Stockton-based Brittany-born filmmaker Magali Pettier has hit and exceeded her crowd funding campaign target of £7,000 needed to complete the edit on her observational documentary Addicted to Sheep - a portrait of the remote, challenging work of sheep-farming in the high Pennines.
Describing the passion that drives both her project and the subjects whose story she tells, Pettier said: “My quest revealed that for some people, despite the difficulties, upland farming is not only attractive but compulsive – hence the film’s title Addicted to Sheep”. After four years of work, including 18 months spent on location with an Upper Teesdale tenant farmer Tom Hutchinson, his family and their stock, Pettier is now editing more than 60 hours of footage into a feature-length documentary. But the work won't stop with post-production, of course. Having exceeded her target and with the total raised now standing at an impressive £8,000 she has decided to leave the campaign open to gather further funds towards the additonal costs of festival submissions, distribution and promotion. Pettier explained: "If we can achieve a higher goal in this campaign right now, that just means a finished film without seeking out other funds further down the line. It means we could share the finished film all the sooner with the participants who have already waited 4 years to see it. It also means we will be able to submit Addicted to Sheep to international film festivals with the care and attention it deserves, to give it the best chance to reach its audience worldwide."
Drawing inspiration from two landmark French documentaries, Etre et avoir, about a small rural school, and La Vie Moderne with farmers in remote countryside, Pettier aims to capture with a quiet observational style a record of an authentic farming family working among stunning changes of scenery and weather. The film will reveal a world difficult to witness up close – one that visitors celebrate but sometimes take for granted – a community experiencing challenges as well as successes, based in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty but with significant levels of social and economic disadvantage, where the average income is £12,600 a year.
Pettier received support from Northern Film & Media after a competitive pitch at the UK’s leading documentary event, Sheffield Doc/Fest, and has received additional support along the way from Teesside University and award-winning documentary maker Patrick Collerton (The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off). The project however has largely been self-financed.
For more information about the film, and to find out how to support its completion, visit the Addictd to Sheep website or email Magali. You can also follow the film’s progress on Twitter at @addictedtosheep and on Facebook.