Described as the number one movie of the Sundance 2013 Film Festival, The Moo Man follows a year in the life of Steve Hook and his unruly herd as they battle to keep their family farm afloat.
Director and cameraman Andy Heathcote, who will be returning to the city where he started his film career, 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 sleeve.
Both Andy and Steve will be at The Quad on Tuesday October 15 to answer questions from the audience following a screening of The Moo Man at 6.30pm. The session will be hosted by Prof Huw Davies of the University of Derby.
Undisputed star of the show 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 their number one fan.
“The 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 tall, 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 the film challenges our relationship with food, the environment and the person we rely upon for both – the farmer.
There will be two further showings of The Moo Man at The Quad on Wednesday October 16 and Thursday October 17. Call the box office on 01332 290606.