Tony Hollis in action cranking the handle of an old sluice gate, and looking at the cogs moving.

Ten free Somerset shows with films new and old

A new Somerset film called Down by the River premieres in February, with ten free screenings countywide.

Each event will also include an entertaining and thought-provoking selection of Somerset archive films.

Down by the River is a documentary about the inspiring ways that communities across Somerset have responded to flooding. It was commissioned by Somerset Rivers Authority from the Bridgwater-based charity Somerset Film.

Down by the River celebrates local volunteers, and highlights some of the extraordinary work they do to help reduce the risks of flooding. Places featured include Moorland, Martock and Ham on the Somerset Levels & Moors, Croscombe in Mendip and West Somerset. (Four stills from the film are at the bottom of this page).

Archive films will cover historic Somerset floods, local groups like the Home Guard in World War Two, and fundraising carnivals. The exact mix will vary from place to place, to allow for items of very local interest, but all of the films will show what Somerset people can do when they put their minds to it.

Cllr David Hall, Chair of Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA) and Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure, said: “Down by the River is a beautifully shot film that shows the best of Somerset, both in terms of our landscape and the people who live here. These free events will also illustrate how valuable past experiences can be in responding to challenges such as flooding and climate change.”

When and where Down by the River will be shown

Each event will last about two hours. The first will be held at Glastonbury Town Hall on Friday 4 February 2022 at 7pm. Followed by:

Cheddar Village Hall, Saturday 12 February, 7pm

Martock Parish Hall, Saturday 19 February, 7pm

Shepton Mallet Whitstone School, Wednesday 2 March, 7pm

Minehead Regal Theatre, Saturday 5 March, 2pm

Taunton Creative Innovation Centre Community Interest Company (CICCIC), Wednesday 9 March, 7pm

Burrowbridge Coronation Hall, Saturday 12 March, 7pm

Yeovil Westlands Entertainment Venue meeting rooms, Wednesday 16 March, 7pm

Bridgwater Arts Centre, Friday 18 March, 7pm

Roadwater Village Hall, Sunday 20 March, 7pm

Light refreshments will be available at all screenings.

To reserve your free seat, visit http://www.somersetfilm.com/get-involved. Attendees will be encouraged to wear masks and observe appropriate social distancing precautions.

Deb Richardson, Creative Director at Somerset Film, said: “This is a really important project and we are delighted to have been involved. As we look forward to the future and begin to explore how we might respond to climate change, it is invaluable to learn from past lessons and each other and to explore our strengths as a community.”

Down by the River will be available to watch online after the 10 public screenings have been completed.

Aerial view over hills down to Cheddar with reservoir glowing in golden hour light.
An aerial view of Cheddar from the film Down by the River.
An aerial view of Croscombe, with houses along the River Sheppey valley, with fields and woodland stretching far into the distance.
An aerial view of Croscombe from the film Down by the River. Croscombe’s river is the Sheppey.
A flood storage pond with two swans swimming, tucked into a green valley in Odcombe, with trees and fields in the landscape beyond.
A flood storage pond in the Odcombe area between Yeovil and Martock.
An aerial view of Dunster Castle, part of Dunster village and the surrounding flat and hilly landscape.
An aerial view of Dunster from Down by the River. Dunster’s river is the Avill.
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