Who’s who: BAFTA award-winning film-maker Rex Bloomstein wants ‘more social housing’ in Hampstead

Film-maker Rex Bloomstein. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Film-maker Rex Bloomstein. Picture: Nigel Sutton. - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Film-maker Rex Bloomstein has made over 70 documentaries in a career spanning five decades. He won two BAFTA awards for his 1980 documentary series about Strangeways prison. The grandfather-of-two has lived in Hampstead for 35 years. This week, he features in the Ham&High’s Who’s Who section.

What brought you to settle in Hampstead?

Its character, its artists, the Everyman, the Heath – all were irresistible to me.

You have a day off and choose to spend it in Hampstead. What would you get up to?

Of course I would spend it on the Heath, particularly in the spring and autumn when the colours and textures can be breathtaking.

If you could change one thing about Hampstead, what would it be?

I would prevent the opening of any more boutiques and increase social housing to provide accommodation affordable to people on low incomes.

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If you were to make a film exploring one aspect of Hampstead or its residents, what would the film look at?

The visions of two wonderful children’s authors Helen Oxenbury and John Burningham, who live in Hampstead.

During your career, a lot of your work has focussed on the abuse of human rights. Is there a particular issue which has shocked you more than the rest?

The capacity of ordinary people to be caught up in and commit atrocity – what does this say about being human?

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

Zarganar - Burma’s leading comedian, who was jailed and tortured. He inspired me to make a campaigning documentary and he said to me on camera, “My enemy must be my friend.” I am glad to say he is now free.

Aside from your own collection, if you had to choose one classic film from another film-maker which you wish you had made, what would you choose?

Pather Panchali, the opening film of the Apu Trilogy by the great Indian director, Satyajit Ray.