‘Strike: An Uncivil War,’ About Notorious “Battle Of Orgreave,” Wins Audience Award At Sheffield DocFest

Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of a grim day in U.K. history: the Battle of Orgreave when police clashed with striking workers at a coking plant, leaving more 100 people injured.

Those shocking events are investigated in the documentary Strike: An Uncivil War, which on Monday – the eve of the anniversary – won the Audience Award at the 31st Sheffield DocFest. News media, authorities, and the Conservative government of then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher tried to pin responsibility for the violence on the workers, but the film directed by Daniel Gordon lays bare an orchestrated plan by police to attack the strikers.

More from Deadline

'Strike: An Uncivil War'
‘Strike: An Uncivil War’

“We have been overawed by how much audiences have been deeply engaged with films at Sheffield DocFest this year, and this is especially true of Daniel Gordon’s Strike: An Uncivil War,” Sheffield Creative Director Raul Niño Zambrano and Managing Director Annabel Grundy said in a statement. “Daniel Gordon’s searing film unpacks what really happened on 18 June 1984, and the use of first-hand narratives perfectly demonstrates how documentary can be used to give voice to those who have been overlooked, as well as how it can continue to inform and inspire discussion around present-day events.”

Niño Zambrano and Grundy added, “The world premiere at The Crucible Theatre, which included a brass band and the presence of several of the miners, was extremely moving and we are so proud the filmmaking team chose us as the place to present this crucial piece of history.”

Preview screenings of Strike: An Uncivil War will take place across the U.K. on Tuesday. The film will be released in cinemas on Friday, June 21 by Tull Stories, in partnership with VeryMuchSo and Embankment Films.

'Strike: An Uncivil War'
‘Strike: An Uncivil War’

Strike: An Uncivil War took about ten years in the making,” Gordon said. “It’s a self-funded film and it took an awful lot of passion and commitment from everybody involved, both people who are in the film and behind the camera. Screening it at Sheffield Crucible, with many of the community affected, and knowing its powerful message resonates with audiences is the perfect way to launch the film ahead of its UK-wide rollout.”

Orgreave sits less than five miles to the east of Sheffield, home of the DocFest.

“The film tells the story of the year-long Miners’ Strike of 1984/85 – the most violent and divisive industrial dispute that Britain has ever witnessed,” notes a synopsis of the documentary. “It pays particular focus to the Battle of Orgreave, which took place on 18th June 1984, the bloodiest day of the Strike. The media subsequently appeared to lay blame for the violence at the feet of the strikers. Daniel Gordon’s comprehensive documentary doesn’t just overturn this fabrication, it portrays what took place as planned action on the part of the Thatcher government, with the Prime Minister determined to seek redress for the National Union of Mineworkers victory over the Conservative government in the early 1970s and to forever break the union’s role at the heart of British working-class society.”

The synopsis continues, “Featuring powerful personal testimony, previously hidden government documents and never-before seen archive material, the film shows first-hand the stories and recollections of the people on the front lines of this incredible moment in time, which split communities and the nation in two, and whose ripples still resonate to this very day.”

Deadline exclusively premiered the film’s trailer on June 7. You can watch that here:

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.