who we are

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.

We run a range of activities including courses, master classes, tailor-made workshops and training schemes, work experience and bursary placements, networking events, annual festival and specialist events.

We are very fortunate to have two local patrons, Julien Temple (Film Director) and Alan Yentob (Creative Director BBC), who are extremely experienced in their chosen fields and widely recognised for the quality of their work.

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 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,  rom our unique Engine Room media center 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.

Accessibility: Most staff have disability awareness training. We have also received training in film subtitling. The walls and the doors have high colour contrast. Some parts of the venue have lighting, which is adjustable and our brochure is available on request in audio and large print format. Assistance dogs are welcome and water bowls can be provided.

Meet the Team

Phil Shepherd

Facilitator 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


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

Laura Hylton

Strategic Director

We train at least four bursary students each year, who receive a contribution towards expenses, alongside up to 20 school/university-age work placement students. We employ trainees on workshops, productions and community projects where appropriate. We also draw on the support of our Founding Friends, a group of individuals and organisations who have committed themselves to supporting the development of Somerset Film and The Engine Room.