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Canford film-maker impresses at History Festival

Published Monday 1st of July 2019 05:09:34 PM

Young film maker, William Walters, currently in the Fifth Form at Canford School, has received widespread acclaim at the premiére of his film ‘Downlands’ at the Chalke Valley History Festival in Wiltshire on Monday 24th June. In 1947, a Public Information film was made called ‘Downlands,’ shot on a local farm. It portrayed the crucial role that British farmers played in World War 2 prompting Festival Chairman James Holland to comment “Agriculture was the key to the Allied victory”. Will rose to the challenge to re-create the film for the 21st century, and spent last summer finding and filming the locations used in the 1947 film. After many late evenings spent editing, fitted round revision for GCSEs, the film was finally finished in January. The first film came at a time when farming was becoming more industrialised, and Will’s recreation captures the same landscape filmed over 70 years’ later, which James hopes “will spark some interesting contemporary debates about farming”. Will’s aim was to recreate the 1947 film, but he quickly realised that it was going to become a modern interpretation, given the development of cameras and filming techniques alongside the obvious fact it would be in colour and with a more contemporary soundtrack. Hand held cameras also offered the opportunity for much more relaxed interviews. He did also use software to allow for ‘ageing’ of some of the scenes to give them a more authentic feel. Will thoroughly enjoyed the whole project. “I am so grateful to the Festival team for giving me the artistic freedom to make the film how I saw best. I am delighted that my film was enjoyed as a modern interpretation of an iconic classic in the history of the Second World War.” Historian and Canford Headmaster Ben Vessey commented: “Well done indeed to Will for rising to this not insignificant challenge, not least as it was balanced against his GCSE examination year. We are hoping to have a screening of the film at Canford as part of our cultural enrichment week later in the year to give our pupils and staff who could not make the festival itself the opportunity to see it.” The screening of both films took place at a special event where James Holland interviewed Allen Chalk who started working at Chalk Pyt Farm featured in the film in 1947 and is still there today. For more information about the Chalke Valley History Festival, please visit www.cvhf.org.uk
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