Addicted to Sheepa new documentary from England


Swaledale sheep are known for their hardy nature and ability to thrive in exposed landscapes. They are often crossed with Bluefaced Leicester rams to produce the Mule. Images courtesy of Magali Pettier.


Farmer Tom Hutchinson maneuvering a heavy gate to be hung on the hinges seen on the righta test of strength and patience familiar to many farmers!

Living on the land and earning a living through farming is rewarding, yet incredibly demanding. I returned to my family's Midwestern farm about ten years ago, and I still find it difficult to articulate why the agricultural lifestyle pulled me back home. It can be physically and emotionally taxing, but, for me, the hard work is balanced by the joy I find in watching my flock graze and in the beautiful fleeces that fill my studio.


So why do people still choose to farm? Filmmaker Magali Pettier (Provenance Films) explores this question in her new documentary, Addicted to Sheep, which profiles a family working as tenant farmers in Upper Teesdale, located in the High Pennines of northern England. Pettier, having an agriculture background herself, filmed the Hutchinson family and their Swaledale sheep over an eighteen-month period. She says, "The farm in the film lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty, but it also has significant levels of social and economic disadvantage. The average age of a farmer is sixty. The average income during filming was £12,600 (a bit less than $20,000) a year. There is a growing decline of young people who opt for a career in agriculture." The documentary shares the highs and lows of hill-farming through the seasons, taking in everything from shearing to lambing, as well as the life of the farmers and their three children.


The production of Addicted to Sheep was supported in part by a successful crowd-funding campaign, and donations continue to be helpful in bringing the independent film to a larger audience. Visit the website to watch a sneak preview of the film, donate to the project, and get updates from the filmmaker.




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