This Is Stroud

This Is Stroud - the community we are when we’re being our best. Dmytro Bojaniwskyj rounds up SFF’s climactic weekend at Lansdown Hall.

So that was Stroud. A very packed Lansdown Hall (we broke out more chairs, all the chairs, there were still people standing) watched BBC Gloucestershire’s brilliant Faye Hatcher introduce 25 films with a Stroud connection, interviewing many of the people who made or inspired the films along the way.

Faye Hatcher at the podium

Faye Hatcher at the podium

We had the most eclectic mix.

A 13-second fan-film to doughnuts by a girl in Year 5 at Brimscombe primary school; a 19-minute behind the scenes of the creation and installation of local artist Jack Everett’s Ecocide. Rush Skatepark gave us their thoughts on the creation of communities, soundtracked by local punk band Bones Like That; Hannah Reynolds provided her meditation on the same.

Boss Morris were profoundly, wonderfully, beautifully strange in their film Rites.

This Is Stroud was a tribute to Stroud’s communities, but also to its young people. Many young film-makers and musicians were involved: behind the camera, in front of the camera, in presenting the films on the night.

The audience watches  Skateparks

The audience watches Skateparks

Lydia Wakefield filmed Martha James performing her music; Aimie Radford and Laura Clapham presented films; Bethany Barr projected them.

Sam Judd made 7 Days to Save the Planet, Transition Stroud’s first ever film. A call to people to reflect on their lives and how they might change them, it encompassed interviews with fans at Forest Green Rovers, drone footage of the Heavens, and trying on vintage hats at Duffle.

Many of the films moved the audience deeply. Ryan’s story from Gloucestershire Young Carers; Rubie’s story from Meningitis Now. Others simply made the audience see through new eyes: A Station For Everyone.

Members of the audience 3.jpg

There was even a show within a show: Morag, a 60-Second Challenge highlight from last year, introduced 8 of this year’s. Some odd, some poetic, some funny, all excellent!

And Faye held the evening together excellently. A night that truly reflected the diversity and people of the Stroud Valleys.

This Is Stroud was a Stroud Community TV film festival event

22 March 2019, Lansdown Hall, Stroud

Andy Freedman