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The Reluctant Revolutionary+Q&A

“A breathless pace, a sense of black humor and a great central character make The Reluctant Revolutionary one of the most immediate and accessible descriptions of the Arab Spring yet to emerge.”

The Hollywood Reporter (11/02/2012)


“It   makes   for   a   strong,   political   start   in   Panorama   Dokumente   (…)   I   couldn’t   believe  my  luck  when  I  watched  it,  because  it  presents  images  from  the  burning   revolution  in  Yemen  that  are  unlike  anything  we’ve  seen  on  television.”

Wieland  Speck,  Panorama  Programmer


The   Reluctant   Revolutionary  is   investigative   journalism   of   the   most   intense   kind,  a  document  of  the  personal  involvement  in  the  course  of  history.  Whatever   one   may   hear   about   the   role   of   social   networks   for   the   organisation   and   impact   of   such   revolutions,   they   only   become   real   in   the   old-­fashioned   but   fearlessly   engaged  way  in  which  Sean  McAllister  brings  them  to  the  big  screen.

Berliner  Zeitung


The Reluctant Revolutionary is an intimate portrait of Yemen as the revolution unfolds, told through the eyes of Kais, an intelligent if ambivalent commentator on the changing times in Yemen, offering poignant moments of reflection, loss, anger and hope on the unknown road to revolution and change.



After leaving school at 16 Sean worked in and out of factories before finding a camera and filming his way into the National Film School. He graduated in 1996. Since 1996 Sean McAllister has made films for both the BBC and Channel 4; working in the UK, Israel, Iraq, Japan, and most recently Syria, and The Yemen.


“My duty as a filmmaker is to get beyond the performance”

Sean McAllister

Sean’s films portray, with characteristic intimacy and frankness, people from different parts of the world who are struggling to survive but are survivors, caught up in political and personal conflict, trying to make sense of the world we live in.


From his early films Working for the Enemy (1997) and Minders (1998), both nominated for a Royal Television Society Awards, to his more recent successes, Sundance Jury Prize-winning Liberace of Baghdad (2004) and Japan: A Story of Love and Hate (2008), Sean’s work continues to inspire, to surprise and to fascinate audiences.

The Reluctant Revolutionary is part of our Arab Spring day on Friday May 4th at 7pm, click here to book FREE tickets. 

“The great thing about Sean’s films is that he champions the characters in his documentaries, he always takes a loser and makes them a winner.”

D A Pennebaker