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.
Ariel: Spring shoots are on their way for our production. The crew has been expanded with the addition of Junior Researcher, Bath Spa University Film & TV Production undergraduate Caitlin.
The season's turn will mark our return to Lower Brownsham Farm, where the Jefferys are already looking ahead to summer: preparing for the spring clearing of their barns and looking after their new calves and lambs.
Thank you to all our project funders and partners who are making this exciting project happen!
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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