A few weeks ago Maria Chiorando sat down with Film-Maker, Activist and Campaigner Robbie Lockie to talk about his passions and achievements in 2016.
What inspired your vegan journey? How long have you been living this lifestyle?
I grew up on a farm in Zimbabwe and always had a close bond with animals, I had a cat and a rat as a pet for many years (yes both... ha ha).
It always felt strange to me that we ate animals. From an early age most people eat meat without question, mostly I guess because it tastes good and we are taught it is the healthy thing to do. It is emphasised that we should not question it, or we may get sick or even worse, die.
I was inspired to go vegan in 2012, after I watched several films and documentaries about how food is produced. It became very obvious to me that the entire food system was a corrupt and insidious moneymaking monster, helping people become ill, and exploiting billions of animals.
How do you define what you do – campaigner/filmmaker/influencer/all of these things?
I have been a digital creative for 17 years, but today I would say I define myself as a campaigner, with aspirations of being a filmmaker. SWINE (see below) was my first film so I guess I am technically a filmmaker, but I am still trying to work out where I fit in within that discipline, as there are so many roles to choose from.
I would ultimately like to be a director, my skills span 17 years of things from SEO Optimiser, Graphic designer and more recently a user experience specialist, where I designed platforms online for companies including BMW, BLOOMBERG and Jamie Oliver.
I trained as campaigner in 2014 where I acquired the skills you need to campaign effectively.
You’ve built up a really impressive body of work in the last year alone, with successful campaigns, and your short film SWINE. What would you say your ambition is?
This year has been quite a whirlwind: I have really immersed myself in the vegan world in London, aiming to connect with as many amazing people as possible. In January I got stuck in with an online campaign targeting Gourmet Burger Kitchen [after the company used posters mocking people who don’t eat meat]. I created the hashtag #gourmetmurderkitchen, this went viral and was trending worldwide on all platforms for almost 24 hours. The campaign resulted in the company removing the offending posters. It felt amazing to have been a part of something that saw so many people focus their rage, and bring a company to book, over something that to them seemed like innocent fun.
Later in 2016 Vevolution co-founder Damien Clarkson and I wrote, produced and delivered a short film SWINE for Viva! a UK animal rights charity. The 16 minute film is one part fiction, one part reality. It opens with a character Jack Tomlins (Timothy Shieff) going undercover on a factory pig farm to expose the illegal use of antibiotics. He encounters something terrifying.
I recently designed and published a vegan cookbook with Millee Johnson from Ethics and Antics, which was great fun. It is always so rewarding to produce something physical that you can touch and feel, if you want a copy you can visit the Ethics & Antics website.
My ambition is to hack the system, to learn how social media works, to understand the algorithms, build a huge audience and teach people about how it’s possible to live a compassionate life without too much disruption to your ‘normal’ life. I have relaunched my Youtube Channel which will focus on Buddhism, Action for Happiness & Veganism.
What kind of projects can we expect to see from you in the future?
You will see more films from me, Damien and I are in talks with Viva! about producing something new soon. So keep your eyes out for that. I am very opinionated about veganism and the future of humanity so expect more of that on my YouTube channel.
Why did you get involved in Vevolution?
I wanted to get involved because Damien and Judy are very good friends of mine. They got me involved in Vegan Futures last year, pre-Vevolution. This is where I realised just how important the vegan movement is and how much I want to be at the forefront of pushing it forward, planting the seeds of change now, so that humanity has a chance of real change.