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 ...
ALICE BOLLEN - LEIGHTON, FARMING WITH NATURE
I am pleased to say we completed our first day filming on Saturday 12th January. Myself, Rem, Judah and our niece Izzy met with Leighton and his partner Jill at the Hartland Abbey gardens to film their first garden clearing session of the season. We were very lucky with the weather as the day started out bleak and wet but cleared by the time we arrived, and we spent two hours filming as Leighton and Jill cleared away last years growth and began digging tomato trenches in the polytunnels.
We also filmed Leighton planting the first seed onions of the year at his home in Stoke, where he explained to us how applying different techniques to growing seeds offers different results. He was very pleased to note that the first seed onions have taken only three days to germinate, so a promising start to the season. There is no work yet to be done on the beehives but in the next two weeks Leighton will be pruning apple trees and planting the first potatoes.
"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.
ARIEL PINTOR - THROUGH JOSH'S EYES
The first shoot for Through Josh's Eyes took place between 3rd and 6th December 2018. I think it was very successful, on several counts. Most importantly, it consolidated my relationship with the film's subjects, the Jeffery family. I was 'embedded' in Lower Brownsham Farm for the duration, observing and sharing in the Jeffery's daily routine and comprehensively documenting all aspects of their life and activities in and around the farm.
I felt we grew to like and trust one another quickly. For my part, my first stay at Lower Brownsham Farm confirmed what interesting - and welcoming - people the Jefferys are, as well as the visual richness of their farm as a film location.
My initial concept for the film, to portray the working/family dynamic of Lower Brownsham Farm through the POV of its youngest tenants Josh, Steven and Charlotte, played an important part in this first shoot. The individual interviews and scenes I filmed featuring the boys and their baby sister have already given me plenty of good material to present themes central to the farming experience.
"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!
Ariel Pintor from Somerset
Alice Bollen from Devon
Florence Browne from Cornwall
Holly Black & Joanne Barker from Bristol
James Cox from Devon
Linda Mason from Hampshire
Michael Balsdon from Devon
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.
Alice - Smallholder Leighton was brought up by the ‘make do and mend’ generation. He spent his childhood embracing nature and making the most of all it had to offer. This reflects in the resourceful way he farms today.
Ariel - Wife & husband team Tina & Dan Jeffery fulfilled a life's ambition three years ago: to run their own farm. The National Trust's award to the Jefferys of the tenancy at Lower Brownsham Farm meant a challenging, tough new start “at the deep end.” "Through Josh's Eyes” aims to tell the story of the Jefferys, their hopes and struggles as relatively new tenant farmers, from the point of view of their children.
"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."
We have had a busy two weeks here in Instow with our first ever NDMI Academy summer schools. Week 1 was a live action drama film making workshop for 5 young film makers aged between 10 and 13. The creative team devised their own story and with our support they wrote, directed, acted in, shot and edited the film He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (see below to view the film). The crew learned loads of new skills and worked together perfectly, coming up with great ideas and making time to listen to each other and let everyone's voice be heard with a brilliant result!
NOTE: The technical kit used was our Sony NX3 camcorder, Rode microphone with boom pole and deadcat and Sony Vegas to edit. Additional film making exercises were carried out with the use of our iPad Air, iOgrapher case, iRig pre amp and the professional Rode microphone.
NDMI Academy Summer School week 2 was an animation workshop for 5 talented youngsters aged between 7 and 11. This was great fun and we were so impressed by the creativity and patience of all our young film makers. They began the week getting to grips with the technical equipment and then recorded interviews with each other to form the basis of the film sound track. They went on to design and create their characters, props and sets. The animating was a great challenge as the audio was already recorded and the characters needed to move to fit the voices - we don't take the easy route here - and it definitely paid off as the result, with authentic interviews is really entertaining and the animation is brilliant! Take a look at the film below.
