Week Four – Tales from the Edit – Meet The Characters

Addicted to Sheep has 3 main characters: the people, the sheep and the landscape. Meet some of them. First, the Hutchinson family who allowed us into their lives for over 18 months of filming.











We also got to know a few of their colleagues and filmed at a wide range of locations.

John, Tom’s shearing partner

John Shearing

John, the sheep scanner

John, the sheep scanner

The School Children

The School Children

The Swaledale sheep has proved itself to be a bold hardy sheep, well fitted to endure the hardships of exposed and hard lying situations. The Hutchinsons are passionate about breeding, showing and selling the very best sheep.  As Tom says, it can be an addiction to try and breed the best. Find out more about what makes Swaledale Sheep special.

Addicted to Sheep, Follow Us

Week Three – Tales from the Edit – Award Winning Special Contributors

Upper Teesdale

Capturing a sense of place in sound as well as vision is something we strive for.  We’ve recently had the pleasure of working with two ‘special’ contributors. It’s been a very rewarding experience for our team and we’ve learnt a lot.  Meet Chris and James.

Additional Sound, Chris Watson

Chris Watson, one of the world’s leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena.  His television work includes many programmes in the David Attenborough ‘Life’ series including ‘The Life of Birds’ which won a BAFTA Award for ‘Best Factual Sound’ in 1996. More recently Chris was the location sound recordist with David Attenborough on the BBC’s series ‘Frozen Planet’ which won a BAFTA Award for ‘Best Factual Sound’ (2012).  Chris has provided us with additional sounds specific to our location and advised us on issues relating to sound design.

Composer, James Burrell

James Burrell is a London based composer, songwriter and music producer, specialising in children’s television, feature documentary films and the development of recording artists.  His track record, particular empathy with our film and his sensitive approach towards bespoke composition for the moving image attracted us to work with him.  It’s the first time we’ve worked with a composer.

Week Two – Tales from the Edit – Meet The Team

The Addicted to Sheep team have been working hard for a long time.   It’s time to introduce ourselves.

Directed & Filmed by Magali Pettier

Magali Pettier Director of Addicted to Sheep

I’m a farmer’s daughter, originally from Brittany but have lived in the UK for over 14 years.  I’ve worked in the industry for over a decade but Addicted to Sheep is my debut feature and has been a passion project.  I filmed for 18 months, mostly self-funded to make sure the day-to-day reality of farming and being brought up on a farm were as authentic as possible.  No big crew, just me.  I’ve discussed my motivation and approach to making this film in our press pack Q&A which you can read hereFavourite Documentary The Story of the Weeping Camel by Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni.

Co-Produced by Jan Cawood

Jan Cawood, Co-Producer of Addicted to Sheep

I’m a film-maker who loves a beautifully shot story.  When I first saw the turkeys hung up on the wall I was hooked!  I’ve got a film history/marketing background and know good things when I see them.  It’s been a pleasure getting to reach out to funders and audiences and being involved in shaping the film too.  We have high hopes for Addicted to Sheep and aim to screen at high profile film festivals in 2014/15.   Favourite Documentary Grey Gardens by the Maysles Brothers.

Editor, Matt Dennis

Matt Dennis Editor of Addicted to Sheep

After completing a degree in Fine Art, I began splicing film at the BBC many years ago.   I’ve cut lots of films over the years but real storytelling is something which is a collaborative process.   It’s like moulding clay, you get a shape and begin to build it up in an intuitive way.  Since watching the footage I’ve also taken up dry stone walling! Favourite Documentary Etre et Avoir by Nicolas Philibert.

We’ve also recently had the pleasure of working with two very ‘Special’ Contributors. More about them coming soon.


Week One – Tales from the Edit – The Story So Far


Stats, Structure and Seasons

So much has happened we’ve kept a log of our approach so far.


33 days observational filming over the course of 18 months. 62 hours of footage to view and notes made over the course of 2012/13.  We’ve also edited trailers, pitched for funding and developed our website and reached out to our audience in between.


