We are really excited to bring you our latest Down on the Farm update. It's been great to see our former work experience student Curtis and film making mentee Jo getting out in the field alongside our commissioned film makers. We're looking forward to seeing the footage of North Devon's Biosphere Reserve and North Devon Coast AONB from the air and can you spot Fullabrook Windfarm in Linda's photos? (thanks to all three of these organisations for their help in funding this project)
I’ve had the pleasure of being back on the farm twice since my last update, I went back just for a day in May when the younger cattle were first released into the field. I was greeted with glorious sunshine again on this day! It was so charming to see the young cattle running through the fields and eating grass for the first time! It took the cattle a while to begin eating; there was lots of running around the field first. A few of the smaller ones stayed close by Rose for a bit. Trying to get that shot of them first running as released proved to be a bit too difficult as I wasn’t able to move fast enough from the gate, they had already run off. But I did capture lots of lovely moments as the cattle were first eating the grass and my hair. Rose and Freddy were both beaming and love this part of the journey! I found out the older cattle had passed their TB tests and half had now been sold.
I returned for my scheduled third visit at the end of June, again the weather was stunning, three days of beautiful sunshine. After a few strokes and tummy tickles with Bailey (dog), Rose and I walked to see the cattle in the top fields. The younger cattle had been moved from another field, as there wasn’t enough grass for them; they were happily settled into outdoor life. As Rose and I approached the familiar scene of them greeting us was lovely, they all looked so beautiful and had grown!
Since the cattle had been released Rose and Freddy had more time and even enjoy a few days out for walks locally. Freddy was away for the three days cutting grass for a nearby farm and I only saw him briefly. Rose was speaking about the next lot of calves that they get and the age of them, this was still under discussion, as those early months and feeding routines are very strenuous on the body. I also had Jo Ryan join me to gain further experience in documentary filmmaking. On both evenings I went back to film and photograph the sun setting, just so beautiful to see the cattle in this glorious light. I’m looking forward to my last visit in September; always enjoy being on the farm and seeing Rose and Freddy.
HOLLY & JO
Since our last Down The Farm update we’ve spent a meeting on another farm - this time in another part of Devon, planning and preparing for the shoot this month and discussing how to visually present some of the themes we’re looking at in this piece.
We have booked in time with Torridge District Council to use their drone for some particular shots and we’re gathering the equipment we need to capture the feeling and tone that we want to represent Liv and Henry at Down Farm.
We are in the process of deciding on the composer (we’re looking at a female Somerset based artist who is also a farmer!), and we’re looking forward to beginning production and to explore farming and the impact it has had on Liv and Henry’s lives with them.
Lambing Season is over! All the hard work by the Balsdon family has paid off and has led to a successful season on the whole.
During the Months of April, May and July I documented how we relocate the sheep to the neighbouring fields, the caring of the various tame lambs that we had down the farm and also, whilst she was down from Colchester, my sister Stacey's involvement on the farm.
With Stacey being down I got to film one shift on the farm which was worked by Mel, Lola and Stacey and this was such a perfect demonstration of the work the women of Reed Farm put in!
The focus on the tame lambs was quite exciting as I got to see them grow from little tiny lambs who were fed by milk bottles to bigger lambs that are nearly ready to leave the farm.
Once again Lola decided to lend a hand in caring for the lambs and this gave me a chance to see the interactions between my mum and Lola and I interviewed Mum to get her opinion on her granddaughter's interest in the farm.
With the final footage collected the editing process can now begin and all the hours of film must now be condensed into one 5 minute piece of film. The work will be hard but I have complete faith that the finished product will be of the highest standard.
You can get a sneak peek at some of Michael's Down on the Farm footage on his blog here: https://michaelbalsdon.wixsite.com/website/blog/july-5th-update
Since the last update, we have made considerable advancements in production. We have now all but finished the production phase of the film, having spent time on location working with our contributor Wayne Copp, on his farm in North Devon.
