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Sightlines: Festival of Fenland Film. 2016.
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In 2016  The Field Theatre Group made our 2nd appearance at Ouse Fest.

With a grant from the Ouese Washes Landscape Partnership (Heritage Lottery Funds) we able to produce the first-ever Festival of Fenland film.

The Ouse Washes and surrounding Fenland provides film-makers with an endlessly fascinating backdrop. With its huge skies, shifting cloud-scapes and distant horizons, it is of course extremely photogenic. 

But a landscape without stories is just a patch of empty space.
The film-makers featured in Sight Lines have told these stories and brought to life in many different ways.  

From animated versions of Fenland folk-tales created by children and young people, to the unfolding drama of migration, and the harsh realities to live on the land, these films offer a window on the rich culture and heritage of the Fens. 

The film-makers featured in Sight Lines offer us a glimpse of the abundant wildlife and rich habitats, the communities and people who give the land its life and meaning. 

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Featured Films


The Buried Moon. Short. 5 mins. (2010).

A legend of Fenland folklore.

Created: the members of ‘The Garage’, Ely.
This film is produced as part of the Fenland Stories Project.


Samuel and the Worm. Short. 5 mins. (2010).

A tragic tale of death, worms and ghostly haunting!
Produced by: Kings Films.
This film is produced as part of the Fenland Stories Project.


Captured Souls. Short.12 mins. (2014).

Created by: Jack Stevens.

Text: Deborah Curtis.

Narrator: Michael Rouse.

Captured Souls is a powerfully evocative short. Shot on location in an abandoned farmhouse in the Black Fens. The film demonstrates how empty buildings can retain echoes and memories from the past. Using innovative editing techniques Captured Souls sheds an eerie light on the past lives and previous inhabitants of a real-life location.

Shortlisted for the Royal Southern Television Award. 2014.

Bread or Blood. 45 mins. (2011).

Produced by Downham Market Academy, supported by the Greater Fens Museum Partnership. In association with Stories – Projects in Films and Downham Market Heritage Society.

Bread or Blood documents the events surrounding the Bread Riots of 1816. Combining documentary, drama and extracts from an original stage production written by Ned Markwell.

Students from Downham Academy delve deep into their local history to bring to life a period of great drama, sadness and significance.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.



Chasing Ice: The Fen Skating Story. Documentary. 30 mins. (2016).

Produced by: Cambridge Filmworks.

Part of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership ‘Skating Round the Fens’ project. In association with the Fen Skating Association.

Exploring the bleak beauty of the Ouse Washes and Fenland landscape and its influence on the emergence of the unique sport of Fen Skating.

‘A quirky and revealing documentary about a little-known sport that is intrinsically linked to the history of the East Anglian Fens.’

Includes interviews with participants in this unique regional sport.


Common Ground.  35 mins. (2010).

Produced by The Field Theatre Group.

Writer/Dir. Deborah Curtis

Producer/designer. Jennifer Stevens.

Cinematography. Peter Harmer.

Featuring  a large cast of non-professionals drawn from the local community, and using a mixture of personal testimonies and scripted scenes, Common Ground captures the harsh realities of the lives of Fenland agricultural workers in the early twentieth century. Beautifully shot on location in Littleport and Wicken Fen, Common Ground is a haunting evocation of lives lived amid the unique landscape of the Black Fens. Funded by Awards for All.


Rich Soil, Rich Heritage. Drama-doc. (2014).

Produced by Viva.

Director: Frank Cosby.

Cinematography: Peter Harmer.

Utilising  original research and oral history interviews this film records important aspects of three and half centuries of East Cambridgeshire’s history. The film explores the story of some of the many different groups of people who came to the Fens, from the 17th Century to the present day. Documenting the back breaking construction of massive drainage channels, to flying fighter aircraft in defence of liberty.

Nature may have given our area its distinctive rich soil, but it was the people who helped shape the area we see today.



Riot in the Blood. 30 mins. (2016).

Produced by The Field Theatre Group.

Writer/Director: Deborah Curtis

Executive producer: Jennifer Stevens.

Camera, animation, editing & sound: Jack Stevens.

Using a mixture of archive materials, eye-witness accounts and trial testimonies, Riot in the Blood documents the events surrounding the Ely and Littleport Riots of 1816.

Participants in Riot in the Blood include descendants of the five hanged ‘Littleport Martyrs.’ Shot on location in key sites in Littleport and Ely, the film includes previously undocumented aspects of these tumultuous events.

Riot in the Blood is a moving and memorable tribute to those who paid the ultimate price for daring to protest against their poverty and hunger.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.



The Fenland Shop that Time Forgot. 45 mins. (2011).

Produced by Cambridge FilmWorks Ltd

Director: Adams Giles

An affectionate portrait of a landmark fenland shop (now the Adams Heritage Centre). The shop, JH Adams and Sons stood at the heart of the community of Littleport for more than 100 years. The makers of this film take you on a nostalgic journey to a shop that had not changed its fixtures and fittings since it was built, just after Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Using a mixture of interviews with local people and archive footage, the film captures the essence of a disappearing Fenland culture. The film also highlights fascinating links to Fenland skating and the formation of the National Skating Association.




The Horseman’s Word. Drama-doc. 30 mins. (2015).

Produced by The Field Theatre Group.

Writer/Dir. Deborah Curtis

Producer/designer. Jennifer Stevens.

Cinematography. Peter Harmer

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Horseman’s Word documents the myth, magic and drama of the ‘Golden Age’ of heavy horse keeping in the Fens. This film offers a window onto an almost forgotten world: a world of superstition and horse-magic. Who were the ‘Entire Men? And what was the secret of the legendary ‘Horseman’s Word.’


The Ouse Washes. Animation. (2015).

Telling the history of the area from the drainage of the Fens to its present day use as a flood defence and wildlife haven.

(A partnership project between The Rosmini Centre, Norfolk Museums and The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership).

This delightful animated film was made by young people living in and around The Fens. The film documents the drainage of The Fens, and the creation and importance of the Ouse Washes; including the history, landscape management and incredible wildlife of the Ouse Washes. Participants were drawn from a mix of Eastern European and British backgrounds. The film forms part of the Tales of Washes, Wildfowl & Water project (OWLP) and is a visually beautiful representation of the Ouse Washes story.

A partnership project between The Rosmini Centre, Norfolk Museums and The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership.

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