How to Start a Revolution is a multi award winning documentary following the work of 2012 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Gene Sharp, the world’s foremost expert on nonviolent action. BAFTA award-winning director Ruaridh Arrow follows the use of Gene Sharp’s work by democracy activists from the streets of Serbia and the jungles of Burma to Tahrir Square and the Arab Spring.

This groundbreaking app is a touch activated documentary embedding analysis, extra video and satellite mapping with four of Gene Sharp’s key books including his famous work, From Dictatorship to Democracy, described as a handbook for revolutionaries. For the first time, the iPad brings together an award winning film and books which have helped nonviolent activists change the the world. Integration with Gene Sharp’s Albert Einstein Institution website provides hundreds of pages of additional readings and case studies.

A Revolution Monitor fuses Google Earth with curated Twitter streams from more than 40 countries. Viewers simply touch a country to follow revolutions in real time and even interact with the activists involved. Tweeted articles, blogs and video are displayed instantly creating a live stream of activist generated news by location.

Part educational resource, part immersive experience – this app is an essential toolbox of resources for activists and all those interested in democracy and the abolition of violent conflict.

“A vital conversation starter and educational tool in a world awash with violence” The Huffington Post


What is a Touchdoc?

A Touchdoc is a documentary which plays with embedded content offered at key points in the film.  This allows us to provide you with maps, extra video or documents to add depth to your viewing experience.  Extra content is flagged up at the top of your screen at appropriate points. Touching this content pauses the film and displays the featured content in the main screen. To continue watching, just touch “done”.

If you would rather wait to explore the feature content until after the film has finished you can find everything displayed during the film under the chapter headings on the app home screen.

How do I play the film?

The main play button is on the home screen in the left hand sidebar.  The film can be played from the chapter points which can be scrolled through on the main home screen.
When playing, the film can be moved backwards or forward by touching and dragging your finger along the play bar which appears when the screen is touched.

Can I play the film on my TV from my ipad?

Yes you can! (If you have a recent digital television) There are a number of ways of doing this but the two most common are to use a physical connector from the ipad to an HDMI port on your television available from many technology stores or stream the app by “airplay” from the ipad to an Apple TV unit connected to your television. Apple TV is available from the Apple Store. To airplay the app to Apple TV press the home button on your ipad twice. This will display your ipad’s open applications at the bottom of the screen. By swiping your finger rightwards over the applications bar it will display the airplay button.  All pages you select in the app will display on your television including the features like Revolution Monitor.

Whats’s on the features page?

The features page includes extracts of Gene Sharp’s lectures, extra video, biographies of film characters and searchable google maps of locations from the film.  Notes on historical events and documents referred to in the film are also included.

What is the Revolution Monitor?

The revolution monitor combines a touch sensitive google map with curated twitter streams from various countries where revolutions or nonviolent actions may be occurring. Touching a red dot on a particular country brings up a twitter feed for that particular country in the left of the screen. You can log into your twitter account by touching the Twitter bird logo at the bottom of the twitter feed and tweet either inside your own twitter account or by pressing the Tweet button.
To search google maps just touch the google logo at the bottom left hand corner of the map. Google search and other are google services such as translate are also available by touching the google logo and navigating the menu in the top right hand corner of the google earth search page however we advise using the native ipad safari browser for these tasks

How does the Revolution Monitor choose which tweets are displayed?

The producers set particular search terms, key words or hashtags on the twitter feeds for each country.  You will find that some countries are less active than others, Syria is very active at the moment for instance while Belarus is very quiet. The Revolution Monitor can be updated by the producers, for instance if a new country needs to be added due to political events or improvements made in the search terms in others.  Suggestions can be made by emailing app@howtostartarevolutionfilm.com

There is an Occupy protest in my city, why isn’t it on the monitor?

Unfortunately the monitor cannot cover everything however we recognise the importance of the Occupy movement and therefore the global Occupy movement is monitored by touching the red dot on New York, the starting point of the Occupy movement.

The Revolution Monitor isn’t displayed, some books are not downloading or displaying?

Some key features of the App rely on an internet connection. The Revolution Monitor will not display if your Ipad is not connected to the web.  From Dictatorship to Democracy is included within the App however all other books are fetched from a web server and downloaded into Ibooks when you touch them.  After the books have been opened in ibooks they will then be available to read even when there is no internet connection.

Why is there no Facebook share option?

This is a software compatibility issue which will be addressed with an update within the next couple of weeks.

I have found some other problem…

We’re sorry if you’ve come across a problem. This type of app is very new and there may be some glitches in the first version which we have not discovered in testing. Please help us by emailing us at app@howtostartarevolutionfilm.com