Down On The Farm is a short documentary commission from North Devon Moving Image. With farming so little known and so integral to the region, the aim was to help emerging doc filmmakers create a unique collection of short films.
The short film commission produced six five-minute documentaries about farmers and farming within the unique environment of North Devon’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The films are a revealing insight into the lives of our farming neighbours and will provoke thought and discussion around our food and where it comes from.
A project that couldn’t NOT be done
Amanda McCormack, creative director of NDMI told D&CFilm: “Since founding North Devon Moving Image six years ago it had always been my intention to make some films about farmers in North Devon.
“In my mind, it was a project that couldn’t NOT be done. As well as creating, collecting and sharing films it is an important part of our remit to encourage and facilitate new film makers. So, putting the two together, I decided to run North Devon’s first short documentary film commission and (as you will see) it has been an amazing success!
Intimate and passionate
“Giving the filmmakers a year in which to make their films has meant that they really got to know their subjects and you will experience the impact of this in the intimate and passionate stories they tell in their Down on the Farm films.
“These films are important. They have value in preserving a snapshot of farming today, reflecting and celebrating a very important part of north Devon’s essence. They will do the job of enlightening, inspiring and entertaining those who watch them, connecting people with their farming neighbours and encouraging thought and dialogue around the food we eat.”
The films are free to watch via the North Devon Moving Image website and thanks to generous funding from local, regional and national organisations, NDMI are able to offer a free screening licence to any groups who would like to show the Down on the Farm films on a big screen.
We’ve been in touch with the filmmakers during the process. What emerged was the relationships that were forged between farmers and filmmakers. And the revelation of the beauty and difficulty of both the work and the environment.
Down On The Farm, from where we’re sitting has been a fantastic journey of insight and awareness. The filmmakers have opened our eyes, while building on their skills and honing their documentary muscles to tell timeless tales within their short film constraints.
Here are our interviews.
Florence Browne – West Ilkerton Farm
The Eveleigh family produce and sell their own meat. Florence looks at what that means for the family, livestock and community. Interview.
James Cox – Get Bigger, Get Different or Get Out
Wayne Copp is an ethical and sustainable beef farmer. James looks at the family’s 150 year farming history in this expository documentary, employing animated still image. Interview
Linda Mason – Lifelong Farmers
Linda Mason created an intimate portrayal of Rose and Freddy Manning as she followed their routines of a small scale British Farm. Interview.
Michael Balsdon – The Women of Reed Farm
Michael opens his eyes to the work on the family’s farm as he follows Mel, Amanda, Stacey and 3-year-old Lola during lambing season. Interview.
Jo Ryan – Portrait of a Grazier
Ronald Griffey has grazed sheep on the common land of Northam Burrows for over 40 years. Jo explores his connection to the landscape. Interview.
Black Bark Films – One Acre
Jo Barker and Holly Black of Black Bark Films and Dee Butterly of the Landworkers’ Alliance follow the experiences of a young new entrant farmer. Interview.