Festival & Competition Report by Gareth Evans
We were delighted by the range and quality of the submissions this year, which engaged creatively and imaginatively with the invitation to think about the relationship between art, farming, food production and the environment. We were particularly pleased with the internationalism of the submissions and the diversity of aesthetic approaches. Given this, we felt it was necessary to award prizes in two categories this year, while acknowledging of course that the border between the two is often not at all as rigid as this separation might suggest.
In the Artists’ film section we are very pleased to give the first prize to Jessica Sarah Rinland’s Adeline for Leaves, a beautifully realised, subtle and sensitive portrait of cross-generational friendship, mutual obsession, female intellectual enquiry and profound empathy with the natural world. Strikingly well shot on film, it shared a kindred spirit, in this case digitally realised, with the winner of the Documentary strand, Jason Taylor’s A Commons Sense. His evident, enduring commitment to the extremely important issues his film explores and advocates for is matched by his eye for narrative, strong character portraiture and ability to convey complex subjects in a genuinely accessible but never simplistic manner.
Given the strength of the work submitted, we felt it was also necessary to offer a commendation in each. In Artists’ film this goes to Piotr Piasta’s Piorun Stanislaw from Brudnow and in Documentary to Julia Warr’s Farm. Both explore not dissimilar territories and communities and both in fresh, invigorating and suitable ways, despite their notable difference in tone. Piasta’s sense of history, place and experience is strikingly conveyed by his rigorous and unifying camera, while Warr’s lively and inclusive reading of contemporary agricultural life is an important counter to more pessimistic portrayals.
Taken together, the works noted serve as wonderfully rich examples of the intentions of the Harvest film, food and farming project, celebrating common purpose, an authentic creative encounter with the environments and tensions of rural life and landscape and a desire to communicate important truths about how we live, the challenges we face, and the joys we share. We’re grateful to all the film-makers who entered films this year; we congratulate and give special thanks to our, winners and likewise to our audiences in Dorset and London. We would urge any and all of you to consider submitting work for our events in 2016. Thank you for your attention and onwards!
Jessica Sarah Rinland – Adeline for Leaves
Jason Taylor – A Commons Sense
Julia Warr – Farm
Piotr Piasta – Piorun Stanislaw from Brudnow
HARVEST FILM COMPETITION SHORTLIST 2015
Lucy Steggals – Yellow (5:50)
Yellow is the third in a spectrum series matching the seven colours blue, green, red, yellow, orange, indigo and violet with seven places one in each of the seven continents Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, South America, Antarctica.
Piotr Piasta – Willie (4.15)
Willie comes from the series The Realm of Forgotten Existence which is a microhistory of the postwar realities of life in a rural area on the Scottish – English border, Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Piotr Piasta – Piorun Stanislaw from Brudnow (4.00)
In this film we meet Mr Stanislaw Piorun at his house. He tells a story about a curse which can be spelled just by a sheer admiration. Mr Piorun gives a solution on how to get rid of a curse.
James Kelly – Glimpse of the Matter (8.58)
The timeless activity of working the land by hand, for apparently meagre reward, is played out in farmland, used from the Neolithic period to the present.
Jason Taylor – A Commons Sense (7:50)
Dr Debal Deb is possibly the most important agricultural scientist working in India today. Driven by a desire to benefit the whole of society and not just a hand full of corporations, Dr Deb has tirelessly collected and conserved over 1400 varieties of rice.
Jason Taylor – A Festival of Seed (7:19)
Seed Matters is a short film capturing some of the most progressive voices from The Great Seed Festival which took place in October, 2014 to raise awareness of the importance of seed, and to celebrate seed, food and biodi- versity.
Jessica Sarah Rinland – Adeline for Leaves (14:00)
Nature, science and mythology are explored through the eyes of an eleven-year-old botanical prodigy.
Julia Warr – Farm (6.15)
Farm was made over a five year period, in Long Island, New York. A farmer’s life is repetitive, noisy, chaotic, demanding, relentless, dependent on the seasons, harsh, poetic, beautiful and dusty.