What is BioCultural Heritage Tourism? What does it mean? And how is it relevant to North Devon? More importantly, why does it need ‘visualising’?
Picture this: an area of world-class natural value (designated by UNESCO — the United Nations Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organization) demonstrating the best examples of people working in harmony with nature for the benefit of all.
That all sounds fantastic. But, what does it look like in practice?
North Devon Biosphere BioCultural Heritage Tourism
Enter the North Devon Biosphere BioCultural Heritage Tourism Project (BCHT). A collaboration between inhabitants, businesses and environmental managers to create experimental activities that celebrate the connections between humans and nature distinctive to the local area and cultural heritage.
The main aims of the project were to:
And it all came to a grand conclusion with the Eductour Event at the end of June 2021.
Bringing the Eductour to Life
The event itself offered a sample of some of the creative BCHT experiences available, incorporating a good spread of what is being developed here in North Devon. In short, a celebration of how we can more closely connect to this stunning landscape through art, wellbeing experiences, nature interpretation, traditional heritage and culture tied intrinsically to the land and sea.
But, with travel restrictions still lingering, attendance from the French partner Biospheres was unfortunately impossible.
This is where NDMI’s involvement in the Eductour event began.
We were approached by the North Devon Biosphere to help bring to life some of the experiences in the Eductour programme of events for those unable to attend in person.
In effect, visualising BioCultural Heritage Tourism.
We loved the premise of the project. The programme of events was exciting and interesting. So, we jumped at the chance to be a part of the experience, feeling extremely privileged to get the opportunity to tell some amazing stories and create some insightful films for the Eductour.
Five Films. One Fantastic Experience.
As a team here at North Devon Moving Image, working on the Eductour project, we got to learn about the unique carbon-neutral mechanics that drive the Lynton and Lynmouth Water-Powered Cliff Railway. We captured the thrill of exploring nature with the North Devon Biosphere’s Nature Backpacks, as well as seeing some Traditional Stone Walling in practice, and witnessing the process of Charcoal-making with a portable kiln, and the creation of Handcrafted Gin made from local ingredients.
It was as revelatory as it was enjoyable.
Of course, we could tell you all about the films we made and about everything we learned from the different BioCultural Heritage Tourism experiences. But, it’s definitely better for you to see for yourself.
Check out our five Eductour films below.
Feel free to comment and let us know what you think too. Especially if you learn something new!
North Devon Moving Image is a CIC — a Community Interest Company. Now, for the uninitiated, this means we occupy the curious and interesting space between Limited Companies (Ltd) and charities.
A CIC is like a Limited Company insofar as its directors have limited liability. Additionally, a CIC limited by guarantee, like NDMI, has no share capital and cannot pay dividends. However, unlike a Limited Company, a CIC exists primarily to benefit a community. Which is where the parallels with charities begin.
Like a charity, NDMI depends on external funding to pursue community interest projects. And, as such, all the funding we receive is invested in our projects. NDMI’s very existence as a CIC is founded upon our mission to give something back to the North Devon community.
In our case, it’s through filmmaking.
It’s about telling people’s stories. Giving people a voice. Making meaningful connections.
And there’s only one way to do that effectively.
Stop. Collaborate. And Listen.
Even though he sampled the bassline to Queen’s ‘Under Pressure’ without permission and had then included the lyrics “stop, collaborate and listen” without the slightest hint of irony, Vanilla Ice makes a valid point. This is how to make things work.
And when you have an interest in the community, and a determination to create, collect and share their stories through film, these are solid guiding principles.
Which is how we came to work on a project with Encompass Southwest.
A Facebook post looking for media-savvy volunteers to make short films, record podcasts and write blogs, caught my eye.
This was an opportunity for collaboration.
At the very least it was a chance to meet up with other people working within, and for, the community and just listen.
Which is exactly what happened.
We met. We talked. We listened. And, as a result, we discovered a common ground. A charity in need of some filmmaking and media support, and a CIC in need of its first community filmmaking project under its new management.
In short, serendipity. The stars aligned for both organisations at just the right moment.
And here we are.
Several meetings on and the @RISK project is in development and looking promising. In fact, it has the potential to be huge and impactful. More than any of us could have imagined when we first sat down for that informal chat over coffees and fruit juice.
For now, though, it’s very much a case of watch this space.
Just one final insight I’ve gained from my involvement in this first project. If you show interest in the community, the community will show an interest in you.
In the words of Ol' Blue Eyes, “I get a CIC out of you.”
It’s always difficult to announce yourself. And it’s awkward to talk about yourself in the third person.
So, how do you go about letting people know that there has been a change in directorship at North Devon Moving Image CIC (NDMI)?
Introducing NDMI’s New Creative Director
I’m Gareth Alvarez, the new Creative Director at NDMI.
