Drowned City (2014)
52min · Documentary · 1 September 2014
The maximum penalties for transmitting illegally on UK radio are an unlimited fine and two years in prison. Over three years, the filmmaker followed a small group of individuals from the London pirate radio community, from tower-block rooftops to industrial warehouses, asking why these young people take such significant risks for the sake of broadcasting. Jay was introduced to pirate radio at the age of 13, and left the scene by choice at 32; he was never caught by the authorities. Sam Supplier, whose pirate radio career was ended abruptly by the authorities in 2008, was left with a large fine and two years on bail. These stories, among others, are punctuated by intimate conversations with these experienced pirates, as well as imagery from today's youth, who spend their days and nights transmitting from isolated telephone pylons and unassuming sheds. Whether seen as an alternative to a life of serious crime or an opportunity for creative expression, the pirate radio scene in London has had a personal impact on not only the characters explored in the film, but youth culture throughout the UK. Drowned City reveals the passion and dedication shown by these anonymous individuals, as we watch them serve their communities through illegal activity.