Success for ‘Carousel’ Premiere

There was a full house for the premiere of Catcher Media’s new film Carousel at the Borderlines Film Festival.
The film was screened in the main auditorium at the Courtyard Centre for the Arts and received a very warm welcome from the audience, many of whom stayed for a special post film Q&A session. 

“Spellbinding from start to finish.”
Mike Langford, former Hereford FC board member 

“I believe you have managed to produce an exceptional film capturing Derek’s ability to record the social history of Herefordshire life.”
John Hardwick, Fownhope Heart of Oak Society 

“A first-class performance.”
Ron Parrott, Hereford United Club Historian 

Carousel explores scores of fascinating stories from Herefordshire people, inspired by photographer Derek Evans and the archive he left behind for the county. Now housed at Herefordshire Archive and Record Centre, it contains over 200,000 images of life in many forms across Herefordshire and beyond, including diverse subjects from the May Fair to Hereford United, the Fownhope Heart of Oak walk to jazz, childhood to politics and more. 

Carousel follows Borderlines ‘Audience Favourite’ film Stories from the Hop Yards and Catcher Media’s previous film, Chewing the Cud, which were both hugely popular in the county and elsewhere. Carousel creates a record of Herefordshire memories, told by its people, that reveals the county’s character and the film can be seen on tour at a range of venues, including Cawley Hall in Eye; Conquest Theatre Bromyard; Playhouse Cinema Leominster; Market theatre Ledbury; St Mary’s Hall, Ross on Wye; Wellington Social Club and Fownhope Village Hall and back to the Courtyard. 

Scrolling though photos, participants in the film recall moments from their childhoods, tales about relatives and youthful escapades, often funny and irreverent – there’s a real sense of verve and an enjoyment of life. The film has a few well-known local faces in it, including Bill Jackson, who talks of being a teenager in the city, amongst other things. There are people who remember a saucy side to the May Fair’s visits, with titillating sideshows, where scantily clad ladies reclined, in addition to funny things like the ‘mouse town’ and ‘flea circus’ stalls.
The Fownhope Heart of Oak Walk is an unusual tradition and only men were allowed to walk in it until fairly recently, unless you were ‘a bit of a tomboy in those days’ and the adults didn’t realise you weren’t a boy, like BBC Hereford & Worcester reporter Nicola Goodwin! The famous football match between Hereford United and Newcastle United in 1972 still creates a buzz of excitement for those who were there (and many who were not). Ronnie Radford is in the film, explaining how it felt to play in the historic match at Edgar Street and score one of the most famous goals in UK football. 

It’s part of a three-year Catcher Media project called Herefordshire Life Through a Lens, working with Herefordshire Archives & Libraries and a team of local volunteers, funded by National Lottery players through the National Lottery Heritage Fund with a grant of £328,300. Project volunteers have been working alongside a dedicated team of professionals from Catcher Media and the Archives to digitise the photos which form the backbone of the film . 

Based in Hereford, Derek Evans was a photojournalist for national press and TV in the heyday of Fleet Street and news photography, and took many photographs celebrating aspects of Herefordshire life. He covered the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 for National Geographic before opening his first studio in Broad Street in 1957, and photographed many stars, including Sammy Davis Junior and Elizabeth Taylor. The Herefordshire Life Through a Lens project is exploring the Derek Evans archive and creating an oral history from Herefordshire people, with Herefordshire Archives & Libraries and a team of local volunteers, funded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

The project has recently upgraded to a smart and informative new website, featuring more film interviews, available to watch for free, as well as the archived images that are searchable by topic.