The main production phase was shot over the May bank holiday weekend. Originally we were due to start production on Friday 25th May 2019, but while travelling to Wayne’s farm for the first day of production, I blew out a tyre on my car, literally 30 minutes away from the location. After replacing the tyre, we were unable to complete any shooting that day, so I had to limp home on my spare but Curtis, our drone pilot, was still able to carry on and grab us coastal shots that we are hoping to use as opening scenes and title sequence.
We began by shooting Wayne at work and took some amazing shots of Wayne’s farm, cows and crops. It was amazing to see Wayne and his herd in action. Wayne pastures his cattle on the North Devon coast, so we were able to grab some amazing shots of the herd grazing, and also recorded some lovely shots of Wayne chatting to his cows and generally showing the bond that he shares with them. Again, Curtis had his drone airborne, this time focusing on aerial shots of Wayne driving around the farm in his 4x4, the farm from above and the cattle. We ended the day by shooting our master interview, which consisted of a two camera shoot, with Wayne stood next to a distinctive, old and battered plough.
The interview covered all of our main topics which include the Copp family history, Wayne’s farming methods and ethos, techniques in farming that Wayne’s predecessors employed and the turmoil of Brexit and its effects on farmers and consumers in the near future.
The next day we traveled back to the farm for the second full day of production. The second day started with a pick up for our master interview. I wanted to ensure that we had covered the main points of our narrative extensively, so we shot a series of quick fire questions and answers, mainly to help with the edit. We shot in the same location, again with two cameras and ensured that Wayne wore the same clothes as the previous day in an effort to help with continuity.
Once the interview was done, we moved on to once again get shots of Wayne in action. This time we were able to grab some amazing shots of Wayne driving his tractor, loading trailers with manure (the smell was incredibly strong!) and once again working with his cattle. We captured this from both the ground and the air, and I was able to take some amazing slow mo shots (120fps) that look amazing. Wayne took us to a second location where his cows graze, and gave me permission to stay behind after we had finished shooting his contributions. This gave me a really unique opportunity to get up and close with his cattle. At first the cows were extremely wary of me and my camera and didn’t really like me being there without Wayne. But after a while they started to open up and accept me. They then started showing off and played up to the camera and I was able to get some amazing shots of them walking up to and investigating me. I got a glimpse of their personalities, which was something that Wayne kept commenting on. He kept saying that the cows are full of character and I truly got a sense of that.
Not wanting to outstay my welcome, after all I stayed with them for nearly 2 hours, I thanked them for their contribution, got back in the car and drove away having wrapped on our 2nd and final day of production.
I can honestly say, Wayne’s farm truly captured my imagination and Wayne and his cows definitely made us feel welcome. I can't state my admiration enough for Wayne and his work, he truly is a decent and hard working chap and it has been an absolute pleasure working with him.
So with production pretty much finished, I have firmly moved into post production and editing tasks have now begun. Making this film has been an amazing experience so far, and I’m expecting that to continue all the way until we premiere the film in November 2019.
Here are the latest updates from our Down on the Farm documentary commission film makers.
With Spring well and truly on its way things are definitely livening up Down on the Farm...
Michael: March was indeed a busy time for the Balsdon Family. The sheep required constant care and every day saw each member undertake the same responsibilities. The sheep needed to be fed, drenched, moved around and the pens needed to be bedded up with fresh straw and eventually the sheep would be moved out of the farm and into the neighbouring fields.
Holly & Jo: On Friday 22nd February Holly and Jo of Black Bark Films and Dee Butterly of the Landworkers’ Alliance travelled down to Down Farm in Winkleigh, North Devon to visit Liv James as part of the Down the Farm Moving Image commission. We took this opportunity to meet Liv and Henry, take a tour of the farm and get to know each other a bit better over soup on a blustery sunny day.
