Inspired by the way in which people came together to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Mass Trespass walk up to Winter Hill, Live from Worktown’s poet-in-residence Dave Morgan, penned his own tribute to the hill – a poem that spans the seasons and explores the essence of what this ever-present beacon in the West Pennine Moors means to the people of Bolton who live in its shadow.
After a first reading of ‘A Year on the Hill’ at the anniversary event hosted in the grounds of Smithills Hall, Dave decided to create something more from his engaging poem so turned to long-standing collaborator, Kevin Bates to produce an atmospheric musical soundscape for it. Then, joining forces with actress Stella Blackburn to narrate the poem with him, an audio track was created by John Maycraft at his Sound Cafe recording studio.
For the next and final step, Dave invited local artist Rachel Appleton to create a visual accompaniment to the poem using her quirky, whimsical style of stop-motion animation to bring the recording to life. After many months of painstaking attention to detail, making all the props and taking over 5,000 photos, Rachel finished her animation. This charming short video can be viewed here on Rachel’s Vimeo site.
So what’s my link in this, you may ask? Well after a well-received launch at The Bolton Library on 21st May 2022, the creative team decided to enter the animation to the Bolton International Film Festival, commissioning Paul Needs of Flapjack Press to create a poster and, to my delight, requesting one of my photos of the said hill that inspired this project.
It was a great honour to get a film into the prestigious Bolton International Film Festival not least because it was a homespun co-produced work drawing on a team of trusted collaborators. I think it was a first for all of us and a memorable occasion. Between us we did Winter Hill proud. Thanks to Adrian and Zoe who run the Festival for their patience and encouragement.
Dave Morgan, producer and poet.
Just as exciting, was attending the premiere night of the Bolton International Film Festival on the evening of 5th October 2022 to watch the animation on the big screen. A bustling and fun affair, it was a real treat for us, not only to be a part of an acclaimed film industry event, but also to experience even just a small sliver of the red-carpet treatment.
Thanks and appreciation to Dave and all collaborators.