Talent, enthusiasm and naivety: Geoff Hodgkinson got in touch to explain the emergence of the Hatherleigh Media-Rich Film Festival.
Media-rich, the Hatherleigh mini film festival, came about because a growing interest in film in the town over the past couple of years. There have been animation workshops tied in with the main Hatherleigh Festival, which attracted lots of people including teenagers.
There are also several keen ‘cameramen’ in the town, including Alan Beaman, who have been videoing Hatherleigh events for some years, mainly for archival purposes. Hatherleigh has some important traditions that many people don’t know about. For example, the carnival and its flaming Tar Barrels. Alan has made it his life’s work to record the annual Walrus Dip in the River Lew on New Year’s Day and I have helped him with additional filming. He’s also getting into animation. The seven-yearly Beating the Bounds walk in 2008 was filmed but has not made it to editing suite.
A couple of years ago I discovered a two-hour video of the carnival procession, which, once cut into shape, made a nice easily-digested record, and that led me to ask those keen ‘cameramen’ to film their stretch of the Tar Barrel route in 2007 so we could pool material. In this way we covered the entire early morning pull for the first time ever.
We also filmed the Friday evening preparations and I edited this together to tell the story of the barrels in a film called Born to Run in Hatherleigh, featuring the Bruce Springsteen song. Despite the ‘variable’ technical
quality (night time filming with different camcorders) this film works as a piece of drama and as a record.
This year the main Hatherleigh Festival is looking for new directions, and changes in personnel have forced it to be a much more modest affair. Alan and I saw a chance to introduce something new – hence the mini-film fest.
It’s ‘mini’ because we are starting at the bottom, with a bit of talent, a lot of enthusiasm and a fair degree of naivety.
We want to encourage people hereabouts to think about all that footage they take and turn it into
digestible stories. YouTube is switching people on, of course, which helps.
We want to help young (and old) talent learn and grow; we want to show people what is possible and that making movies is within everyone’s grasp these days. We have called the event Media-rich’ because we want to cover all media – mainly film of course, but we think we can encourage people to think about any A/V experience.
We are not looking for miracles in our first year but we are wanting to put ourselves on the map with the hope we can grow in future years. The response so far from the press has been unusually high and that has generated interest from quite a few people outside the town. There’s definite interest in our workshops and we expect to be holding another one in March/April.
The Festival format has not yet crystalized properly but we have promised to show all entries, however basic. We are working on prizes/awards now.
Personally, I am a writer, journalist, photographer and publisher (print and web). I have run recording studios, attempted musicals and played in rock bands. I have worked with just about every media in the ‘day job’, which involves high-tech marketing. I co-run Hatherleigh.net.
I recently downsized to work solo from home. I have researched UK Carnivals and I am half way through a book on the topic and for the past 12 years I’ve been trying to get the definitive photograph of those flaming Barrels. I think I managed it in 2008.
Alan’s Film Making Options pdf was put together from web research and personal knowledge. We wanted to show that even with just a PC you can put together an interesting AV programme so that virtually everyone can join in if they want.
Posted by Geoff Hodgkinson
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