Henry mentioned that growing organic food locally ticks all the boxes when it comes to food politics. It’s tangible, positive and engaging. It’s not just romanticism. "A good farming system is the answer to a lot of things." Liv says at the end of the conversation. This is one of the angles that we want to explore in the film as we spend the coming months storyboarding and planning, liaising with potential composers and firming up the dates for our summer shoot. “I’ve never felt so stretched and pushed, and learning every day, it’s beyond anything I’ve ever expected, so much more than corporate sustainability.” - Liv James
Since my last visit two of the young calves died as they contracted pneumonia. The calves were now on the other side of the shed and had a new daily routine for bedding. Both Rose and Freddy spoke about how machinery has helped them keep going especially as they are getting older. The bedding up is still strenuous but manageable as they are both so fit and strong. The older cattle were now in a different field this time and were awaiting their TB results, hopefully with the all clear; some would be off to market soon. Freddy enjoyed taking me to spend some time with them in the field, they were as friendly and inquisitive as last time! As Freddy arrives, the cattle immediately come over and announce their arrival.
Rose also spent some time talking with me about growing up on a farm, and she enjoyed sharing old photos from their photo albums.
I also spent a happy afternoon zooming around on the back of a quad bike (capturing some very shaky footage!) and having my first ride in a tractor. However, no one visits West Ilkerton during lambing without getting involved, and farmer Chris made his debut as a filmmaker capturing this clip of me delivering a very large ram lamb (which of course has been christened Florence!). Sarah talked me through the process and it was such a privilege to be one of the team for this lovely sunny birth.
video clip of Florence delivering her namesake!
James: Since winning the commission, my professional life has changed exponentially. A personal milestone was achieved late in March, when I won a Craft Award for motion graphics from the Royal Television Society – Devon & Cornwall. I’ve had a blast flexing my creative muscles on the national stage and am truly excited to focus my attention on the Down on the Farm commission.
In terms of ‘Get Big, Get Different or Get Out’ I’ve been extremely busy, completing the pre-production phase of the film in late February, and have secured the equipment, crew and permissions needed for shooting. I am in the midst of putting together a comprehensive production document, which I am hoping will support the film and its findings across the research portion of pre-production, as well as informing potential audiences of the complete process across the films production.
During this time, I have also been building a relationship with my contributor, Wayne Copp. We’ve arranged a 3-day shooting phase in late May and are both itching to get started. I have recruited Curtis Pyke (former work experience student at North Devon Moving Image) as a camera assistant. Curtis is a first-year student at UWE (University of West England) and is an amateur drone pilot and cameraman.
I feel 100% confident that we are fully prepared and are ready to enter the shooting phase of the project and I can’t wait to release some product stills, behind the scenes shots and of course – the final piece in November 2019.
Thank you to all our project funders and partners who are making this exciting project happen!
Do you have an old family recipe notebook which has been handed down through the generations?
North Devon Moving Image (NDMI) is looking for local contributors for a short oral history documentary film on the topic of House & Home.
Do you treasure Granny's Christmas cake recipe? Do you still use Grandad's carving knife or Great Grandma's pudding bowl? What local recipes are family favourites? We would love to feature a person or family cooking from old hand written (or typed) recipes and see kitchen equipment and artefacts from days gone by as well as old family photos of life back in the day.
The film will be part of a collection on view in the new social history gallery at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.
If you would like to be a part of this film or know someone else who might be interested, please get in touch by email to email@example.com or call Amanda McCormack, Creative Director of NDMI on 01271 860610.
Happy New Year! Here is our first Down on the Farm update for 2019. With such a variety of topics and stories - and a whole year in which to make their films - our film makers are currently at different stages of production. Some are still working on research while others have already begun filming with their chosen farmers. Here is a selection of reports and snippets to keep you up to date ...
"Why farming? "Of all the careers a young woman could go into, we're really keen to explore this question. As female filmmakers with an interest in social change we're really inspired to be working with Olivia. As a small scale no dig farmer and member of the Landworkers' Alliance, Olivia has a distinctly political edge to her work, which we wish to capture through this portrait of a market gardener in North Devon."
