Somerset Film is dedicated to empowering individuals and communities through film and digital technology.

Incorporated in 1997, we have established a reputation for inclusion, partnership working and creative innovation.  Able to respond quickly and flexibly to new opportunities, we make work that has won awards nationally and internationally.

In 2003 Somerset Film opened The Engine Room an accessible community media centre located in Bridgwater’s High Street. The centre co-ordinates all our activity as well as providing a Cafe and facilities including licensed cinema, studios and edit suites.

Our board of trustees is a group of widely experienced and talented members, from varying backgrounds and with a valuable range of complementary skills and expertise. Our patron is the acclaimed film director and local resident Julien Temple.

Community is at the heart of our work here at Somerset Film and we are committed to championing diversity, inclusivity and equality. 'Belonging' was a Film in a day project at Yeovil's Phoenix School of Languages created with support from Somerset Skills and Learning.

Our trustees took the decision to close The Engine Room to the public ahead of government guidance to do so. The safety of those we work with - patrons, participants, partners, volunteers and staff - is paramount. This applies equally whether we are home working or delivering online activities.

We’re undertaking regular risk assessments, drawing on guidance from the government, HSE and a range of sector leaders (e.g. PACT, UCKA, SWGfL), and updating safeguarding policies and procedures to make sure that whatever space we are in - physical or digital - everyone stays safe.

Here are just a few of the things we’re doing:
* Protecting people at higher risk by prioritising homeworking - currently all staff are home working
* Minimising travel, avoiding public transport, and establishing clear protocols for staff or freelance crew/artists if they are working in public spaces, including wearing masks and using infra-red thermometers as well as hand washing and social distancing.
* Maintaining and assessing the building for re-opening when it is safe to do so
* Ensuring security steps are in place when using online platforms including passwords, monitoring chat etc

We continue working to ensure that we’re as accessible and inclusive in what we do as when we’re in the physical space:
* Working to raise funds to enable those without internet or technology to access the online space
* Loaning out equipment not in use to those in need
* Providing support for disabled artists to access online activities
* Reviewing accessibility on our website
* Fundraising for artist collaborations to respond creatively to the current situation.

We’ll keep you updated on the decisions we’re taking and plan to involve you to inform further steps.

Our vision is to exploit the capacity of creative film and media to:

  1. encourage creativity and innovation
  2. build media literacy and confidence with technology
  3. engender debate and critical thinking
  4. reduce the digital divide
  5. raise aspiration and self-esteem
  6. reduce social isolation
  7. strengthen cohesion

Our core values are:

  • Excellence
  • Collaboration
  • Inclusion
  • Empowerment
  • Innovation

Our mission is to help more people and communities across the county exploit the potential of creative film and digital media through delivery of a programme of high quality community engagement, talent development and creative production that reflects and celebrates the distinctiveness of the county,  from our unique Engine Room media centre base in Bridgwater.

Our ethos is to develop and retain talent in the county - we draw on a wide pool of professional makers and artists and provide opportunities for talent development.

Climate emergency: In 2019/20 we responded to ongoing environmental concerns, declaring a Climate Emergency and exploring this thematically through our programme. Our ongoing aim is to make our environmental action plan as embedded as our approach to tackling isolation and addressing diversity, to reduce our carbon footprint whilst increasing our reach and impact and to use our strengths in storytelling and community engagement to enable others to explore this issue and do the same. Here's an update about our current activity and approach:

Meet the Team

Phil Shepherd

Ambassador: Community Engagement and Company Secretary

Phil was born in Minehead, and trained at Dartington Hall and Bournemouth Film School. He has worked as an independent film and TV producer, including directing children’s programmes at the BBC and co-producing/directing documentaries for HTV.

Deb Richardson

Creative Director

Deb has a background in theatre. She trained in archive film management with Huntley Archives and has worked on a number of archive projects, particularly 9.5mm. She is a member of Women in Film and Television and Shooting People.

Richard Tomlinson

Engine Driver

Richard Tomlinson works as a Creative Technologist for Somerset Film’s Ignite project. He has an MA in Art and Design Advanced Practice and Theory, specialising in photography and digital image making.

Ania Niedzielska

Café Manager

Trained in commercial graphics, career in advertising in native Poland. Ania joined us in 2017 and is a multi-skilled working mother with a passion for cooking, literature, art and music.

Dan Gale

Technical Manager

An established local filmmaker, Dan has worked with the organisation since The Engine Room opened in 2003. He is patient, enjoys a challenge and is detail orientated. Before becoming a freelancer Dan was previously employed as a media technician at Bridgwater College.

Alisa Cengic

Assistant Producer

A recent Film and Television graduate from the University of Bristol, who previously worked within the charity sector. She is a dedicated advocate of diversity and inclusivity within the industry and committed to supporting filmmakers and visual artists in bringing their ideas to the screen.