Bank Job

by Dan Edelstyn & Hilary Powell
A filmmaker and artist couple ally with their community to take on the world of finance by setting up a bank, printing their own money and exploding pounds of high interest debt.
2021  ·  1h27m  ·  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
About the Film

This mischievous feature documentary led by artist/filmmaker team Dan Edelstyn and Hilary Powell, instigates and follows a community coming together to make their own currency, opening a bank in order to examine how money and debt is created in our economy and to ask important questions about how the system of money creation might be altered in their favour.

Debt is an integral component of our current system of inequality. 97% of all money is conjured into reality at the moment when banks make loans. This means our money supply is effectively on lease from private banks – giving them inordinate power determine the course of our economic, social and common good. Yet we, the public, do not yet fully understand the way money comes into existence – and while we remain in the dark, there will be no way to change course.

Our act of citizen money creation is both a way of raising real money for specific causes in the community and a way of fundraising to buy and destroy £1million of local predatory debts.

Through the film we argue that widespread debt is the natural – though unwelcome companion to the money system we currently have and, like money, another widely misunderstood phenomena subject to myth and moralising. From both talking to economists and our local community we discover that debt is tied to even the most basic provisions, education, healthcare, housing – as all these are being accessed through credit in one way or another. We argue that these debts are a result of a monetary system which is impoverishing multitudes by design, and which could be change.

Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

Daniel Edelstyn, Hilary Powell
Daniel Edelstyn, Christopher Hird, Hilary Powell
Executive Producer
Lisa Marie Russo
Alice Powell
Clément Du Cruet, Tom Maine, Linden Nieto, Christophe Tweedie
Rob Walker
Fanny Malinen
Associate Producer
Nicky Petto
Rachel Brassier
Assistant Producer
Naomi Soneye-Thomas
Assistant Producers/Camera
Linden Nieto, Clement Ducrureut, Lauren, Pablo Hird, Olivia Hird
Offline Editor
George Sabapathy
About the Director

Dan Edelstyn

Dan Edelstyn is an experienced film director and producer with multiple commissions for C4. He is also a musician releasing as The Orchestra of Cardboard.


Hilary Powell

Hilary Powell works with hidden histories and overlooked techniques in acts of imaginative salvage –  valuing the seemingly mundane and highlighting and creating the extraordinary in the everyday. Her work is led by materials and places – working in partnership with them with contagious curiosity and experimentation and inviting others into the process – be this collective roller skating in urban precincts (Air/TFL commission) or creating alterative wild operas in industrial hinterlands (during the Acme Stephen Cripps Award at High House Production Park, ROH Purfleet).

Recent projects involve collaborative acts of making –  from a public production line making an erupting pop-up book history of the London Olympic site (collected by V&A and MoMA NY)  to pulling off a Bank Job – setting up a Bank, printing money and literally exploding debt (the feature documentary film of which is nominated for a Grierson and BIFA). The work is a constant process of deconstructing grand narratives and finding ways behind the scenes to both reveal and build new stories – during the pandemic this has led to examining the realities of manufacturing and container shipping with projects supported by Museum of London and Ffotogallery.

Her belief in the power and necessity of artistic and cultural action to challenge an increasingly unjust system and imagine another way of living has led to long term collaboration with Daniel Edelstyn. They have set up both a community interest company Optimistic Foundation dedicated to anarchic, joyful cultural production and a co-operative energy company in their new project POWER. Powell completed a post doctoral AHRC Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts at the Bartlett, UCL and was Leverhulme ‘Alchemist in Residence’ with UCL Chemistry. She shares her work widely with academic institutions and arts and community organisations, most recently as visiting tutor in Visual Communication at RCA.

The gleaning and gathering together continues –  making other worlds possible.