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Writer for The Independent Director UK GoldDirector The Rime of the Modern Mariner
Mark Donne is a London-based film-maker and writer. Formerly a journalist, Donne wrote for The Independent and The Guardian newspapers & has appeared as a commentator on relevant issues on BBC News, Sky News, Channel 4 News and other current affairs television programmes. Donne has writing and directing credits on two independent feature-length artist documentaries and various short films.
Early life and education
Donne is English.
In early 2009, after producing various short films for The Independent online, Donne set up the film collective "Brass Moustache" with producer and Director of Photography Joe Morris.
Donne and Morris produced various short-form political documentaries including interviews with Noam Chomsky and former leader of the UK Labour Party Ed Miliband. They also collaborated on various music promo films for bands including "Lose My Way" for the UK indie-rock band TOY, which was chosen by "Creative Bloq" design magazine in its "25 Greatest Animated Music Videos".
In 2014 Donne and Morris were commissioned by Tate Britain to make a short film for the Ruin Lust exhibition which formed part of the multi-discipline show. The short featured a poetic script narrated by actor Louise Brealey.
In 2015 Donne and Morris made an artist documentary short filmed in the Ecuadorian Amazon; the film focused on the plight of indigenous communities and the natural environment being blighted by a colossal oil spillage. "Afectados" features narration from Hollywood icon Julie Christie, reading a version of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda's "United Fruit Company" and a field score from musician Drew McConnell & long term Banksy collaborator Jim Carey. US oil giant Chevron reacted furiously to the film, claiming that Texaco - later subsumed into Chevron - had cleaned up the impacted area adequately after ceasing operations.
In December 2015 Donne collaborated with Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack for a second time (see features) writing a short satirical film “La Fête est Finie” (The Party is Over) to mark the historic Paris Climate change conference or COP21. The short, jointly directed with Joe Morris under the Brass Moustache moniker, was also scored by Del Naja and former Mercury Music Prize winning band Young Fathers and was produced by Forest Swords.
Starring Utopia actor Fiona O'Shaughnessy & Natasha O'Keefe (Sherlock, Peaky Blinders, The Last Panthers) in a cast of over 25, the film premiered with The Guardian newspaper and Pitchfork simultaneously and was screened in Paris during the climate change summit.
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The Rime of the Modern Mariner
The film received a UK premiere in Sir Nicholas Hawksmoor's baroque "St Anne's Church" beside the River Thames in London, introduced by actor and playwright Steven Berkoff and performed with a live orchestral score, led by members of The Klaxons and Babyshambles and script narration from Carl Barat of the UK rock band The Libertines.
"The Rime of the Modern Mariner" received a US premiere at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. The film was subsequently the subject of a BBC1 cultural feature transmitted in June 2010, and was chosen as The Times newspaper "Film of the Week", was the subject of a major feature in VICE Magazine. The film was official selection at various film festivals including Flanders International Film Festival Ghent (Belgium), Cinecity Film Festival (UK), Mexico City Film Festival (Mexico) and remains attached to a programme of forthcoming international festivals. The film also received prestigious theatrical screenings at Pompidou Centre (France), BAFTA Arena of Latitude Festival (UK), The Royal Maritime Museum (UK) and the Museum of London (UK).
The documentary received wide critical acclaim, with The Times Arts Editor Alex O'Connell writing "The film evokes the waterside architecture, music and arcane language, set to a score that samples a creaking hull, hammering cargoes and engine room rhythms" and The Guardian Film Editor Catherine Shoard stating "Something of that rock'n'roll spirit has survived in Mark Donne's movie: a stylish essay that combines chinwags with East End sea dogs with a gonzo two-week adventure on the high seas with the crew of a Maersk cargo boat."
The UK Gold
UK Gold - a collaboration with Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack was completed in 2013 and won the Jury Best Documentary prize at the East End Film Festival The 2013 Jury Chair was US Director Morgan Spurlock. The film  - narrated by British actor Dominic West - is currently touring international film festivals and received a European premiere at Copenhagen International Documentary Festival (CPH:DOX) as "official selection" - receiving a nomination for the "FACT Journalism Prize" alongside eventual winner and 2014 Academy Award nominee "Dirty Wars". The film has also been broadcast in many territories including RTE 1 in Ireland, CBC in Canada and others scheduled. In February 2015 Del Naja, Yorke and Donne released the full soundtrack to the film via the UK Uncut activist group.
Blogging and writing
Donne formerly produced a popular, politically controversial blog for The Independent online.
Since 2004, Donne has worked with Latin American human rights organisations and appeared as a guest of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez on a live broadcast of his television programme "Alo Presidente" in September 2007.
In 2006–07, Donne was also a member of the small political team behind the Labour MP and anti-racist campaigner Jon Cruddas in his bid to become Deputy Leader of the British Labour Party. Cruddas won the popular vote but eventually lost the competition following preference voting rounds to Harriet Harman. The Cruddas campaign, however, was voted "political campaign of the year" at the Channel 4 News 2008 political awards. Donne is connected to the British left-wing pressure group think-tank Compass.
On 8 February 2008, The Independent reported that Mark Donne has called for the closing of tax loopholes for the very wealthiest in Britain and for a rise in the living wage levels for the poorest in the British economy. 10 Downing Street responded by explaining that via their own tax initiatives "non-dom" business taxation would go some way to closing the disparity of tax burden between the richest and poorest. The broader context for this debate is the rising anger within the UK of the perceived injustice of the taxation system and stagnant levels of social mobility.
On behalf of charities such as Oxfam, Child Poverty Action Group and Gingerbread (One Parent Families), Donne leads a national campaign to urge the wealthiest Premier League football clubs to pay off the pitch staff, including cleaners and hospitality workers, a living wage.
In August 2008, Donne set up Instigate Debate with musicians Jon McClure, Carl Barat and Drew McConnell. The rolling initiative is designed to re-engage young people with contemporary political debate and to call into question the effect of the corporately owned media on the British democratic processes.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1qOS3E1Pys, retrieved 2015-10-07 Missing or empty
- Vidal, John (2015-06-17). "Chevron hits out at British documentary on oil pollution in Ecuador". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
- Catherine Shoard on "The Rime of the Modern Mariner"
- Mark Donne talks about the meaning and purpose of the film in this successful funding bid
- "The UK Gold". CPH:DOX. Retrieved 2015-10-07.
- "Thom Yorke and Massive Attack's Robert Del Naja Release UK Gold Soundtrack for Free". Retrieved 2015-10-07.
- Brown, Colin (2008-02-26). "Campaign targets 'obscene' City pay - Home News - UK". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-02-18.
- Mark Donne (2008-08-16). "Mark Donne: Time to instigate debate | Politics | guardian.co.uk". Guardian. Retrieved 2013-02-18.
- "Politics starts at home for new wave of protest singers - Features - Music". The Independent. 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2013-02-18.
- Mark Donne at the Internet Movie Database
- Instigate Debate official website
- The Guardian profile
- The UK Gold Homepage and trailer
- Review of The UK Gold in The Guardian