who we are

Somerset Film is a registered charity trading as a company limited by guarantee dedicated to empowering individuals and communities through the use of film and digital technology.

We are passionate about film and digital media making, and committed to sharing knowledge and skills. In practice this means we are a one stop shop for moving image based training and education, for facilities, equipment and advice and for the production of all kinds of video and digital media programmes and installations.

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.

Each week we offer the general public free access to equipment and expertise through bookable sessions called ‘Drop-ins’. Staffed by a professional film-maker, the sessions ensure that people of all ages and abilities can practice their skills, have access to specialised equipment and get advice and information.

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 who are extremely experienced in their chosen fields and widely recognised for the quality of their work.

· Julien Temple Film Director
· Alan Yentob Creative Director BBC

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. We have a small core team (below) and regularly employ professional freelance artists, tutors and film-makers and call upon the skills of a growing and committed team of regular volunteers in the café and administration. If you would like to work with us then do get in touch.

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.