Press Release

Vintage Film Found of Black Mountain

Bill Laws 07742 825813;
David Gillam, director, 07974 770212;
Alison Chapman (images) 07969 393884

Date: 10th March 2007

*In the 1950s Craswall housekeeper Dorothy Howell was persuaded to buy a cine camera by her friend, a professional photographer in Hay-on-Wye. She began documenting the daily life of the hill farming community who had lived and worked under the Black Hill for generations. From Shepherd's Day when the sheep were brought down from the Black Mountains for sorting, carnival floats at Dorstone show, and mountain pony sales at Hay Market, to Wild West Rodeos at Michaelchurch Escley, held to raise money for the church roof, Dorothy kept her camera running.

*Some of Dorothy's best footage is of young farmers trying to stay on the back of unbroken, Black Mountain ponies during the Rodeos. "They never lasted much more than four seconds," remembers Dorothy. Now highlights from Dorothy Howells' film, together with interviews from Black Mountain's farmers Eric Price, David Gain, 'Woody' Cole, David Perry and Rodeo rider Mike Starkey, are to be premiered at the Borderlines Film Festival. Real Life on the Black Hill will be screened as part of the River Of Life at The Courtyard, Hereford on Sunday March 25 at 4.30 pm.

"Dorothy's films are a revealing glimpse of life and times on the Black Mountains," says Naomi Vera-Sanso, who directed Real Life on the Black Hill. "What makes it all the more extraordinary is the quality of Dorothy's filming: she was completely untutored, yet she has a real eye for timing and camera angles."

Dorothy, who will be a guest at the Festival screening, says she's pleased to see her work on the big screen. "I just used to go out and film whatever was happening. Looking back now, so much has changed."

Real Life on the Black Hill will also be shown in the border villages of Clifford (Saturday March 24) and Michaelchurch (Wednesday March 28) as part of the Borderlines Film Festival which runs from Friday March 23 to Monday April 2.

Another local, archive film to be screened as part of River of Life at the Festival is Jaywalking: God Speed The Plough. Shot in 1975, and featuring competition ploughing at Ross-on-Wye. God Speed the Plough shows champion Horace Samuels teaching TV presenter Sue Jay the craft of ploughing. "It's a charming film featuring both tractor and horse drawn ploughs," says Naomi.

*In another first for the Festival, publicans Simon and Alison Durrant are turning their award winning Green Dragon inn at Bishops Frome (voted Country Pub of the Year in 2006) into a cinema. On Tuesday March 27 Simon and Alison will screen an evening of local archive film and premiere Worcestershire film director Mike Jackson's A Pocket of Hops. "Local film and real ales: what more could you ask for?" asks landlord Simon.


Notes to editors.
1. Ten days, 20 cinemas, 40 films and 100 screenings: Borderlines is Britain's biggest little film festival.
2. For interviews and/or press passes please call either Bill Laws (07742 825813), or Borderlines director David Gillam (01239 615066)
3. For additional images please contact Alison Chapman (07969 393884).
4. Borderlines Film Festival runs from Friday 23rd March to Monday 2nd April 2007 and is Britain's biggest rural film festival. Venues include Hereford, Ludlow, Leominster, Ross-on-Wye, Tenbury and Abergavenny; villages include Ballingham, Bosbury, Brilley, Burghill, Clifford, Clun, Clungunford, Dilwyn, Garway, Gorsley, Kingsland, Ledbury, Leintwardine, All Stretton and Presteigne.
5. Festival funders include Screen WM and The National Lottery through the UK Film Council, Herefordshire Council, The Elmley Foundation, Celebrating Shropshire (co-financed by Shropshire County Council, ERDF Objective 2, and supported by Shropshire Partnership), The National Lottery through Awards for All, Herefordshire Rivers Leader Plus (part-financed by the European Union (EAGGF) and Defra) and South Shropshire District Council.
6. River of Life archive project, now in its fourth year is funded by Herefordshire Rivers Leader Plus and Screen WM.

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