Farming Families

by Barbara Santi
55 minutes

An intimate portrait of three farms in Penwith Cornwall filmed over a year.

Farming is dramatically changing and small traditional family farms are few and far between. Young people born into farming are choosing not to follow in their ancestor’s footsteps – what is the future of farming in rural communities such as West Cornwall?

Farming Families is a personal, insightful journey into the lives of three families and their traditional Cornish farms; it tells the story of dairy, sheep and cattle farming – but ultimately it tells the story of 6 people and their daily struggle to keep their traditions alive. The three families were filmed to reflect the diverse farming community of West Cornwall over a year-long participatory film and the changes they face in 21st century Britain.

The cycle of the seasons plays strongly in the narrative of the film as we see the three families during their highs and lows. The film's style and pace reflects the changing seasons and explores the spaces between juxtaposing themes; nature/nurture, beauty/harshness, harmony/disharmony, summer/winter.

Farming Families was a year-long participatory digital arts project telling stories from the lives of families who farm West Cornwall culminated in an exhibition at Newlyn Art Gallery, online and touring film programme.

Unique as the land that surrounds it, the exhibition on-line and at Newlyn Art Gallery  was a seasonal journey of a rural community. Using storytelling, personal objects, moving and still images, digital technology, Super 8 and black & white film, the project fused the facts of agricultural life with the families' creativity and insight to explore issues of work, community and cultural identity.

Created by Roz and Jim Nixon of Trewoof Wartha, Monica and Roy Olds of Mulfra Farm, Deryck and David Eddy of Boleigh Farm in collaboration with film-maker Barbara Santi.

Completed 2007