The Divide

Directed & Produced by Katharine Round Executive Producer Christopher Hird | Editor John Mister

The Divide tells the story of the effects of income inequality through 7 interweaving stories of people at different positions on the income scale, all striving for a better life in two of the developed world’s most unequal countries: the US and UK.

Wall Street psychologist Alden wants to make it to the top 1%; KFC worker Leah from Richmond, Virginia just wants to make it through the day; Jen in Sacramento, California doesn’t even talk to the neighbours in her upscale gated community – they’ve made it clear to her she isn’t “their kind”.

Weaving these stories with news archive from 1979 to the present day creates a unique film that explores the big picture through the up close and personal; a lyrical, tragi-comic film full of heart and humour but with a very serious message: that inequality is bad for all of us. The film is inspired by the critically-acclaimed, best-selling book “The Spirit Level” by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.

The Divide has utilised new models of finance and distribution throughout production. The film's groundbreaking crowdfunding strategy was devised by Disobedient and harnessed the power of its audience - over 2000 people kickstarted the project by pre-buying downloads and other merchandise. It was widely reported as one of the most successful crowdfunding and audience-building campaigns ever run by a UK producer, the Knowledge praising our “good pitch, level of engagement and vigorous social media regime” to “create a real buzz even before they started shooting". The campaign generated coverage throughout the mainstream media including The GuardianHuffington PostBoing BoingNew Internationalist and OpenDemocracy

In addition, the film was supported by grants from the MEDIA Production Fund and the BFI. 

After premiering at Sheffield International Documentary Festival, the film was released in 200+ UK cinemas across 70 cities in Spring 2016 to widespread critical acclaim, followed by a US and UK release on Netflix. 


★★★★ "a fierce, unsettling film" Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

★★★★ "jaw-dropping stuff" Evening Standard

★★★★ "the intimate, people-centric approach makes for a more emotional experience than your average state-of-the-economy doc" TimeOut

★★★★ "a sensitive exploration of a vital issue" The Express

★★★★ "a tender, authoritative punch" Total Film

★★★★ "heartbreaking" HeyUGuys

★★★★ "poignant eye-opener" The Upcoming

"timely, emotionally shattering, formidable... This documentary will be seminal; it will be analysed to bits and viewed as valuable testimonial in decades to come" Picturehouse Cinemas

"an astoundingly accurate portrayal of social division...brilliantly shot, insightful" The British Blacklist

"a fascinating social portrait" New Scientist

"manages the trick of turning a data-driven book full of charts and graphs into an interwoven collection of gripping stories." Boing Boing

"The Divide beautifully translates the essence of The Spirit Level into 70 minutes of humanity...this film is a delight" The F-Word


Further reading

Why Aren't We Earning Enough to Live? How The Divide lays bare global Inequality


Amelia Gentleman writes in The Guardian about how The Divide reveals the toxic social divisions caused by low pay for US and UK workers.


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