Holly and Jo, Black Bark Films.
"The filming of the lambs and the daily routine of the Balsdon family at the start of lambing will take place in January and this will serve as a way of showing the small workload in the early stages and when the shoot in March is completed there will hopefully be quite the strong contrast between the start and middle of lambing season when it comes to the work that is undertaken."
Michael Balsdon, Film Maker
FLORENCE BROWNE - LOCAL MEAT BOXES
I had a brilliant time doing my first stint of filming at West Ilkerton farm in the autumn - the depth of knowledge that Chris, Tortie and Sarah have on their animals is amazing, and will be a challenge to get everything into my 5 minute film!
We went out to visit the herds in the landrover, and saw deer at the same time which are frequent visitors on the land. Nothing gets past Chris, and he has a keen eye for detail on the animals' wellbeing as he checks up on them. We also visited the local abattoir at Combe Martin to pick up meat to be sold at the Lyn Food Fest the next day, and it was great to see this stage of the meat-box process and the team effort that goes into labelling everything round the kitchen table when it's all brought back home.
I got some lovely shots that evening as the sun was setting of Chris doing the rounds on the farm and feeding his beloved rams, and I was also lucky enough to 'help' sample all the types of beef to be sold the next day at dinner time!
LINDA MASON - LIFELONG FARMER
I arrived one sunny morning on 9th October, to a very welcoming Rose. We spent a few hours having a cup of tea and talking about the farm. We then went on a walk around the farm, (with the dog) I was impressed at how fit Rose still is, and she still was climbing fences to get around. We visited the older cattle out in the fields and Rose enjoyed sharing stories about living in Devon all her life.
When we got back from our walk Rose started to get ready for feeding the young cattle that are in the sheds, they have to be fed twice a day, still by hand (the machine they were going to invest in did not work). This is truly a partnership, and with her husband (Freddie) they fed the twenty-three young cattle.
I began filming the young cattle and the feeding routine; Freddie enjoyed sharing about their life as farmers. This first visit was to get to know Rose and Freddie and for them to become comfortable with me filming them. I spent the rest of the afternoon with Freddy visiting the older cattle in the fields, they both have such a lovely relationship with their animals, and I could see how much they cared for the cattle. The cattle are very inquisitive and enjoyed exploring me with my camera, many trying to eat the camera straps!
"Wayne doesn’t claim to be unique in his farming practice and ethos, but when pushed he would say that his environmentalist practice and organic production make his farm unique. In particular, he pastures his cattle along the picturesque marshlands and sand dunes of the North Devon coastline.
Wayne wants to promote organic, environmentally friendly and sustainable agricultural produce, but he can see that cost is the lowest common denominator and a lot of people in Britain can’t afford this type of lifestyle." James Cox, Film Maker
Our next update will be in April 2019 when we will bring you more news from Down on the Farms.
In the meantime if you want to follow us and the project on social media you can find us here:
Facebook: North Devon Moving Image CIC
Twitter: @NDMovingImage #downonthefarm #northdevon
North Devon Moving Image is delighted to be working with the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon to create a collection of oral history films for their new social history gallery. The gallery which will be housed in the new wing, currently under construction, will be laid out in five themes and we will be producing one film for each theme.
The first film, focusing on The World of Work, features Russell Maynard who worked as an apprentice cabinet maker at Shapland and Petter in Barnstaple in the 1950s. Russell kindly welcomed us into his workshop where he not only showed us the wonderful pieces he is working on now but a collection of work dating back to his apprenticeship days. One beautiful wood carving Russell has goes even further back to when he was ten years old and it is this piece that Russell believes helped him win his apprenticeship at Shapland and Petter.
We are currently researching film subjects for the remaining four social history gallery themes; Hatched, Matched & Dispatched, Town & Country, Highdays & Holidays and House & Home. If you know of anyone who would has some great stories to tell, a fascinating collection of artefacts, photographs or home movies and would like to feature in one of these films then please do get in touch.
