdom