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Guardian launches new international video series Divided Cities

The Guardian this week launched Divided Cities, an ambitious five-part video series, telling the stories of five cities that reflect major global divisions.

Guardian launches new international video series Divided Cities
Charlie Phillips: “Divided Cities uses real-life stories to depict the often invisible forces behind divisions.”

Launched on the 30th year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, the Divided Cities video series looks beyond Trump and Brexit to the causes and consequences of global divisions, in a world ever more split between “us” and “them”, say the publishers.

Each episode focuses on a different global city, exploring issues including migration, nationhood, economic systems, the climate crisis and food access. The series will run over a period of five weeks on the Guardian’s website and on the Guardian’s main YouTube channel.

  • Episode 1: Melilla, the Spanish port in north Africa, one of the biggest entry points into Europe for sub-Saharan African migrants, who scale the fences in daring nighttime climbs, and where an angry conflict is developing over whether to build a Trump-style wall.
  • Episode 2: Havana, Cuba, where citizens are split by which of the two official currencies they earn – the private sector currency is worth 25 times the state one.
  • Episode 3: Nicosia, Cyprus, the last divided capital in Europe, where the film follows young people from both sides of the UN buffer zone who are risking prison by rejecting the 45-year dispute between their Greek and Turkish elders and saying no to military conscription.
  • Episode 4: Memphis, Tennessee, where residents living in “food deserts” are fighting for what seems a basic human right in the richer half of the city: a supermarket.
  • Episode 5: Delhi, a city on the frontline of the climate crisis and riven by “environmental apartheid” into those who can protect themselves from the deadly heat waves and suffocating air pollution - and those who must suffer and sometimes die in these conditions.

The series was created by Anetta Jones (producer), Jess Gormley (executive producer) and Chris Michael (Guardian Cities editor), and directed by filmmaker, Max Duncan.

Chris Michael, editor, Guardian Cities, said: “Guardian Cities is the world’s premiere website for global urban journalism and a hub for sharing ideas about the future of cities across the planet.”

“At a time of great political and social polarisation, our new Divided Cities series uses our deep experience with international reporting to tell the stories of five cities that reflect some of the world’s most troubling divisions – and of the ordinary people transcending those boundaries against the odds.”

Charlie Phillips, head of video, the Guardian: “I’m incredibly proud of the powerful series that Jess, Chris and Anetta have produced. Divided Cities uses real-life stories to depict the often invisible forces behind divisions, and makes important links between a diverse group of cities around the world where unexpected kinds of division are making life more complicated.”

“The Guardian has developed a strong reputation for award-winning visual journalism and we’re seeing record engagement with younger audiences in particular.”

Divided Cities is part of the Guardian Cities project supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. The series is editorially independent and clearly identifies the support provided by the organisation.

The Guardian has seen success with documentary formats - in March this year the Guardian-commissioned documentary, Black Sheep, was nominated for an Oscar in the Documentary Short Subject category. Guardian documentaries have also been nominated for Grierson Awards and International Documentary Association awards.

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