Segments in this Video

Introduction: Statue Wars: One Summer in Bristol (02:08)


During a Black Lives Matter demonstration, protestors tear down a statue of 17th century slaver Edward Colston and throw into the harbor. Mayor Marvin Rees, the first directly elected Black mayor of a European city, must handle the situation and resulting controversy.

City Hall: 12.06.20 (06:40)

Rees and his staff manage a large number of media requests. Rees needs to express that he found the statue offensive while not commending criminal damage. Much of Bristol's identity is tied to Colston, who made most of his fortune through the slave trade.

Jane Ghosh (02:56)

As a Bristol resident, Ghosh understands why people wanted the statue gone, but admits she had a sentimental attachment to it; she attended Colston Girls' School. Ghosh had been told Colston was a philanthropist, not a slave trader.

Demonstration: 13.06.20 (02:01)

A protest over the Colston statues' destruction is scheduled and Rees' office learns that groups are bringing in people from surrounding cities. Despite minor destruction to the statue's base, the event remains peaceful.

Council Leaders' Hall: 15.06.20 (00:52)

Rees tells council leaders that some far right protestors attended the recent demonstration, but only two arrests were made. Rees wants working class Bristolians of all races to realize their shared history.

Nigel Horlock (07:04)

Horlock believes the Colston statue was not about race, but about heritage. He grew up in poverty and thinks racism overshadows the problem of wealth segregation. A statue of a working-class icon mocks those upset over the statue's destruction.

Mayor's Office: 17.06.20 (07:01)

As Rees' office tries to return to regular governance during the COVID-19 pandemic, the statue controversy has divided the city. Rees has received thousands of letters, including some with abusive language and death threats. On June 17, 2020, racially motivated vandalism of a tombstone occurs.

Solomon O.B. (03:07)

O.B. moved to Bristol for its music scene; the Black Lives Matter protest are his political awakening. He hopes the energy to do something about racism continues in between protests.

City Council: 07.07.20 (05:30)

Members of the city council criticize Rees for his lack of support for black organizations. He believes politics is more complex them most people understand, but criticism is easy. A protest is staged over the criminal investigation into the Colston statue's destruction.

Colston's Plinth: 15.07.20 (07:14)

An artist from London places a statue of a Black Lives Matter protestor on the plinth. Amid concerns of racist backlash, Rees' office debates next steps. The statue remains for a day before its safe removal the next morning.

Threats: 18.08.20 (10:02)

The police warn Rees and his family about racist death threats; they have increased security. Racist threats and harassment have increased throughout Bristol. Protests remain largely peaceful for the rest of 2020.

Rioting: 21.03.21 (03:24)

In March 2021, a proposed bill restricting protests leads to riots targeting police stations. Rees views the tension in the city as room for growth.

Credits: Statue Wars: One Summer in Bristol (01:03)

Credits: Statue Wars: One Summer in Bristol

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Statue Wars: One Summer in Bristol

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



When BLM protestors in Bristol tear down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston, the city is engulfed in controversy. Some celebrate, while others are concerned. This probing documentary follows Europe’s first directly elected black mayor of any major European city, Marvin Rees, as he attempts to calm rising tensions in one of Britain’s most segregated cities. Can Rees pull his citizens together, or will Bristol’s historical conflicts tear the community apart?

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: BVL276683

ISBN: 978-1-63722-916-3

Copyright date: ©2021

Closed Captioned

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