Reviews and views on What's on in the Northeast, from keen gigger, theatre-goer and comedy consumer, Jo Oliver.
Monday, 19 August 2013
Moo-Man comes to Tyneside Cinema
An extra-ordinary tale
of British independent moo-vie making
(or how one farmer and his cows went to Sundance!)
A special screening of
the most talked about British documentary of the year with Scottish filmmaker
Andy Heathcote at
who led a cast of dairy cows to surprise stardom comes to Newcastle this week with
a special showing of hit indie documentary The Moo Man (97 mins, U).
Described as the “number one movie of the Sundance
2013 Film Festival” The Moo Man follows a year in the life of farmer Steve Hook
and his unruly 55-strong herd as they battle to keep their family farm afloat.
Director and cameraman Andy Heathcote took four years
to make the movie, most of them spent flat on his stomach in a damp field,
trying to keep the shot steady while half a tonne of dairy cow nibbled at his
Andy will be at Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle on
Thursday August 22
to lead a question and answer session with the audience on the most challenging
film of his career. There will also be an earlier showing on Wednesday August
Undisputed star is leading lady Ida, a shapely
Friesian Holstein with a natural talent for showmanship and Steve’s secret
weapon as he pulls out all the marketing stops when he breaks from the big
dairies to go it alone.
We accompany Steve through night-time calvings and
punishingly early dawn milkings, as all the while he builds a doorstep delivery
service for the herd’s organic pintas. It’s a job he undertakes with passion
and great dollops of humour but one he knows is impossible without the
co-operation of his cows. A
farmer all his life, he’s still they’re number one fan.
film started out being about one farmer bucking the trend by not going down the
big numbers route. In the end, though, what came across most strongly were the
cows’ characters. They’re just beautiful animals,” says Steve.
A heart-warming and often hilarious tale set on the
stunning Pevensey Levels in East Sussex, The Moo Man takes viewers on a
rollercoaster ride of emotions that brings you face to face with the reality of
farming in an era driven by supermarket economics.
In a charming, understated way Andy’s film challenges
our relationship with food, the environment and the person we rely upon for
both – the farmer.