What does it mean to be ‘at risk’? More importantly, at risk of what?
These are the questions the @RISK project seeks to answer. Because there are important stories that need to be told. People who need to be heard. And organisations in need of support. All on our front doorstep, here in North Devon.
It’s all too easy to sweep problems away, under the rug. To turn a blind eye and pretend these issues don’t exist in our community. Ignoring them in the hope they’ll go away. So long as it doesn’t affect us it’s not our problem.
But what happens when it does affect us? What happens when it becomes our problem? What happens when we find ourselves at risk?
North Devon Moving Image has been collaborating closely with Encompass Southwest since October 2020. We’ve been exploring ways to give a voice to the voiceless in North Devon. At the same time, building a platform where anyone who may be at risk can find information, support, and solace in the fact that they are not alone and help is at hand.
As a Community Interest Company (CIC), NDMI works with the people of North Devon to empower them to tell their stories to local, national and global audiences through film. Our interest lies in the community we serve, and when the opportunity to work with Encompass arose, it felt like the stars had aligned.
Encompass is a charity dedicated to helping people across North Devon who are either experiencing or facing the prospect of homelessness. The charity offers free and confidential advice on a variety of issues such as money and debt, rough sleeping, housing and accommodation, young people’s housing, and homelessness support. In short, when people feel they have nowhere else to go and no one else to turn to, Encompass is there to help pick up the pieces.
With so many powerful stories to be told and so many voices to be heard, NDMI and Encompass developed the @RISK project with the following objectives:
These aims were deliberately ambitious and driven by a desire to better serve and support the local community. Of course, stating your intentions and being able to deliver them are two very different things. And the problem with an ambitious vision is that it’s very easy to become seduced by trying to deliver on every objective at once, and then not deliver on any at all.
So, the expectations of this project were carefully managed and our entire energy was focused on delivering one significant outcome in the short term. Making a single film to kick things off. Creating a pilot documentary about youth homelessness. This one film could then be used as a springboard to develop an informative blog and social media campaign, and then lead to further documentaries and possibly a podcast around issues linked to people at risk. If we could tell people’s stories in a powerful and intimate way, then maybe we could give others hope.
Essentially, we were creating the film that would set the wheels of the @RISK project in motion.
This is how we ended up meeting Natasha.
And this is how we got to tell Natasha’s Story.
There are still many stories to tell.
And there are still many people in need of a voice and in need of support.
Hopefully, the @RISK project will introduce them to us all and help to achieve the change we seek to make.
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
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."
North Devon documentary maker Martin Kemp has won the very first 2018 ARRI Doc Challenge film competition for his three minute film, Where the Land Falls. The film sees Ed Strawbridge, a third generation dairy farmer at Down Farm in North Devon, looking at photographs of his family by James Ravilious. Ed reflects on how farming life has changed during his lifetime.
As a supporter of North Devon Moving Image (NDMI) and former film judge himself (for our Wild Shorts competition) we are thrilled that Martin is sharing his film with us for the NDMI collection.
The theme for the inaugural ARRI Doc Challenge was “Millennial”. As the winner of the competition, Martin received a cash prize of £3,000. “For me, having the chance to play with the ARRI Amira for three days was an unmissable opportunity. It’s a wonderful camera and I very quickly fell in love with it. The challenge to shoot and edit a film in just three days is certainly tough but it’s a great discipline. Plus you have the privilege of being able to make the piece you want to make without commissioning editors!” said Martin.
Thank you Martin and well done. A great film and doing the job that Ravilious did with his engaging photographs - preserving North Devon stories on film.
Following on from some positive feedback and great press coverage of our Clovelly Donkeys pilot film we are full steam ahead with plans for community workshops, film making and education for 2014 and beyond.
We have plenty more up our sleeve too including the all important funding bids to bring these exciting projects to fruition.
One area we are keen to get going as soon as possible is delivering some documentary film making education in North Devon. We are currently looking for partners who can help us deliver film making workshops for children and adults in community or education settings. If you are interested in this please do get in touch.
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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