NDMI has just completed a four month digital multimedia arts project working on the Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area (NIA) project.
For the last 3 years the Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area (NIA) partners have worked with landowners and local communities within the River Torridge catchment to help support, protect and connect wildlife habitats and enhance recognition that our natural heritage underpins all our lives. Activities have ranged from planting community woodlands to river monitoring, from on-farm education to environmental art projects.
Re-connecting communities with nature can benefit both wildlife and people; providing opportunities to improve health, well being and to learn new skills.
Our part in this project was to work alongside Clare Manning, Community Outreach Officer from NIA partners Devon Wildlife Trust to deliver a multi media arts project resulting in three short films.
North Devon Moving Image short film project Boat Stories has come up trumps again with Winner Takes All, an exciting short film capturing the thrills of women's gig racing in North Devon.
The five minute documentary, produced by Jo Stewart-Smith with Bideford based film maker Matt Biggs of Artaura Productions, follows Appledore Pilot Gig Club Ladies A Team as they compete on home waters at last year's Appledore Gig Regatta.
When Boat Stories Producer, Jo Stewart-Smith met the Ladies A Team she immediately spotted a good story "I was impressed with the welcome I was given" says Jo "how hard the teams trained through the winter – how competitive they were and yet the friendships they made through the team and the club carried on into their social life so that they were a tight knit group at work and at play. "
Emily Lea, Vice Captain of the team says they were really excited when Jo approached them with the idea of making a film and they are thrilled with the result "The film captures the great passion and incredible dedication members have at Appledore Pilot Gig Club. While watching the film, I went back to those gruelling training sessions, those competitive, goose bump moments where we almost beat our rivals and that sheer feeling of giving all you have got, for those incredible minutes of racing!"
"Rowing is already a popular sport, but with the help of this film, I feel it will promote the sport in a positive light, and encourage more people to get fit, and what better than to row in a boat!"
The sport is popular with both men and women, a lot of Appledore Pilot Gig Club members are married, which brings healthy competition between the sexes. The ladies have three racing teams, A, B and C crews and an intermediate group, who will be forming a D crew this season. There is also a group of 'women of a certain age' and Emily says "We are very lucky to have the amazing "hot flushes" they compete in the vets and super vets races, and often win silverware for the club. We are all very close and it just proves age really doesn't matter when it comes to rowing."
"Women of today are so busy juggling home and work life, rowing is a welcome escape, you can step into the boat in a stressed and bad mood and leave after a good row feeling refreshed, confident and ready to face the world!"
The team's next battle will be in The isle Of Scillies at the World Championships where they will be rowing hard but also celebrating 4 hen dos. Emily notes "This of course will be happening after we have competed. There is a strict rule amongst the woman of no drinking until the last day ... that's the beauty of rowing though, we don't need alcohol to have fun!"
As ever, we are really grateful to our Boat Stories funders: Northern Devon FLAG, Bideford Bridge Trust, Tarka Country Trust, Westcountry Rivers Trust and North Devon +.
Along with the other Boat Stories short films Winner Takes All can be viewed on our films page and at the Boat Stories website www.boatstories.co.uk where you can read more about gig rowing in North Devon and the making of the film.
Keep up to date with all the latest news from NDMI Creative Director Amanda McCormack.
North Devon Moving Image CIC
Gareth Alvarez, Creative Director
North Devon Moving Image CIC is a Community Interest Company Limited by Guarantee
Community Interest Company No. 8737215
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