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10 things you may not know about Dorset's role in the movies
12:00pm Sunday 15th June 2014 in News
Dorset has long had a strong association with film.
In the past, the link has mainly been based on the county providing the locations for several high-profile productions.
However, in recent years Dorset has played an increasingly prominent role in training filmmakers and also showcasing their talents through festivals and initiative schemes.
Here are 10 facts you may not have known about Dorset and film:
Several adaptations of classic British novels have made use of Dorset’s natural landscape and historic buildings.
With one of the county’s most famous sons being Thomas Hardy, it is no great surprise that much of his work has been filmed here, such as Far from the Madding Crowd, versions of Tess of the D’Urbervilles and the Mayor of Casterbridge. More contemporary films using a Dorset location include Tamara Drewe with Gemma Arterton and Beyond The Sea, starring Kevin Spacey.
There are many local organisations designed to help and encourage filmmaking in the region. West Dorset District Council suggests filming locations and also finds useful facilities. Creative England provides filming support to productions, and has worked on films including Brad Pitt’s World War Z, a segment of which was shot close to Lulworth Cove.
Several of Dorset’s are independently owned and run. The Electric Palace in Bridport and the Tivoli in Wimborne are in restored buildings, from the Edwardian period and 1930s respectively.
The theatres also host live shows and both are run by volunteers. They also operate their own film societies which make more specialised films accessible to a larger audience.
4. Miscellaneous Organisations
There are numerous organisations aiming to improve access to more unusual features, particularly independent. Moviola provides screenings in venues such as village and community halls.
Windrose Rural Media Trust uses media to teach local communities about the history of their town or village. Close Encounters is one of its projects that uses archive films as a teaching tool.
5. Film Classes for Children
Kids Camera Action! of Poole and the Purbeck Film Academy are local schemes which provide youngsters with an in-depth knowledge of filmmaking. KCA teaches 7 to 16-year-olds how to make adverts, animations, news reports and pop videos. It is open on Saturdays in term-time, and runs five-day workshops in the summer holidays.
Pupils are encouraged to write, produce and direct their own short films. They are then screened at events including Shorts at Purbeck Film Festival.
6. Filmmaking Courses
For older students, there are several courses providing a thorough knowledge of filmmaking. The BA in Film Production at the Arts University at Bournemouth gives students an all-round understanding. Students gain experience in making live drama productions and documentaries, and at the end of their first year choose a specialist area.
7. Film Festivals
Dorset is producing an increasing number of film festivals which give local, national and international filmmakers the chance to showcase their work. The Purbeck Film Festival is in its 16th year, and films are screened at hotels, pubs and shops. Other festivals include the Adventure Film Festival at Lighthouse, and the From Page To Screen Festival in Bridport.
8. Film Showcasing Opportunities
A number of initiatives to help local filmmakers have recently been set up. In August 2013, Indie Screen Dorset was launched at Poole Lighthouse. As part of the scheme, six independent filmmakers will have the chance to see their work screened at the centre and promoted through various media.
9. Film and Literature
Dorset’s significant contribution to film has been described in various books over the years. Among the most recent is Dorset in Film, which details various films shot in the county.
Those hailing from the county include directors Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) and David Jones (84, Charing Cross Road), cinematographer John Mathieson (Gladiator), actor Robert Newton (Oliver Twist) and Hollywood actress Janet Montgomery (Black Swan).
And current high-profile names in film that have spent part of their formative years in Dorset include actor Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Trilogy), and actress Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient).
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