Earlier this year, when Mandi announced she was stepping down as Creative Director and searching for a new leader to take the organisation forwards, I jumped at the opportunity.
Over the past seven years, Mandi has done exceptional work with NDMI. She has run some amazing projects, told some beautiful stories, and given people across North Devon both a voice and a platform to express themselves through film.
She has also left some huge shoes to fill.
But, it’s also an opportunity to develop and build upon the work she has already done. A chance for a fresh face to take NDMI in a new direction, while keeping true to its values and overall mission: to deliver arts and heritage projects and produce short films which inspire, enlighten and entertain.
And this is what I intend to do.
So, who am I? And why has Mandi willingly handed over her baby to me?
Well, I am the Head of Media at The Ilfracombe Academy. So taking up the Directorship at NDMI felt like a natural step for me. Another way to provide young people and the wider community with access to film and its potential to inspire creativity and tell important stories.
As Head of Media, I have always sought opportunities for my students to gain real-life filmmaking experience. Having previously submitted student work for Mandi’s Wild Shorts Competition, I have experienced NMDI’s potential as a wonderful vehicle to support young people’s education in North Devon through film. And this is something that I aim to develop further.
I love filmmaking and the creative process. I love working with young people, and people in general, to help them discover the possibilities and potential that film has to offer. And I want to channel this through NDMI.
We’re Going This Way
So, as the new Creative Director at North Devon Moving Image my personal mission will be:
North Devon Moving Image CIC (NDMI) is a community film making organisation delivering arts and heritage projects to produce short films which inspire, enlighten and entertain.
In October 2020, 7 years on from launching NDMI, I will be stepping down leaving an opportunity for a leader or leaders to take the organisation forwards with new energy and creativity. If you think this is you, read on...
There is an opportunity for earning income with NDMI by running local arts and heritage projects. Historically, the majority of our income has been from grant funding but as a CIC there is potential for commercial offers e.g. film and video production, education and training as well as monetising our substantial short film archive.
The position would suit a creative entrepreneur, project manager or arts producer or a collective of multidisciplinary parties. You don't need to be a film maker, you do need passion and dedication to working to benefit the north Devon community. The company will be passed over with no assets nor liabilities and no charge. Annual core running costs are approximately £300 (insurance, web costs, company filing fees).
You will be free to run the company as you wish in line with our mission statement and it could be a part time side hustle or a full time job. There will be a hand over period so you aren't thrown in the deep end and training on managing the website if you need it.
The organisation has an excellent reputation and is known to and supported by local and regional funders.
To find out more about the company see our company information at Companies House https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/08737215 and you can scroll through these news pages to give you an idea of what projects we have worked on to date.
Please do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest or to arrange an informal chat.
Creative Director, NDMI
It is quite likely that you may recognise Greta Greenslade from Barnstaple Pannier Market where she is quite a fixture, selling her tasty home made fruit pies. We met Greta at her home where she has lived for over 80 years to hear stories of how home life has changed over the years in north Devon. In the resulting oral history film, made for the social history gallery at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon, we get to know Greta in her home environment, meet her many cats and hear her talk about embroidery, pastry making, 'scald' cream and find out about her 1950s solid fuel Sofono cooking range.
You can watch Greta's film by clicking here and you can now watch this and the other four social history films in the newly renovated Museum in Barnstaple.
On the evening of Friday 29 November 2019 we marked the success of our Down on the Farm film commission project with a private celebration event at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon. The film makers, their farmers, project partners and funders came together for a premiere screening of the six short documentary films prior to their public release on 1 December.
This was an opportunity for us to congratulate the film makers and thank the farmers for their contributions as well as giving the guests a chance to meet them and talk about their films. The Museum were wonderful hosts - a fabulous venue and delicious refreshments provided by the Museum's new 'Bromley's' cafe.
We would like to extend a sincere thank you to the following for their generosity in donating accommodation, enabling our film makers to attend the event: Rolle Quay Inn, The Old Vicarage, Inglenook Cottage in Instow, Royal and Fortescue Hotel, Coombe Farm Goodleigh and Brightlycott Cottage.
Our Down on the Farm film makers have been busy finishing production on their five minute documentary films. Catch up with how they are feeling as they enter the final stages of the commission...
If you would like to book the Down on the Farm films for a community screening please get in touch.
It’s been a busy few of months in the edit suite, and we’ve made some leaps and bounds since the last update. The main focus has been story development, but we’ve also made interesting creative developments.