NOTE: The technical kit used was our iPad Air in an iOgrapher case, iMotion app, Rode microphone, iRig pre amp, Newplast modelling clay and Magneflash LED lights (great because they don't get hot and dangerous!)
If you are interested in film making workshops for your family, group, school or yourself please do get in touch.
The votes are in! We celebrated our North Devon AONB Wild Shorts film competition nominees and winners and thanked project partners, sponsors and funders at the inaugural Wild Shorts Awards in Barnstaple last Friday.
North Devon Moving Image ran the Wild Shorts competition between May and November 2016 with the aim of raising awareness of the North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
“Entries came in from new and experienced film makers of all ages and the quality and variety of subject and creative style was impressive.” Says NDMI Creative Director, Amanda McCormack who hosted the Oscars-style Wild Shorts Awards ceremony in Barnstaple on 20 January 2017.
Twenty year old film student Rhys Harris, who travelled from Cornwall to North Devon to make his Wild Short, Places Afar, won both first prize in the Adults category and the overall Judges’ Choice Award.
Kathryn Jeffs, a Senior Producer at the BBC’s Natural History Unit was on the Wild Shorts judging panel. She praised Places Afar, saying “Loved this film. Intriguing opening, beautifully filmed, captured my attention immediately. This had visual flare married beautifully with spoken word. Contemplative, well paced, expansive and thoughtful. I could watch on loop. Wonderful!”
Rhys was delighted with the outcome “Winning the competition was a huge boost of confidence for me. The fact that something I made was able to win something means that I must be doing something right! I had a great time attending the awards show and I can't stress enough how thankful I am to everyone involved. Now I have the spike in motivation to go and make something new!"
The Wild Shorts project which included film making workshops for families, school children and adults was funded by the North Devon Coast AONB, Fullabrook CIC and the Tarka Country Trust. “The films produced for the Wild Shorts competition show how the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty provide a feast of the senses for all those who visit and enjoy them.” said AONB Manager Jenny Carey-Wood. “From the tastes of wild fruit and fungi, the feel of sand and shells, the sounds of seabirds and streams, the sight of the sea and sky and the views out to Lundy and inland to the heaths and woodlands. This project has comprehensively achieved the objectives of our Sustainable Development Fund by reaching new people and increasing understanding and awareness of the AONB.”
Full list of winners by category:
1. Primary School: Rockpooling Club by Torchlight! by Paige, Daisy, Noah, Lily and Mr Hockley from Combe Martin Primary School. Prize 4 X child season tickets to Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park
2. Secondary School: Colours in Nature by Willow Chater, Lauryn Reed and Ella Jenkins. Prize 3 X child annual passes to Ilfracombe Aquarium
3. Age 12-17: Our Guide to Sustainable Living by Seraphina Allard-Bridge and Martha Macdonald prize 4 X U18 Day passes to GoldCoast Oceanfest 2017
4. Family: Mouth Mill by Alice Bollen, Remo Rossi and Lorenzo Rossi. Prize annual family membership to Devon Wildlife Trust.
a. Winner: Places Afar by Rhys Harris. Prize Annual Membership to National Trust.
b. Runner Up: My Favourite Walk: The Speke’s Mill Valley by Rhodri Davies. Prize annual car park pass for Down End Croyde.
Judges’ Choice Award: Places Afar by Rhys Harris.
Here are six top tips to help you make a great short film for our North Devon Coast AONB Wild Shorts wildlife and environment film competition.
North Devon Moving Image was commissioned by education charity Into Film to deliver a series of workshops to young film makers in North Devon from February to May this year.
We worked with Instow Primary School, St Anne's Film Club in Barnstaple and Petroc Supported Internship Programme in Barnstaple, North Devon. Each group experimented with different equipment and techniques and came up with an idea for a two minute film. In their groups they then decided on the story and film making methods they would use. The young film makers had creative control over their productions from start to finish and used the skills they had learned in the earlier sessions to create three very different but equally fabulous films (see below).
