Landscape partnership: celebrating and evaluating

Worker | Photography Portfolio

The Allen Valleys Landscape Partnership approached us to create a series of films celebrating the four year long Heritage Lottery Funded £1.5 million Landscape Partnership program that was coming to an end.

The Allen Valleys Landscape Partnership had been involved in the creation and facilitation of several community groups, heritage sites and nature conservation programs over the course of four years. Many of these programs were now being managed in their own right by the community so the Landscape Partnership wanted to celebrate this work.

Films like this have two audiences that we need to pitch the film at, the general public and community involved in the project and the funders. It’s really important that the funders can see the work done but for demonstrating to future funders it’s important to get them emotionally engaged. You can cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s and make sure you have jumped through all the hoops of a funding application but to get those funding decision makers engaged in your project emotionally might just tip the balance in your favour, and a video is going to do that, not a report!

We created five short films of some of the community groups and work that would continue beyond the life of the Landscape Partnership Scheme and one celebratory film to demonstrate the breadth of accomplishment of this important project.

The nature of any Landscape Partnership scheme is it’s sheer complexity and trying to get across all of the work of these huge schemes in a short film is challenging. It’s tempting to try and get everything crammed in to the film but the danger of this is that the audience is bored by an endless list of accomplishments and this result would be a failure. Indeed this is the nature of a report and this film served a similar but different purpose to a report.

To celebrate the project and elicit an emotional response for the audience we had to carefully select what we used in the film and whose voices were heard. It was also important to get across why the Allen Valleys are so important, what makes them special and that they are a beautiful place to live and work. So there was a lot of ingredients here for a five minute film.

The beauty of video is that not all elements of the message need to be spoken. We have a huge tool kit to communicate complex messages and for this film we called on several of these tools. The most obvious to us was the power of great photography to show (not tell) the audience what was special about the Allen Valleys. We combined drone footage. timelapse footage and cinematic movement to convey this key message. We could have got our subjects to tell the audience this place is special but we think it’s better to let people come to there own conclusions!

Another element of the beauty of the Allen Valleys are the dark skies. This is one of the darkest corners of england so one of the best places to see the nights sky (when it’s not cloudy) we used timelapse photography to showcase the beauty of the night sky.

All this stunning photography was combined with testimonials from the community and the staff of the landscape partnership to produce a film that truly celebrates the success of the scheme.

The film was screened at a celebratory event for the close of the project to member of the community. It will be used on the Landscape Partnerships website and to showcase the work of the North pennines AONB partnership.

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