A dynamic documentary filmmaking workshop took place in St Leonard’s and Hastings this August under the mantle Storytelling by the Sea. Local filmmakers Ross Domoney and Rod Morris taught an intensive five-day course to people from a range of different backgrounds. Through a combination of practical exercises and demonstrations, lectures on documentary film techniques and one-to-one tuition; the workshop produced seven films within a week. 

Students shot, directed and edited their own work, which was premiered at the Electric Palace Cinema in Hastings. Filmmaker Nick Winchester who attended the course said: “It was just the push I needed.” Winchester filmed at Hastings cemetery whilst the country was in the midst of a pandemic. In a twist to the gloom of the headlines, the camera found ‘life in death’s place’. One man in the film tells the camera how he came to the cemetery for his weekly exercise in lockdown. 

David Manning, a St Leonards local who attended the course, made a film about local potter, Lucy Cobb, who undertakes a journey along Hastings’ 140-million-year-old, wild coast, to collect her raw materials. 

Local Swimmer Zoe Bennett used the workshop to shoot and edit together intimate footage of the Azure Swimming Club and their solidarity at sea. Zoe says: “I learnt a lot and really enjoyed the week and will continue to refine my film.” 

Colleen Bartley interviewed people on the Pier with an open-ended question that served up some deep responses from locals and holidaymakers alike. She is continuing to edit her film and hopes to submit to film festivals when it is complete.

Storytelling by the Sea will be running more workshops in the craft of documentary filmmaking. 

The next workshop will be running from the 5th October. 

For more details or to book a place visit on storytellingbythesea.com

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. The future of our volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. You can also support local journalism by becoming a friend of HIP. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.