Sheffield DocFest, the UK’s leading documentary festival, has announced its 2023 programme selecting Cornish feature A Year in a Field as one of only nine titles in their prestigious International First Feature competition at this year’s festival (14 -19 June).
In A Year in a Field, BAFTA-winning documentarian Christopher Morris invites us to slow down, and immerse ourselves in his quiet, one-man vigil, a direct-action of stillness. Winter Solstice 2020: with his camera and tripod, Morris began filming each day in a field near his home in West Cornwall. He stopped filming on Winter Solstice 2021: a year that UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said was “make or break” for humanity to confront the climate crisis.
The film asks us to take a breath and reflect on the planetary impacts of our brief human existence, under the watchful gaze of the Longstone, a 4,000-year-old standing stone that dominates this elemental landscape. As the wheel of the year turns, Morris’s ecosophical polemic unearths a reality buried just below the furrowed soil of our consumerist age, suggesting, that whilst the climate crisis deals in predictions often too vast to really grasp – by simply standing still in the world, you discover what is immediately around you – and a path to follow does appear.
Morris commented, “I’ve always loved going to Sheffield DocFest throughout my career, so for my first feature doc to receive its world premiere at this year’s festival is such an incredible thrill. For such a quiet and personal film to also be nominated for International First Feature competition is truly humbling.”
This second feature from Cornish production company Bosena (the first being Mark Jenkin’s recent Cannes Directors’ Fortnight title Enys Men) was also made with a regenerative principles of production ‘stepping lightly’ approach. According to Albert (the home of environmental sustainability for film + TV) the average television programme produces tens of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2e), whereas feature films are usually in the thousands. The making of A Year in a Field produced only 1.81 tonnes of CO2e, and this minimal carbon footprint was double offset achieving Albert’s Carbon Neutral Sustainable Production status and creating a climate positive impact.
Bosena CEO and Producer of A Year in a Field, Denzil Monk says, “As Chris’s film so eloquently explores, we cannot ignore the crumbling, burning, flooding, displacement and disruption that mankind continues to blindly violate on the delicate ecological balance of our planet and its cultures. So how we make films and the form they take is as important as what they are about. There is an important interplay between these three elements of content, form and process; each has an impact on the other and together they create an experience of a film that exists in the world, with tangible impacts on the environment in which it is created, and the people involved in making, sharing and eventually viewing the work.”
A Year in a Field, which was made with the support of Falmouth University’s Sound/Image Cinema Lab, will receive its world premiere at Sheffield DocFest this June. Anti-Worlds Releasing and Stone Club will be announcing details of an Autumn Equinox aligned UK release later this year.