We’ve logged the footage which means we know where everything is – every cough, sniff and dog bark!  We’ve even transcribed the formal and informal interviews (about 15 hrs in all) so it’s easy to find what we most like.  We have one major lever arch file jammed full of notes to refer back to.

Our approach

Winters in Upper Teesdale can be long and it feels the same in the footage.  We’ve chosen to follow the four seasons largely because we want to tell the story of the sheep as well as the family and wider community.  It’s hard to go from lambing to shearing if you don’t follow a seasonal order.

Addicted to Sheep: Children at School

We’ve chosen to tell the story from the children’s POV as much as the adults.  Our family are at the centre but the wider community are interwoven throughout.  The 15 pupils who attend one of the remotest schools in England are key to sharing the child’s POV.  We learn from the children as much as the adults which give the film more depth.

The seasonal order, the mix of adult and child’s POV and the story of the sheep makes for a very interconnected edit.  Each dependent upon the other.

Tom lambing


Mainly observational, small details speaking louder than words.  We see the family at home on the farm, at auction sales, the children at school.  We also meet people beyond the family, those who come to the farm and those in the wider community – at the annual community show and so forth. Filmed within the North Pennines, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the interdependency of landscape, animals and people are obvious throughout.

The rough cut

From 62 hours we’ve now edited all the daily rushes and gone through a series of scene selections.  From a 12 hour timeline of favourites we’ve gone down to 4 hours then built up the themes we want to share into a 2 hour rough assembly.  The story begins in winter and ends in the autumn.  So far it’s looking and feeling like a film.  It’s exciting!


You can still be part of our crowdfunding campaign

It’s a great feeling. We’ve reached our goal. And now, with a wave of goodwill towards our film, and the edit in front of us, will you please help us imagine an even more successful campaign? If you wanted to be part of it but haven’t had the chance to yet, you still can!

Post-production isn’t the final step in making a film. After the film is made, there are still festival submissions to pay for, legal, distribution and promotional costs to name but a few. Our post-production budget was small and largely based on a lot of good will from our small team who have all put their heart and soul into the film. If we can achieve a higher goal in this campaign right now, that just means a finished film without seeking out other funds further down the line. It means we could share the finished film with the participants who have waited 4 years to see it sooner. It also means we could submit Addicted to Sheep to international film festivals with the care and attention it deserves, to give it the best chance to reach its audience worldwide.

Mike Figgis Quote Tyneside Cinema

There is a fine balance between asking too much or too little when running a crowd-funding campaign and we felt a £7,000 target was attainable, but we always thought we would need more funding later in order to meet the final costs. So, if you want to be part of our journey and can still help us that would be really great.

Even if you can only donate after our 30th of April deadline, you will still be able to do so as we have run the campaign from our own donate page on the Addicted to Sheep website and will keep our support page open for a while longer while we are editing the final film.

With about 8 weeks of post-production in front of us, we aim to complete the film by July 2014. We’ll be posting weekly ‘tales from the edit’  so please keep checking on our progress and sign up for our newsletter on our home page to make sure you don’t miss anything.  It would be really great if you could join us as we want you stay on our film-making journey all the way to the big screen!

Shearing on screen

Addicted to Sheep Crowdfunding Campaign

We set out to raise £7K to complete our first indie feature-length documentary, Addicted to Sheep 2 weeks ago. With a three week campaign in mind, all from our own website to minimise admin fees, it’s been a steep learning curve, fun and frantic at times. We’re now moving into the final week and have learnt a lot! It’s about building an audience as much as raising the funds. Reaching out and raising awareness. Listening too.

Addicted to Sheep crowd-funding

There’s still time to be part of this very special film. Find out how you can be involved by visiting our donate page

We are now crowd-funding

4 years in the making, we’ve achieved more than we ever thought possible, but we now need your HELP to finish the film………………….. Please Watch, Pledge and Share

Find out what motivates a farmer’s daughter from Brittany to spend 18 months filming in all weathers high up in the North Pennines.   We warmly invite you to hear more about the Director’s very personal film-making journey in this short message from Magali Pettier.  We think you will like it.

Director of Addicted to Sheep Filming

For more information about our crowd-funding campaign, you can read our Newsletter: We invite you to be part of something special here.