RUSSELL'S FILM COMING SOON...
Over the next year we will be bringing you updates from our Down on the Farm film makers who will be 'out in the field' in north Devon creating a very special collection of short documentary films.
THE FILM MAKERS
Congratulations to our film makers!
Florence Browne from Cornwall
Holly Black & Joanne Barker from Bristol
James Cox from Devon
Linda Mason from Hampshire
Michael Balsdon from Devon
Joanna Ryan from Devon (edit - Jo joined the fold in July 2019)
The commissionees were selected by an independent panel of professionals, from the film/tv, heritage and environment industries, out of a field of over 40 applicants aged between 18 and 72
James - As political turmoil surrounding the Brexit result takes hold with cheaper, lower quality products set to be imported from abroad, affecting the future of British agriculture; farmer Wayne Copp is preparing to face Brexit and ready his children as they prepare to become the 5th generation to work his farm.
Linda - Rose Manning was born in 1945 and has been in farming all her life. Rose is the eldest daughter of 3 girls and she took the role of future farmer in the absence of her parents having a son. Lifelong Farmer will be told through memories of Rose, through informal conversations whilst she is working with the animals and in the kitchen.
Florence - The film will focus on the Eveleigh family's recently begun 'meat box' scheme, an enterprise which sees them take their own livestock from their farm on Exmoor to the local abattoir in Combe Martin and produce high-quality meat boxes which they can then sell. The focuses on the importance the family place on a small, local abattoir, as this is a crucial factor in the animals' welfare but is often overlooked by the general public.
Holly & Jo - All Down Farm’s produce is eaten within a 20 mile radius of the farm. By engaging with their wider community, market gardeners Olivia and Henry believe not only does this help to strengthen the resilience of the farm itself but also helps rebuild local food networks, links and relationships - links that were once at the core of rural farming communities.
Michael - The lambing season on Michael's family's farm. Focusing on Michael's Mother, Sister Mel and her 3 year old daughter, this inter-generational perspective exemplifies the importance of women in the continuation of farming life.
(edit July 2019) Jo - The film is about grazing sheep on Northam Burrows Country Park. It will focus on farmer Ronald Griffey who has grazed sheep there for over 40 years and the rewards and challenges this gives him. Northam Burrows is an unusual landscape rich in plants and wildlife. As common land, it has a long history of grazing rights. Ronald and his family have a strong connection with the burrows and grazing sheep there. Ronald’s father had grazing rights on the burrows, and Ronald’s son now helps him.
"Rose has been farming all her life and now even in her mid seventies she is still caring for the young cattle and supporting on the farm. I will tell Rose’s story through her daily routines on the farm and in the kitchen baking, as she prepares food and reminisces about her life. Lifelong Farmer will weave together archive material, intimate and personal recollections of being a woman in farming over many decades."
Educational Charity Into Film invited North Devon Moving Image to a creative challenge... to support a group of students at Great Torrington School to make a film in a day!
Written and created by the students, aged between 12 and 14, "Missing" is a chilling drama: "When Lucy goes missing, everyone is trying to pin the blame on others. But while they are doing this, they are completely blind to the reality as to why she’s gone."
The students threw themselves wholeheartedly into the task and demonstrated their creative skills both in front of and behind the camera.
Amanda McCormack, lead film making facilitator for the day, said "For any film to be successful you have to start with a good story and the students wrote a brilliant one! The young film makers and actors were really professional in their approach to creating their film in a day and I think you'll agree that their hard work has paid off". Click below to watch the film on the Into Film Shorts YouTube channel.
Into Film puts film at the heart of the educational and personal development of children and young people across the UK - supporting schools to run film clubs, providing educational resources and training for educators. If you want to find out more about running a film club or to see what else Into Film has to offer, visit their website.
