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Keeping you up to date

Alisa, our assistant producer writes...

In June 2020 our focus was on Pride month. To celebrate LGBTQIA+ Pride I used our instagram platform to spotlight LGBT films.

I broke our celebration down as follows:

Week 1: LGBT films featuring the black community

Week 2: International LGBT Cinema

Week 3: LGBT Youth

Week 4: LGBT films featuring people with disabilities/ health conditions

I used each letter in SOMERSET FILM CELEBRATES PRIDE as a 'learning point' e.g. E is for Equality to provide information and encourage others to celebrate pride with us.

Somerset Film is a proud champion of equality, inclusion and diversity. As Pride month comes to a close we want to ensure that we remain committed to and engaged with the LGBTQIA+ community and are currently working on exploring partnerships with local community organisations.

Our Pride celebration can also be seen on our Instagram page!

Click here to watch the Somerset Film Pride Playlist! You can watch specific trailers from our Pride playlist by clicking on the playlist icon (top right). Alternatively, sit back, let the playlist play and celebrate pride!

Thanks for reading!

Alisa Čengić, Assistant Producer

Richard, our creative technologist writes...

A couple of weeks before lockdown partners Somerset Film and Action Track Performance Company, facilitated the first of many planned music & filmmaking workshops with twelve residents of Wellington, a small market town in rural Somerset. The plan was to produce a film, with a soundtrack intended to be performed live, to showcase at a new film festival Wellington on Screen in September 2020.

Our creative and enthusiastic group of participants decided that they would use the opportunity to make a film that shone a light on the built and natural environment of Wellington, the place where they live and work.

The group’s enthusiasm was matched by their imagination, reflected in the idea that the film would be seen through the eyes of a gargoyle attached to the side of St. Johns church. This gargoyle has seen many things throughout its life: the cycle of the seasons, the Reformation, the major rebuilding of the town after the fire of 1731, the arrival of the Grand Western Canal in 1835, the arrival of the M5 motorway in the 60s and 70s. Maybe the gargoyle was aware that we were about to enter into our another moment in history (at least in our own lifetimes)? We like to imagine that if the gargoyle was in attendance at that first filmmaking workshop it could have, perhaps, pre-warned us that we were about to embark on a period of uncertainty and anxiety brought about by the sudden Covid lockdown of our communities.

The lockdown seems to have suppressed just about every aspect of our lives: from going to work, to meeting friends, to popping to the shops. However, it doesn’t seem to be able to suppress creativity. In fact, the opposite is true. Individuals across the country, who wouldn’t normally spend time making art, are busy designing visual statements in support of our health workers and exhibiting them in their windows. Social media has come alive with fantastic work by first time poets, musicians and photographers. The Wellington on Screen group are no exception to this.

Within days we agreed that we would respond creatively to the challenges we now faced. A WhatsApp group was set up to ensure participants and facilitators could keep each other posted on the project’s progress. In the absence of filmmaking kit that would normally be provided by Somerset Film we reviewed the resources available to individuals and the group made the decision to continue the shoot using their mobile phones. Working within the lockdown boundaries set out by the government the group discovered ingenious ways of documenting the previously busy footpaths, streets, parks and supermarkets. Significant moments, such as the weekly clap for the NHS, never-before seen queues at supermarkets and wildlife reclaiming spaces, are all in the process of being documented and archived on the project WhatsApp group.

The editing process, that would normally involve the transportation of desktop computers and a lot of power cables, is being carried out via online editorial sessions. This resilient group are even continuing to produce original score through the same platforms with Actiontrack. The daily notification sounds of latest material posted and messages of response and encouragement also providing a musical accompaniment all of its own -  to a project that hasn’t stopped, to a creative community.

The group are moving forwards, working within boundaries placed upon them, producing their unique film portrait of their lives and the place they live, all seen through the eyes of a gargoyle.

Together they will ensure that the film will be produced on schedule and, one way or another, a movie will be showcased in September, whatever form that might take.

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