Conscientious Protectors

UK 2022, 97 mins
Director: Leigh Bloomfield

Conscientious Protectors puts you right in the middle of the beginnings of the Extinction Rebellion movement. The film follows the founding members of the non-violent direct action climate change group XR, from their first public meetings in October 2018 through to their shutdown of London in April 2019.

With unrestricted access, director Leigh Bloomfield and producer Jeff Emerson followed key members of Extinction Rebellion as they demanded that governments around the world acknowledge Climate Change as a global emergency. One that needs to be addressed with the same seriousness as war, famine and natural disasters.

In October 2018, Leigh received a letter through his letterbox (yes, a physical letter not an email) from Extinction Rebellion to attend one of their evening meetings. At that meeting he was introduced to Roger Hallam and others, where they gave talks on the state of the environment and the climate crisis the world is facing, and how civil disobedience has been used to great success throughout history to change the tide on many important issues. Having never been involved with movements or protests before, Leigh felt compelled to film and document this movement and see how far they could go. Leigh describes himself as an environmentalist and connected strongly with the passion he saw in that meeting, for more action to be taken for our environment. The only thing he didn’t know: ‘Was civil disobedience going to work in this day and age?’ Conscientious Protectors is his answer to the question.

Documenting the incredible story of how Extinction Rebellion took over central London in 2019, bringing it to a grinding halt and refusing to leave until their list of demands were met, the film introduces the founders of the movement and details their audacious plan to hold the city to ransom until the powers that be agreed to help avert the impending climate catastrophe.

Broomfield says: ‘With exclusive access to the Extinction Rebellion movement, this fly on the wall documentary tells their story. This monumental feat took months and months of planning, and we followed the key co-founders of XR, Roger Hallam, Gail Bradbrook, Clare Farrell, Stuart Basden and Larch Maxey through the planning and onto the streets. This film delves into the inner workings of XR’s decision making, their methods, their stresses and strains, as they took hold of five sites in London during the April 15th rebellion.’

With all the tension of a heist thriller, as the countdown to the rebellion starts, the film is also an inspiring portrait of people prepared to risk and sacrifice in order to make a change for the better – defying authority and corporate might with breathtaking courage.
Production notes


Directed by: Leigh Bloomfield
Presented by: Leap Productions
Executive Producer: Roger Graeff
Produced by: Jeff Emerson, Leigh Bloomfield
Camera Operators: Leigh Bloomfield, Jeff Emerson, Amin Mueller, Charlie Wharton, Felix Schmilinsky, Fergus MacGregor, Alexi Phillips, Thomas William Watson
Graphics: Philip Gooch, Leigh Bloomfield
Film Editor: Leigh Bloomfield
Additional Editing: Dan Lincoln
Music by: Hollie Buhagiar
Sound Mixer: Chandra Nair
Archive Photography: Tomm Morton

UK 2022

A Demand Film UK release

The screening on Mon 1 Aug will feature a Q&A with director Leigh Bloomfield

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Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email