Yesterday evening we celebrated the success of the project with a screening event at Petroc in Barnstaple to reward the film makers for their hard work and creativity and thank all the staff who helped facilitate the project.
We are delighted to announce that North Devon Coast AONB and Fullabrook CIC are supporting North Devon Moving Image with funding to help run a wildlife and environmental short film competition.
We are working on sourcing some fabulous prizes from local businesses and fans of the AONB and will update the website with all the entry details on 1 June 26 when the competition opens.
What we can tell you is that the competition will be open to all ages and there will be a prize for each age category.
North Devon Moving Image is currently researching a new film making project about farming in North Devon.
We loved making our Instow Barton: This Farming Life film and see a great value in producing more films about North Devon's farming heritage.
We are now looking for characters and stories for this new series so if you would like to share your farming family's heritage with us and the wider world or if you know of someone who would make a great subject for a short film, please get in touch.
We are currently seeking funding for this project, which will include a programme of screening events, and any support of match funding will be most welcome. All being well, we hope to begin production in the Spring of 2016.
If you ever thought that scuba diving in North Devon would be dull then think again. The waters off the coast of Ilfracombe are littered with wrecks and populated by fascinating underwater life. A new short film - Every Dive is an Adventure - introduces members of Ilfracombe and North Devon Sub Aqua Club (ILFSAC) who dive alongside volunteers from Seasearch, surveying marine life as they explore this fascinating underwater landscape.
Film producer Jo Stewart-Smith talks about the inspiration behind this latest addition to the Boat Stories series "I had two people equally passionate about their favourite subject and was torn between whether to focus on exploring undiscovered wrecks or recording marine life in our short film. Luckily, because wrecks which lie on the sea floor act like rocky reefs and become magnets for marine life we are able to reveal a little bit of the excitement of both."
Jo says that the title for this film is a direct quote from ILFSAC Chairman Shaun Galliver who says in the film "Diving off the coast of North Devon is a challenge and we never know what we are going to find - whether we're looking for a new wreck or new marine life - every dive is an adventure."
Galliver, a self-confessed 'wreck head' told Jo about the many wrecks off the North Devon Coast "Around 1910 Cardiff was one of the world's busiest ports and in one year 13 million tonnes of coal or 300 ships a day travelled past Ilfracombe. Many of those either hit rocks or hit each other so we still have a lot of undiscovered wrecks here, we found four last year and even last week we dived two new ones."
He commented that to dive a new wreck, one that no one has touched or seen for 150 years, is amazing and the club can offer that opportunity to its members. ILFSAC has been exploring new wrecks since it was founded in 1960 so its club house is a bit like an Aladdin's cave of treasures from the deep. One of these holds pride of place at the bar; a ship's bell which came from the steamship The George Lamb which came a cropper on the rocks in the late 1800s.
Jo was entranced by the brilliant colours in ILFSAC diver, Maggs Ashton's photographs. Maggs is passionate about photographing this colourful underwater world 'people always say you must have photographed that in the Red Sea, I have trouble convincing people that they are found here in North Devon."
In the film Sally Sharrock tells us about Seasearch, a project which encourages divers to map out the sea bed and survey marine life "We work on the assumption that if we don't know what's there we can't protect it and the only people who see what is down under water are the divers. We train them in basic marine biology so that they know what they are looking for."
Talking about the variety and colourful nature of the marine life Sally says "It's like an old fashioned sweet shop where you have all the jars of different colours on the walls." On this dive she discovers a curious looking Tompot blenny and exclaims "they're always good fun, 'cause they've got a big smiley face!"
Every Dive is an Adventure will be shown on the big screen along with the 9 other Boat Stories Films at a free event on Friday 16 October 2015 at Bideford Cinema, Kingsley School, Bideford - details at www.bidefordcinema.org.uk.
Unsurprisingly, seats are selling fast so if you can't get to the screening you can watch the films online at www.boatstories.co.uk or look out for the DVDs which will be on sale in selected museums and information centres soon.
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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