In partnership with Forma, Flatpack will be presenting four Midlands screenings of The Miners’ Hymns, a bewitching, hypnotic and moving portrait of the British miners made by renowned American filmmaker Bill Morrison (Decasia) and acclaimed Icelandic musician and composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. The film is made up almost entirely of archive footage and celebrates the social, cultural, and political aspects of the extinct industry. Focusing on the Durham coalfield, it depicts the hardship of pit work, increasing mechanisation, the role of trade unions in organising and fighting for workers’ rights, and their annual Miners’ Gala in Durham. Jóhann Jóhannsson’s exquisite composition for the film draws upon the brass music tradition that was so intertwined with the mining communities.
The film premiered at BRASS: Durham International Festival in July 2010, and was performed with a live score by brass musicians from the NASUWT Riverside Band. