It started with a public pitch, a panel of experts and 200 guests at Sheffield Documentary Festival 2018, and now our Guardian commissioned documentary 'Nowt But a Fleeting Thing' is finally finished and ready for release. The original commissioning brief asked filmmaking teams to redifine stories around poverty in Britain - to change the dialogue and bring constructive debate in to the public sphere. Our pitch focussed on rural poverty in the farming communities in Northern England, and we were very pleased to be one of two teams to gain financial support through The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and acces to a distinguished journalism platform at Guardian Documentaries.
Nowt But a Fleeting Thing follows two Cumbrian farmers, Adam and Raymond Crowe as they navigate changing times. Raymond, Adam's dad has been a livestock and dairy farmer for 50 years. He is 73 years old and works 80 hour weeks on his farm in the Rusland valley. Having recently lost his wife, and with a traditional tenant farm to manage on his own, Raymond considers his options for retirement. As rural communities continue to break down, profits dwindle and Brexit looms, some farmers in this area are in crisis. But people remain emotionally and economically tied to the land, often with little support.
Raymond's son Adam, an academic and conservationist has returned to farming. It's where he feels happiest. Together with his partner Helen he is raising a flock of rare breed sheep on apple orchards close to their home in Whitherslack very close to where he grew up in Rusland. As the effects of biodiversity loss and climate change continue, Adam and Helen look to create a more sustainable future in farming and follow a model that provides food, whilst encouraging biodiversity. Balancing generational knowledge passed down from his parents, and his experience in conservation, Adam pushes forward in a new direction.
This 20 minute film has been a joy to make, having grown up and maintained my own ties to the land here in Cumbria. I care deeply for the landscape and the people, and believe telling stories from our land can help to build community and resilience in the face of unprecidented uncertainty. We must continue to convey humanity in this age of division. You can watch the film here -
The music within the film was written and performed by local Cumbrian musicians, many of whom are close friends. So many thanks to Wayne Scurrah, Paul and Luke from Sallows, Sam Robinson and Hannah Flynn. And masive thanks to the rest of the filmmaking team, all based in Kendal - Helen, Rebecca and Simon who have been critical in shaping the things alongside me. Thanks also to Ben Metsers for beautiful sound work, Jake Mckenna for assistance, Blazing Griffin for colour work and Pascal Wyse for Sound Mix. Without the support of all at Joseph Rowntree and Guardian Documentaries this film wouldn't have been made, I'm very grateful. Thanks again.
Below, Sallows perform their track 'Old Man' which features as the signiture track in the film.