Special 4-Part Series #THISISACOUP, About the Hostile EU Takeover of the Leftist Greek Government

Special 4-Part Series #THISISACOUP, About the Hostile EU Takeover of the Leftist Greek Government

Field of Vision + Bertha/BRITDOC + Kallithea Films Announce


Field of Vision and journalist Paul Mason present the story of Greece’s 2015 confrontation with the EU

Director Theopi Skarlatos and producer Paul Mason present This Is A Coup, a four part documentary series telling the story of how the European Union destroyed the first radical left government in modern history. Granted extraordinary access to key politicians from the Syriza party (including prime minister Alexis Tsipras), Skarlatos weaves interviews grabbed in the thick of the action with the stories of three Greek citizens who had hope in the party when it came to power. The series points to a central fact: the Greeks exercised their democratic right to say no to austerity, and Europe unleashed an economic war to smash them.

#ThisIsACoup will be released free as 4 daily online episodes from December 15th – 18th as part of Field of Vision’s mission to share urgent journalistic stories through creative documentary filmmaking.

Field of Vision is a filmmaker-driven visual journalism film unit co-created by Laura Poitras, AJ Schnack and Charlotte Cook that pairs filmmakers with developing and ongoing stories around the globe.

Find the episodes here: https://theintercept.com/fieldofvision/

Paul Mason
“The Greek people believed they could beat austerity by voting against it. Europe gave them a choice: regime change or we destroy your economy.”

Paul Mason
Paul is the Economics Editor for Channel 4 News and has led their coverage on the Greek crisis. He won the Royal Television Society specialist reporter of 2012 award for his coverage of the Eurozone crisis. He has a weekly column in the Guardian. For Channel 4 News and before that the BBC he has reported on social and political conflicts, including the Gaza war 2014, the refugee crisis in Morocco, ethnic conflict in Kenya and from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

The Series
In January 2015 Syriza, a radical left party, won the Greek elections. With over 50% youth unemployment, massive public debts and ordinary people suffering under economic austerity measures, the new government had a mandate to change the system. #ThisIsACoup tells the story of how they won, what they did, how they clashed with the global finance system to whom the Greek state is heavily indebted and how it ended. We had extraordinary access to leading Syriza politicians through the nightmare of negotiations and compromise. We filmed the elation and the despair. And we documented the lives of real people and communities: on the waterfront, in the countryside, and in tough neighbourhoods of Athens. The extraordinary resilience of the Greek people – in retreat but not defeated – is a key message of the film.

Episode 1: Angela, Suck our Balls
Syriza comes to power with Greece still deep in debt. Their supporters rejoice as Prime Minister Tspiras and the Finance Minister Varoufakis talk about defying the Troika (the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund which organised loans to Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Cyprus after the crash) but an escalating bank run undermines their negotiating position and Syriza is forced to concede most of their demands. What will happen when their supporters find out?

Episode 2: To Pay or Not To Pay?
With the clash with the lenders on hold for four months, some Greeks take to the streets to organise resistance themselves. Syriza’s most senior woman MP Zoe Konstantopoulou travels Europe’s capitals trying to persuade people the debt is illegal and should be dropped. As the crunch looms, Tsipras opens up about his worries and predicts they will run out of money by the end of May. Almost on cue, as June begins, Syriza defaults on its debt to the IMF and the “rupture” begins.

Episode 3: OXI – The Greek word for “No”
The crunch is here. A new bank run is draining the banks, while the state is almost out of cash. Varoufakis speaks privately about launching an offensive of debt defaults, but instead Tsipras calls a referendum, which leaves the government fighting for its life. Against all odds he wins a crushing victory, but as the minister celebrate, Varoufakis is sacked. What does Tsipras intend to do next?

Episode 4: Hero for One Day
Tsipras reveals his strategy – to seek a new compromise. As the government flounders, its supporters get worried – and angry. With Tsipras trapped in 17 hour negotiations a historic twitter protest takes place, involving up to a billion people, naming the lenders attack on Greece a “coup”. As Tsipras signs a new austerity deal and accepts defeat, his supporters are stunned. The party splits and the key players struggle to draw the lessons. Without debt relief Syriza will be left to impose yet another destructive austerity programme – the very thing it fought for years to oppose. In an exclusive first English interview since the climbdown Tsipras gives his own explanation of why things went wrong. “I’d have been a hero for one day, maybe two,” he says to critics of the u-turn, as without it the Greek economy would have collapsed.

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