Student documentary celebrates the Spitfire

"It's been a great experience hearing real peoples' stories and documenting the history of the Spitfire, from one man's idea through to becoming this incredible piece of machinery. It is part of Stoke-on-Trent's heritage and we really wanted to celebrate that in this film.”"

Tom Andrews, BSc (Hons) Film Technology Production

A Spitfire that crashed on a Staffordshire Moorlands farm in 1940 has inspired a new documentary about the iconic plane's links with the county.

The great grandfather of Callum Robinson, a BSc (Hons) Film Production Technology student at Staffordshire University, lived on the farm on the Roaches where the plane wreckage was discovered.

He explained: “The Spitfire crash has always been a story in my family passed down from my great grandad. When we were contemplating documentary ideas I mentioned it in passing but the more we spoke about it the more we realised it would be a great project.”

Callum and fellow students Tom Andrews, Liam Goodlad and Ben Walker have created 20 minute film 'The Shrew' and members of the public are invited to its premiere screening at Staffordshire University's Film Theatre on Wednesday 31 May.

The Spitfire plane was the brainchild of Kidsgrove designer Reginald Mitchell with local engineering companies producing the machines throughout World War II. The documentary's title 'The Shrew' comes from Mitchell’s original name for the plane.

The students have sourced interviews, photographs and archive footage for the documentary including unseen clips of the film Battle of Britain.

Tom Andrews, who directed the film, said: “It's been a great experience hearing real peoples' stories and documenting the history of the Spitfire, from one man's idea through to becoming this incredible piece of machinery. It is part of Stoke-on-Trent's heritage and we really wanted to celebrate that in this film.”

The group enlisted the help of Stephen Saunders, Film Technology Production Lecturer and a BAFTA winning filmmaker, and Ray Johnson who is an Emeritus Professor of Film Heritage and Documentary and Director of the Staffordshire Film Archive.

Ray is also chair of the Operation Spitfire group and acted as a consultant throughout production. He said: “This is an important new documentary on the Spitfire as it adds new perspectives and information to the standard documented history of this iconic fighter plane.

“Tom and the team have researched and incorporated an admirable range of archive film extracts and other visual material to illuminate these new insights.”

The students made the film as part of the Documentary module on their degree course, which teaches real world production and camera techniques using the very latest technology. Fiona Graham, Course Leader for BSc (Hons) Film Production Technology, added: “Direct research embedded teaching provides our students with the skills and encouragement to develop and become top of their field.

“These students used archive footage, interviews and very high production values to produce an excellent second year film. It shows how strongly our creativity and talent in television production is here in Stoke.”

'The Shrew' will premiere on Wednesday 31 May. The free screening starts at 7:45pm at the Film Theatre, College Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DE. Find more information here.

Contact

Amy Platts
Multimedia Press Officer
Marketing and Public Relations
L600, Flaxman Building
College Road
Stoke-on-Trent
ST4 2DE
t: +44(0) 1782 292702
m: 07799341911
e: amy.platts@staffs.ac.uk