Harvest Time: a brief review of 2017-18

It’s been a busy time here at Falcon. Over the last year we have worked with a variety of clients across a range of genres and subject matter – from mental health shorts, to night-vision wildlife sequences, to feminist webisodes. What unites all of our projects, though, is a passion for great storytelling. Our fundamental approach remains the same; we love connecting with people and with nature, and communicating our experience through beautiful films. We’ve been a bit quiet on social media recently. But now we’re back in action, and there’ll be plenty of content to enjoy over the coming weeks!

What unites all of our projects, though, is a passion for great storytelling. Our fundamental approach remains the same; we love connecting with people and with nature, and communicating our experience through beautiful films.

Lawrence Neal: The Chair Maker 

Towards the end of 2017 we began filming with master craftsman and ladderback chairmaker Lawrence Neal. The story of Lawrence’s chairs is an incredibly rich narrative, encompassing fascinating social history, intricate craftsmanship, and a deep connection to nature. We wanted to highlight the contrast between the intense engagement with materials and making processes characterising Lawrence’s work, and the disconnection and distractions of the technological age. To us, his chairmaking seems a tangible practice that can re-ground us in nature and make us feel more human.

We wanted to highlight the contrast between the intense engagement with materials and making processes characterising Lawrence’s work, and the disconnection and distractions of the technological age

Lawrence’s story was a route into a wider narrative of the history of his style of chairmaking and its connection to the Arts & Crafts movement. His craft has an exceptional past: a tradition of masters and apprentices running back to Philip Clisset, himself the last in a long line of chairmakers. Clisset taught influential Arts & Crafts designer-architect Ernest Gimson how to make chairs at the end of the 19th century. Since we wrapped the film, Lawrence has received funding to take on two apprentices of his own. The future of the ladderback chair and their makers looks bright.

The result of our efforts, a 15 minute short called The Chairmaker, will be released this autumn. There will be public screenings at the Art Workers’ Guild in London, at Bedales School in Steep, Hampshire, and in Bristol Old Vic Theatre.

We can’t wait to work with more craftspeople and further explore the heritage, health and hopes of the craft movement. It won’t be long: we have a feature documentary in the pipeline to be released in 2019!

 

Channel 5’s Wild Britain

Between May and December 2017 we filmed a number of wildlife sequences for Channel 5’s landmark series Wild Britain. Wild boar, hedgerows at harvest time, deer at dusk, seaweed-eating sheep and Bristolian foxes: it was an adventurous few months which took us from the Welsh borders all the way to the Orkney Islands.

The Harvest sequence explored the relationship between Herefordshire farmer Jack, and the wildlife in his fields and hedgerows. Jack and his family showed how all of us can be connected to the natural world if we keep our eyes peeled and stay open to engaging with wildlife. We also wanted to reveal the inherent drama of this familiar, seasonal event. Whilst the harvest period is the culmination of a year’s hard work for farmers, it is a moment of monumental danger and change for wildlife, especially when a combine harvester is bearing down upon them! The stakes were high for us too – challenging weather conditions meant that there were moments when the whole sequence was in jeopardy. But in the end we nailed our shots within the short period of good weather. High production value is possible on a limited budget – if you get the shots first time.

Whilst the harvest period is the culmination of a year’s hard work for farmers, it is a moment of monumental danger and change for wildlife

A sequence exploring the behaviour of deer at night allowed us to use some of our new toys, in particular a Selex military-grade night-vision camera. The pleasure is not just in the kit, however: the real satisfaction comes from the fact that it allowed us to find a story that had not been told before. We created a sequence that took the viewer into a secret world, an intimate piece of filmmaking that brought us closer to nature.

It was a joy to work with up-and-coming young camera operators on the series: Ben Pryor, Ollie Muller, and Richard Hopkins – thanks guys. The wild boar sequence has aired and is available to watch on My5. Keep an eye out for the others coming soon on Channel 5!

 

Voices of The Harbour

Last summer we worked with Bristol-based mental health charity The Harbour to produce three short videos about the organisation and those involved with it. The Harbour provides free counselling and psychotherapy to people facing emotional and psychological crisis as a result of life-threatening illness. Charities often have limited budgets to work with , however for us, it’s incredibly important to us that we enable others to experience these stories, and hopefully provide some comfort and support to those in times of desperate need. 

It’s incredibly important to us that we enable others to experience these stories, and hopefully provide some comfort and support to those in times of desperate need.

We got to know founder Jill Brown, therapist Liz Salter, and client Sasha, and worked with them so they could tell their stories. These stories were often very sad, rooted in bereavement and psychological distress. Yet what emerged from working with The Harbour was a powerful sense of hope. It was a pleasure to spend time with such eloquent people who were willing to open up and talk about both suffering and recovery.

You can watch Sasha’s story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNISeQW4qbQ (embed?)

 

The Cape of Empowerment: Web series for Pukka Herbs

We love partnering with local companies who share our view of the world. So, when the opportunity came up to work on a collaboration between Bristol-based organic tea company Pukka Herbs & contemporary embroiderer Lou Gardiner last autumn, we jumped at the chance. Pukka’s commitment to sustainably sourcing ingredients and reconnecting with nature really resonated with us, and we hugely admire Lou’s craft skills. The brief was a three-part film documenting Pukka & Lou’s collaboration on the release of a new ‘Womankind’ tea and supplement which aims to bring the healing benefits of natural medicinal ingredients to women everywhere. To tell the story of their new tea, Pukka asked Lou to make a cloak embroidered with designs reflecting the twenty-one natural ingredients from which it is made: beetroot, chamomile, pomegranate, shatavari and more. The cloak aimed to capture all that is “feminine, powerful and potent” about womankind, and to make everyone who wore it “feel like that queen, that warrior, that nurturer; any and all of those wonderful roles that we play”.

Pukka’s commitment to sustainably sourcing ingredients and reconnecting with nature really resonated with us

So we got to work. Over the many months Lou was making the cloak, we captured the magic of her creative process, as well as the artfulness of Sebastian Pole as he selected the ingredients that make up the tea. The Cape of Empowerment was a creative collaboration between Pukka, Lou and ourselves. Weaving together footage of the design process, the tea ingredient selection, and the unveiling of the embroidered cloak across the three parts felt apt – we were contributing our own piece of craft to the project. This was a project in which the artistic and the natural came together in a way which was true to our core values as a company.

You can explore Lou’s journey here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EvVTZmHPik

 

Coming Soon…

Over the coming months we will be working on a number of exciting projects. These include our first feature length film – a documentary on the future of Heritage crafts in the UK.

Stay tuned for more updates!

 

Images by Falcon Productions & Ben Pryor