Addicted to Sheep Secures Sheffield Doc/Fest Premier

Posted: 26th May 2015

A film portrait of sheep farming in the Northern Pennines of England gets its world premiere in June with audiences at the UK's leading documentary festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Five years in the making from concept to screen, the feature Addicted to Sheep will be shown on Saturday 06 June at Showroom in Sheffield to an audience including representatives of the international cinema and broadcasting industries. A second screening will be held on Tuesday 09 June, also at Showroom.

Addicted to Sheep is the first feature-length work of French film-maker Magali Pettier and co-producer Jan Cawood. Focusing on the lives of committed tenant farmers Tom and Kay Hutchinson, as well as their three young children and the local community, the film shows how the centuries-old sheep-rearing tradition doggedly survives in the modern world – complete with its joys and frustrations, long hard graft and occasional rewards.

Patrick Collerton, Emmy award-winning director of The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off and an early advocate of the project, said: “Magali has a painterly eye and instinct for the poetic in her depiction of a North Eastern farming family through the seasons. This is a beautiful, timeless, unhurried, affectionate film.” Echoing that sentiment in his recent review in The Journal, David Whetstone added “It could be one of the best films of 2015”.

Addicted to Sheep was completed with the input of editor Matt Dennis, sound expert Chris Watson and composer James Burrell. Backed by NFM with substantial early-stage development funding, as well as subsequent support for audience development and work on the film’s sound, Addicted to Sheep was completed thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign in which half of the 180 donations were from overseas, coming from as far afield as North and South America and Australia.

The film was entirely shot by Magali Pettier in the raw but beautiful North Pennines around Upper Teesdale, and the borderlands of Yorkshire, Cumbria, Northumberland and County Durham.

Director/Producer Magali, of Provenance Films, grew up on a small pasture and dairy farm in Brittany, and took inspiration from the French farming documentaries Etre et Avoir and La Vie Moderne. She said: “When I first started filming the Hutchinson family it was a leap of faith, just me and my camera which allowed me to observe and capture the everyday realities of farming up close. For a first feature-length film, it’s great to have the recognition of Sheffield Doc/Fest – a massive boost.” 

Producer Jan Cawood echoed Magali’s delight at their selection by Sheffield Doc/Fest. She said: “Addicted to Sheep has been a labour of love for our small team and having our world premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest is a great launch-pad. With over 3,000 world-wide industry delegates and 26,000 people from the UK it allows more people to see and talk about our film at the start of what we hope will be a long and successful journey.”

For more information about Addicted to Sheep click here

For more information about Sheffield Doc/Fest click here.

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