Community film making organisation North Devon Moving Image CIC (NDMI) is partnering with the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon to share a collection of short films about farming heritage in north Devon.
NDMI is calling for film makers to apply for a £1,000 documentary short film commission, Down on the Farm which will produce six short films about farmers and farming in north Devon. The resulting films will be on show at the new social history gallery being created as part of the Museum's £1.8 million Long Bridge Extension.
Museum manager Alison Mills says "Farming is of course the foundation of life in North Devon, and of our wonderful landscapes, but the everyday aspects of this work are not well known to our increasingly urban populations. As working practices are changing and many farmers are leaving the industry now is the time to record our area’s practices and peculiarities to enable people learn about and engage with our local heritage."
Amanda McCormack, Creative Director of NDMI says “We work with local people to create, collect and share short films about north Devon and our projects give individuals and communities a voice whilst celebrating our local heritage.”
“An important part of NDMI’s remit is to support and nurture film making talent and Down on the Farm is our very first film commission. Thanks to our funders, each successful applicant will receive £1,000 to produce one film sharing the heritage and promoting the work of farmers and farming within the boundaries of North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve, including the coastal Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
The selection panel, comprising members of the TV and film industries, as well as farming and environmental organisations, will be looking for the most engaging stories and fascinating characters with the spirit of north Devon at their heart. Applicants will need to demonstrate strong story telling skills, creative outlook and examples of previous work.
Amanda added “Our consultation for this project drew out plenty of farmers with great stories to tell, so if you are a film maker from outside the area we can put you in touch with willing subjects. We will also have local volunteers on hand to act as location managers and researchers if needed.”
For all the project and application information visit northdevonmovingimage.org.uk, email Amanda McCormack, Project Manager firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01271 860610.
The closing date for applications is Wednesday 1 August 2018.
Amanda McCormack from North Devon Moving Image has been working as Artist in Residence with children from Appledore Primary School as part of the HLF funded Beaford Arts Hidden Histories project.
Hidden Histories is opening up the Beaford Archive of photographs by James Ravilious and Roger Deakins with a major photographic conservation and digitisation exercise.
To complement the work they have been doing on their Hidden Histories community trail, the children interviewed local people reacting to photographs of Appledore taken by James Ravilious in the 1970s and 1980s. They then recreated those scenes in dramatic tableaux to create ten delightful films celebrating both the work of Ravilious and the heritage of their village.
These young creatives loved finding out more about Appledore and following in the footsteps of James Ravilious. They developed new photographic skills as well as becoming film makers and, of course, the stars of the films!
To watch the films visit our Hidden Histories page. To find out more about Hidden Histories and look through the newly digitised photographs visit www.beaford.org and for more about Beaford's Community Trails project click here.
We have been having a fabulous time working with children from Appledore Primary School to create a series of short films inspired by the photographs of James Ravilious. We were lucky to have poet technologist Christopher Jelley joining us on set and he wrote us this lovely poem which sums up the exciting time we have had on this project.
Quiet on Set!
Appledore pupils with fidgets boiling
A torrent of ticks belays the impossibility of stillness
All made the harder as the quiet is demanded
Every shuffle squeak and squark gets branded
Caught on VT captured on film
Every noise and twitch baked in this kiln
Director calls 'Quiet on set'
Camera runs speed
Action filming is on
Then questions short and answers long
Of old Appledore deeds, careers and occupations
Gardeners, shop keepers and life boat stations
Pupils storyboard all these vocals
Memory of their tales through the lens
Connecting points spanning time tying ends
Nodes running back through to the local past
Which the pupils have re-lived as historic cast
Costumes, clothes, hats, wigs
Bloodlines caught on Amanda's camera rigs.
Keep up to date with all the latest news from NDMI Creative Director Amanda McCormack.
North Devon Moving Image CIC
Amanda McCormack, Creative Director
telephone: 01271 860610
North Devon Moving Image CIC is a Community Interest Company Limited by Guarantee
Community Interest Company No. 8737215
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