The main bulk of production was completed in May, after spending an amazing weekend with our contributor, Wayne Copp on his family farm in Twitchen, North Devon. Upon returning home, I locked myself away in my editing suite, transcribing and chopping my way through well over an hour and a half of interview material. Wayne was an excellent, emotive and informative interview subject, and we probably could have carried on his interview for another couple of hours. It was an excellent problem to have, I had so much information that it took me well over a month to cut down to 15 minutes. It was then another agonising week or so, where I had to lose even more great material to reach our 5-minute limit. So, with my interview material virtually ready to go – save a final couple of passes we will complete at a later date - I was ready to start building shot sequences, a process I am still up to my knees in as I write this. It became clear to me while cutting, although I had well over 3 hours of footage, I didn’t have anything to provide visual context to a key portion of our film. Our subject is farming through the generations, and although Wayne allowed us to extensively shoot him and his cattle at work, we still lacked compelling visual material that captured his family history.
I jumped back in the car and raced back to North Devon. Wayne and his family have an amazing collection of photographs showing his family history, stretching back to the Victorian Era. The photo albums alone are worthy of a feature film, so thankfully our problem was solved.
Back in Plymouth, I enlisted the help of a close friend and very talented photographer, Stephen Green to help restore and edit the photographs. I wanted to add animation to the photographs, hoping to bring Wayne’s family history to life. Stephen and I are still working to produce these animations, which are turning out better than I could have hoped for. So, a big thank you to Stephen, as I don’t think this would have been possible without his help.The next hurdle to tackle is audio. For this I have obtained the help of Simon Tucker. He is a music and audio producer, based in Plymouth. I’ve worked with Simon before and his knowledge and skill with audio is baffling, so I’m over the moon that I’ve managed to get him on board. We’re set to start work on the audio dub later this week.
So in a nutshell, post-production is going well, though there are still elements of production going on. We’re gearing up for completion and are well on track. To date it’s been an excellent experience and it’s been a pleasure to work with some excellent, creative people. Our contributor Wayne has had a big say on the final outcome of his interview, ensuring that the information is accurate and ticks all of his boxes in terms of the information he wants to give. So the crew and contributor are all working together like a well oiled tractor!
DEE, HOLLY & JO (BLACK BARK FILMS)
We decided, on one shoot, for a fly on the wall style documentation of Liv’s experience as a farmer. Inspired by two long (recorded) conversations with Liv ahead of the shoot, we planned out the day to reflect the feelings she had expressed with a visual story to complement our previous conversations. On the 16th July we headed down to Down Farm in preparation for an early shoot on the 17th. Greeted by a low mist over the top field, as the day went ahead we slowly understood exactly what it feels like to be a market gardener in such a beautiful and peaceful location. Following Liv and Henry about their day, listening closely to the shuffle of the irrigation hose as it’s tugged across the soil, or the bright whip of the sprinkler as it span, the intimacy of the environment filtered into our work and we’re very excited to watch the rushes and start post!
We are very grateful for Liv and Henry for allowing us to interrupt one of the busiest harvests of the year, and we hope that we do them proud with an honest representation of Down Farm - including some beautiful drone footage from Torridge District Council - a shout out to them!
Next steps - post-production. We’re liaising with a composer and making selects for the editing process to begin in October, ready for the deadline. Not long now...
I always find editing a slightly intimidating process, with so many possible ways to tell a story from the footage. I’m really enjoying trying different ways of shaping this project, from something very still and slow to a quicker, more dynamic version.
Five minutes is a challenging target to work to in many ways - there’s no room for unnecessary material or dialogue, and each shot has to earn its place. It’s made me really think hard about the story I’m telling on meat production, and focus carefully on the characters.
While I was already aware of the importance of ethically-sourced meat, it’s interesting working on this subject with frequent headlines in the news on meat production and rising veganism. Whatever one’s choice of diet, I’m hopeful that this film will help viewers make more informed decisions. It’s very nostalgic already watching scenes through and remembering my time at West Ilkerton Farm where I was so well looked after and made so welcome. I’m looking forward to showing them the final version!
Having come into the Down on the Farm project in July, I had a busy month or so arranging filming and getting to know the farmer who will be the subject of my documentary, Ronald Griffey. Ronald grazes sheep on Northam Burrows Country Park, which is an area of common land made up of grassland, salt marsh and sand dunes on the edge of the Taw Torridge Estuary. Ronald is deeply connected to the Burrows so it has been fascinating developing the story and getting to know him.
I finished my first weekend of filming – unfortunately timed over a weekend of gales and rain so I had to adapt my plans, but that’s the nature of filmmaking and one of the reasons it’s such an adventure!
The afternoon I arrived was a washout with heavy rain and wind, but the following morning, while sheltering from rain showers in Ronald’s barn, I was able to record the first interview with the farmer. During the interview we delved into Ronald’s life as a sheep farmer and the challenges he has. His father and grandfather also farmed in the area, and Ronald’s sons also own some of the sheep, so it’s a family affair and in their blood.
