Critical acclaim for student documentary about Tadcaster floods

"Being on a course that allows me to push the boundaries, I'm looking forward to my future projects."

George Bartlett, BA (Hons) Experimental Film Production

A Staffordshire University student's documentary about devastating floods in his Yorkshire hometown has been specially selected by an independent film festival.

George Bartlett made 'The Broken Bridge' after being tasked with producing a non-fiction film during his second year of the BA (Hons) Experimental Film Production degree.

It tells the story of Tadcaster Bridge which collapsed during the floods of Christmas 2015. The bridge remained closed for more than a year and George’s film explores the impact that this had on the town's people.

He explained: “The film was meant as a tribute to the town and its people, who all pulled together over a turbulent year and a half to ensure that Tadcaster, despite being physically divided, never stopped feeling whole.”

With a crew made up of course mates George Morris, Johnny Gibbs, Rob Clough, and Conor Street, George shot the film over a long weekend in February when the bridge officially reopened.

As well as capturing interviews with Tadcaster locals, the documentary also uses amateur footage and news coverage showing the destruction of the floods.

“There were many people who contributed footage to the film. It was very charming to see people from Tadcaster so eager to contribute.” George commented.

“Speaking to locals I saw resilience and a willingness to carry on, and I came to appreciate the strength and compassion shown by everyone in the town, in the face of disaster.”

The documentary was first screened at The Broken Bridge pub, after which the film was named, where many people from Tadcaster and surrounding areas came to see the film and recall the events that took place in 2016.

This month, the film is an Official Selection at the Fisheye Film Festival and is eligible for the awards 'Best Short Film', 'Best Director' and 'Best Documentary'.

Dan Hopkins, Course Leader for Experimental Film Production, said: “George worked really hard to develop and engage contributors to make The Broken Bridge. The amount of research and interviews he did was staggering. It is so nice to see it being appreciated at film festivals and also in the town itself.”

George has entered The Broken Bridge into several other festivals and believes the film will appeal to audiences across the country.

“Despite its distinctly Yorkshire attitude, I think life in Tadcaster is somewhat relatable to pretty much anyone who's lived in a small town at any point in their life.”

He added: “Being on a course that allows me to push the boundaries, I'm looking forward to my future projects, but hope that 'The Broken Bridge' continues to be a piece of film that is revisited as a depiction of a very poignant point in Tadcaster's history.”

View 'The Broken Bridge' on Staffordshire University's Experimental Film Vimeo pages here.

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