The Land of the Fanns Landscape Partnership Scheme has worked with production company Rosa Productions and local people to create ten short films that reveal some of the wonderful places and characters in the Land of the Fanns.
During the summer of 2020, local people from across the Land of the Fanns took part in a project to create short films that captured the uniqueness and spirit of the area. An initial training programme in March 2020, was offered to people with no experience in making films. The course taught the basics of documentary style film making including research, visual storytelling and interview techniques. Participants were shown how to use simple and accessible technology such as tablets and smart phones for filming, enabling them to work independently and with support from Rosa Productions, who then edited the films for public viewing.
The result was ten short films that evoke memories, record developments and showcase some of the interesting and beautiful places to be found in the area from east London to Basildon, through Brentwood, Thurrock, Havering, Barking & Dagenham, and into Essex. The films reflect some of the 100 stories gathered by a Community Mapping project undertaken in partnership with arts organisation Kinetika and illustrate the rich history and hidden gems in the Land of the Fanns landscape.
The ten films were voiced and filmed by local people without any previous production experience and each takes a meaningful look at an item or place explaining its significance to the filmmaker and the wider history or heritage of the area as a whole. The films range from personal reminiscences to telling the story of larger projects undertaken by volunteers in the community. Each film is available to watch on the Land of the Fanns website, YouTube channel and on its Facebook page.
The films are:
Bedfords Park Walled Garden, Havering
Little Belhus Country Park, Thurrock
Rainham Hall Community Garden, Havering
The Woodsman Statue, Langdon Hills
Brooks Memorial Garden, Thurrock
The River Mardyke, Thurrock
The Graffiti Wall, Grays to Purfleet
Basket Weaving in the Orsett Fens, Thurrock
Weald Country Park: Breaking the Ice, Brentwood
Harold Wood Running Club, Pages Wood, Havering
Community Mapping is an important tool in recognising what makes a community unique and in finding out what a community values. Every community is different and by mapping the local places, organisations, objects or people that mean something to that community, it offers an opportunity for people to look at where they live as a whole and to unite around shared goals of restoration or protection of the local heritage or environment. By drawing out the stories local people tell about where they live, the Land of the Fanns Community Mapping project has helped people appreciate and respect what is on their doorstep, and care for it for future generations.
Aisling Woodhead, Land of the Fanns Environment Engagement Officer said “These films are a wonderful example of personal stories about the importance of the history and heritage of the area and also how individuals and local people working together can have a huge positive impact on the future of the landscape.
The Land of the Fanns will celebrate the rich heritage and unique landscape of its project area in a festival in May and June 2021. The Tales of the Fanns festival will be a mix of online and live activities as permitted at the time within current restrictions. The films, the 100 stories and 100 silk flags will all come together to show what is to be found in the Land of the Fanns and to revel in its hidden gems.
The Land of the Fanns is a unique £2.4 million Landscape Partnership Scheme, awarded £1.36 million by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2016. The five-year Scheme brings together nine partner organisations with a commitment to work towards a shared goal of enabling local people to discover, restore and enjoy what’s special about the local landscape. Thames Chase Trust is the project’s lead partner. Thames Chase manages the Community Forest in which the Land of the Fanns office is based.
The other partners are: Forestry England, Thames Estuary Partnership, Thames21, Thurrock Council, Brentwood Borough Council, Essex County Council, London Borough of Havering and the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham.