As a now-documentary filmmaker, I found a substantial difference between participants when they are either agents or vulnerable subjects. Agents I refer as people who as a career are involved in dealing, discussing, or protecting subjects. These are advisors, historians, other filmmakers, pundits of sorts, law-enforcers, public workers, etc. They are more likely to talk to me than anyone else. Subjects, on the other hand, are vulnerable individuals that have personally experienced or lived the topic of the documentary film. They are residents, victims, ex-inhabitants, witnesses, culprits, etc. They are rare to contact and more than likely, not going to participate in documentaries.
So the lack of participants from residents of South Acton is something I have experienced, with much frustration. As a film of portraying the damaging housing regeneration to the community, the lack of participation perhaps reveals either the already damaged community or the lack of community prior to housing regeneration. I’m inclined to believe that there was little to no community spirit in South Acton, only a few neighbours would be proactive in communication. In fact, the introduction of new tenants and leaseholders to the minimal community of South Acton from the Acton Gardens side shows a further lack of community spirit. The lack of third spaces, like pubs, community hubs, parks and playgrounds. Perhaps the structure of tower blocks harbour anti-social behaviour of not talking to your neighbours and a higher density of blocks of old and new builds play a deeper role in this divide between individuals. Not to mention the economic class divide between rich and poor that is catalytic in South Acton/ Acton Gardens.