Village documentary wins top US film festival award

Sunday 5th June 2022 6:00 am
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A unique documentary about village life featuring interviews with a film-maker and writer’s neighbours has just scooped a top award at the world’s oldest independent film festival.

Ian Lewis interviewed villagers in Hope Mansell near Ross-on-Wye for his film about the changing face of rural life.

While Hope Mansell only has a population of some 200 people, like everywhere it is facing change.

And his insightful film “A Parcel of Time” captured the imagination of the judges at the 55th Houston Worldfest in Texas, where the work was honoured with a Gold Remi Award.

Announcing the honour on his Facebook page, Ian said: “I’ve just heard that my film, “A Parcel of Time” has won a Gold Remi Award at the 55th Worldfest Houston - the world’s oldest independent film festival.

“It’s particularly pleasing, because I had always hoped that a film about change in a Herefordshire village would be seen as being about change in every old village, and would be of interest beyond Herefordshire, and so it has proved.

The film was shot between the summer of 2017 and the autumn of 2020, and features interviews with people of all ages in a portrait of a village at a time of change.

“For now, Hope Mansell is still a village of farms, but this is the story of all villages in England.

“Of many it’s the past, of some it’s the future: the transition from a community of farmsteads, to a community of incomers,” says Ian.

“I filmed the first interviews in 2017, and the last one during the Covid lull, almost exactly three years later.

“It became apparent very early on that, whatever story revealed itself in all the filming and the listening, there was going to be a great deal, of great value, that ran the risk of being hidden, simply because there wasn’t room for it in the film.”

As a result, he has posted the complete, unedited interviews, at hopemansellhistory.uk/interviews

“Everybody, without exception, had interesting stories to tell,” he says.

“These are not performances, but conversations.”

Ian moved to Hope Mansell six years ago, a world away from the international film-making world he worked in for 40 years for the likes of Thames TV and Reuters.

One of his biggest successes was making the children’s animation series Mona The Vampire, which saw 128 episodes.

Ian says: “Hope Mansell is such a wonderful community, no us and them.

“I am very pleased at the film’s reception and delighted with the gold award.

“It is reinforcement and it’s a good film and I hope other people think so too.”

The film is produced by Ian with music arranged and performed by David Cooper Orton from traditional tunes collected by Herefordshire folklorist Ella Mary Leather.

For more information, to buy and rent the film and to see a trailer go to hopemansellhistory.uk

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