The weather brightened in the afternoon so I headed on to the Burrows for the first time with my camera. Rain clouds scudded overhead, but when I wasn’t diving into my car to keep my camera dry, I spent a happy few hours filming the sheep, landscape and wildlife.
I started to get a sense of why Ronald loves this unusual, beautiful area so much.
By the evening the rain had blown over so I went back on to the Burrows to capture the sunset. I took a while choosing the best position to film from, but finally settled on a point on the pebble ridge looking over the beach and out to sea. The sun went down
over Lundy Island and it was atmospheric watching the light spill over the water before the sun disappeared behind the clouds.
I have a busy week ahead editing the interview and starting to shape the documentary, but I can’t wait to get back to the farm in the coming weeks to film shearing, herding and other work that goes into looking after the sheep.
I have now wrapped up filming with Ronald on Northam Burrows and am hard at work editing to meet the fast approaching deadline. It's lovely to watch the interviews back over and piece them together to tell Ronald's story and bring out his personality. I hope I can create a film he likes! I’m also enjoying picking out the shots from the Burrows and Ronald and his sons working with the sheep. It’s a tricky business selecting the shots that I like best, while having to be ruthless in ensuring they tell the story.
My last weekend of filming on the Burrows was much like the first - windy and wet. But when the sun came out between the clouds, the light across the landscape was beautiful and I was able to get the shots I needed. As someone who loves filming wildlife, I was delighted to see small flocks of starlings swooping over the Burrows and bringing extra life to some of my footage. Having spent so much time out on the Burrows over the last few months, I really have come to understand why Ronald has such a connection to it.
It was so lovely to be back with Rose and Freddy and of course seeing the beautiful farm and cattle never disappoints.
Since my last visit, which was only a few weeks ago (the older cattle went off to market), there has been a lot of rain! Freddy and Rose were telling me how fed up the cows had been and they had to provide additional silage for them to feed on. Farmers really are at the mercy of the weather! Freddy is very proud of the silage he makes; he knows that their cattle are getting the best.
Great to see Bailey too, always give him a tummy tickle!
I then spent a few hours with Freddy, seeing the cattle in the fields. They both read Farmers Weekly and shared some articles from this week. Things are tough for our farmers! I spent time with Rose and Freddy in the afternoon and we spoke about how the year has been and thoughts for their future. As always, Rose cooked us a home cooked hot lunch. Today was pie, chips and vegetables. It was delicious! Then apples and blackberry (from the farm) with custard for pudding! I am always made to feel very welcome, and go home with a food parcel too!
Driving home that evening was treacherous, the rain really made driving conditions tough. It was a long day!
I have really loved my time with Rose and Freddy; it has been a real privilege to capture their way of life over the last year. Farming is hard work, and there is always a job to do! But they both get such pleasure and joy from the farm; they wouldn’t change their life at all! Now the post begins to shape the five-minute documentary!
The editing process has finally come to an end. Condensing footage filmed over 7 months into one five minute film was not an easy task. I am very tempted to create a longer and more detailed film which will enable me to use the interviews, shots and conversations that didn't make it into the final project.
If this whole film making experience has taught me anything it's that the beauty of documentary filming comes from how you cannot script what you film and can never predict what' going to happen when you turn your camera on. When it came to the things that Mel would say when I interviewed her, I never thought they would be so enlightening and also they helped to amplify the themes that I wanted to showcase in my film.
In the end my film was about the hard work that women on the farm undertake and how farming never acts as an obstacle to the relationship between a mother and their child. Despite the demanding and tiring nature of lambing season, Mel took the time to include Lola in her day to day activities and this pair with Lola's enthusiasm for farm work at such a young age strengthened the pairs bond as a result.
I want to express massive gratitude to North Devon Moving Image for allowing me the opportunity to make this film as it was their funding and faith in me that allowed me to hone my film making skills and buy the equipment that helped me to create a better quality and more professional looking film.
We were busy throughout the summer getting to know some wonderful North Devon characters and recording their stories for the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.
These three oral history films, along with the Shapland and Petter Apprentice film made earlier in the year, will be part of a five film collection representing each of the themes in the new social history gallery in the revamped Museum in Barnstaple.
Film 1 - World of Work - The Shapland & Petter Apprentice (Russell Maynard)
Film 2 - Town & Country - The Village Shop (Michael and Anthony Johns)
Film 3 - Hatched, Matched & Dispatched - The Village Church (Fred and Marjorie Pook)
Film 4 - High Days & Holidays - George the Beadle (George Lovering)
This leaves us with one film to make on the topic of House & Home and we are on the lookout for contributors for this film. We would love to find a north Devon family who have lived in their home for generations. If you know anyone who fits the bill please get in touch by email email@example.com or telephone Amanda McCormack on 01271 860610.
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!
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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