JAMES DELINGPOLE, THE SPECTATOR / May 26 2016 (BBC4 TV version)

“… Magali Pettier’s remarkable, beautiful, affecting film probably hasn’t changed much since the Middle Ages.”

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GABRIEL TATE, THE TIMES ★★★★ / February 9 2016 (for 60 min TV version)

“Somewhere between the brutal realities of Molly Dineen’s 2007 documentary Lie of the Land and the more bucolic, viewer-friendly vision of Countryfile sat Addicted to Sheep, portraying a year in the life of them hill farmers the Hutchinsons. As they toiled on the Pennines amid the unforgiving elements, Magali Pettier’s  documentary offered an astute, unforced survey, notable for its honesty, humour and lack of sentimentality. One moment a stillborn lamb was being dropped into a bucket, the next we were sitting in at the Hutchinson children’s rural school. Neither in a state of perpetual crisis nor an untapped goldmine, British agriculture was here portrayed as it surely is: tough but fulfilling, with the impossibly tight margins at least partially compensated by a close community spirit. I can’t say I envied them, but their dedication and passion was admirable and humbling.”

MARK KERMODE “KERMODE UNCUT: THE BIG SHEEP” / February 5 2016

Watch blog here

FILM INQUIRY / December 8 2015

ADDICTED TO SHEEP: A Remarkable Ode To Farmers Everywhere

“This results in enormous economic issues for the couple: if the sheep don’t produce or sell, then they can barely put food on the table. By including this angle, Addicted to Sheep becomes a comment on how destructive capitalism can be to local business, and how exploitative the food industry is to independent farmers. Tom and Kay’s love for farming and their year-round struggles are ultimately heartwarming, but the film never lets you forget that this may not last forever.”

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KATIE YOUNG, FILM DEBATE ★★★★ / November 28 2015

“…The changing of the seasons, that visible passage of time, gives Addicted to Sheep a sense of melancholy, and also illustrates the eternal cycle of birth, life, and death without being cloying. The love the Hutchinsons clearly have for each other and for the land is tangible, and is ultimately what makes this such an engaging piece of work. Educational, moving, funny, and brutal by turns, it’s a slice of life depicted in all its bloody, visceral, shit-smeared glory.”

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WOVEMBER / November 2015

“…There is little background music to manipulate the viewer’s emotions. The music there is unobtrusively reflects the environment, carrying the sounds of the wind and rain. The viewer hears what the family hear: the rustle of waterproof trousers, the music of the dog whistle, the rattle of the spray can at scanning time. This is the soundtrack of a farmer’s life.

Farm life is interspersed with scenes from the village school reminiscent of Gervase Phinn’s memoirs. There is a powerful mixture of humour and pathos. A child complains about the price of diesel. A little boy describes going out in the morning to find his pet calf ‘laid down dead’. No dramatic music or emotive voice-over is required, the children’s eloquence needs no supplementation…”

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BBC COUNTRYFILE MAGAZINE / October 2015 Issue

“The fells of Upper Teesdale are a tough but beautiful corner of England and the strength of the local community is touching. The Hutchinson children, who are out on the farm as much as the parents and adore where they live, add a humorous and emotional side of the film. It might be less glamorous that Adam’s Farm, but this unhurried, intimate, honest film is unmissable.”

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NEW INTERNATIONALIST ★★★★  / September 18 2015

“Magali Pettier’s Addicted to Sheep is an attractive, unsentimental doc about people happy because they have a strong sense of belonging and the value of their work farming sheep on the Pennine Moors.”

MATTREYNOLDSWRITES / September 7 2015

“There’s lots to gush over in Addicted to Sheep, but it’s brilliantly restrained, and never overly sentimental. Instead, its detached honesty allows viewers to fall into the rhythms of farming life for the duration of the documentary, following a truly remarkable family who see themselves as anything but.”

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MARY ANNE HOBBS SITS IN FOR LAUREN LAVERNE / September 4 2015

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MARK KERMODE, OBSERVER ★★★★ / August 30 2015

“Pitched somewhere between Nicolas Philibert’s Être et Avoir and Michelangelo Frammartino’s Le Quattro Volte, this insightful account of a year in the life of a family of north Pennines tenant farmers proved a deserved hit at the 2015 Sheffield Doc/Fest. Told with affection but without sentimentality (life and death are unflinchingly intertwined), Magali Pettier’s debut feature gets under the skin of its subjects and the tough lives they lead.” 

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DAVID PARKINSON, EMPIRE ★★★★

“This intimate, but unflinching account of the travails of a North Pennine farming family captures the beauty of the changing seasons, while deftly conveying the graft involved in rearing sheep and cattle and the grimier realities of the rural economy.” 

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AMBER WILKINSON, EYE FOR FILM ★★★★ / August 28 2015

“The result is an immersive charmer that shows how although this sort of life may seem remote to outsiders, those who live it have enviably strong connections.”

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KATIE FRASER, SCREENJABBER ★★★★

“Based around a family of sheep farmers, you might think this documentary from director Pettier is something you would not be interested in. But think again, because Addicted to Sheep is the documentary that you need to see – it’s informative, interesting and even funny at times… and it’s probably the only film that’s kept me so engrossed in a bunch of dirty, smelly sheep before.”

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KATE MUIR, THE TIMES ★★★ / August 28 2015

“Watching the film has the calming effect of a weekend in the country without the bother of the travel…” 

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Link to paper cuttings here and here 


BRIAN VINER, DAILY MAIL ★★★★ / August 27 2015

“Delightful Documentary. First we had Shaun, wreaking havoc with his farmyard friends in the Big City, and now here comes this charming, warm documentary about the engaging Hutchinson family, tenant farmers high up in the northern Pennines, whose small herd of Swaledales is not only their livelihood but also their passion.” 

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Link to paper cutting here


ALEXANDRA ZEEVALKINK, DOCGEEKS / August 27 2015

“Documentary Addicted to Sheep will win some hearts. Once in a while you have to take a gamble and go see a documentary about sheep farming, trust me, it will be worth it. This film is delicate, beautiful, human and made with a lot of passion… It might not be the same as a documentary about the first man on the moon, or the revelation that there never was one. But, the highs and the lows of sheep farming are laid out bare in this film through the everyday lives of tenant farmers Tom and Kay Hutchinson, and it is done in a way that could have had me watch it for another two hours.”

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SLOWFOOD UK

“Tenant sheep farmers in the Upper Teesdale, perhaps doesn’t sound like an instant cinema hit, but this film charms and gives wry smiles throughout… If you watch one film about food and farming this month, make sure it’s Addicted to Sheep. We’ll be watching it again.”

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FILMUFORIA / August 24 2015

“Pettier does not attempt to be philosophical – this arthouse gem connects in a simple yet effective way to the global narrative of survival for small communities all over the World, showcased in similar British documentaries Village at the End of the World (2012) and The Moo Man (2012). ADDICTED TO SHEEP raises the crucial and timeless issue of the food we eat being connected with farmers who really care about their livestock and produce rather than large corporations who rob them of their profit margins and ultimately threaten our health, wellbeing and the future of British farming.”

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MY FASHION CONNECT / August 21 2015

“While giving an intimate insight into the endless list of hard work, in all weathers, of running a farm, the film showcases the total commitment of a hill-farming family in the North Pennines. Such is the authenticity of the film I could almost feel the cold during the winter scenes (bring a sweater to the cinema if I were you) and smell the sweat in the sequence of the clipping (or shearing) of sheep.   In portraying the family’s dedication to their flock it draws you into a unique way of life in a remote rural world.  Thoroughly admirable.   Whoever is contemplating the idea of giving up their city day jobs for a relaxing life of running a farm should think again.  But if you’re after a life of  simplistic happiness that the material modern world cannot provide, maybe farming is your answer.”

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GEOGRAPHICAL / August 20 2015

“Straight outta Teesdale, Addicted to Sheep is a farming documentary like you’ve never seen before… The film is visually arresting. The outdoors is used to show the passage of time, crusty snow makes a moonscape of the surrounding hills while greener pastures show the arrival of spring. Throughout, long shadows and slanted light suggest some undoubtedly early mornings and what results is a thoughtful panorama of life on a farm on England’s hillsides.”

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ON THE BOX / August 17 2015

“Addicted to Sheep is a beautiful, rewarding film that offers us a glimpse of an ancient and enthralling way of life.”

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A SHORT SITE ABOUT FILMS / June 2015

“Despite the comic title for the film, Addicted to Sheep, a title that came from Tom himself in reference to the Swaledales being the most addictive of sheep, there is a calm seriousness about the film that really draws you in. It is beautifully shot and the sound is fantastic (the sounds of the machines and the gates and all of the metal contraptions involved in getting sheep from one place to the next are loud and detailed and superbly recorded) and it wouldn’t surprise me if it doesn’t go on to win numerous awards…just as Tom does at the end with his Swaledales.”

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ANDREW LATIMER, HEYUGUYS / June 8 2015

“Pettier is really able to capture the disparity of this existence, right in amongst the cow pats and horse-flies in one shot before cutting away to the snowy, silent knolls of the ancient Pennines. It’s infused with the kind of colourful local humour which gives the film its warmth, as the kids ponder whether they might like to follow in their parents’ footsteps.”

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DAVID WHETSTONE, THE NEWCASTLE JOURNAL ★★★★ / February 20 2015

“Look out for Addicted to Sheep. It could be one of the best films of 2015” .

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SHEILA SEACROFT, FILM BLOGGER / February 15 2015

“I saw this film at a special preview on a starry winter’s night in a community centre Middleton in Teesdale, in company with many participants in the film, the schoolchildren, some alarmingly grown, lolling to watch on the floor in front of the screen. For most of the audience this was day-to-day life as they knew it; for us townies who only walk the footpaths and take pictures of the scenery it’s something remarkable, unthinkable yet in many ways enviable, above all heroic.”

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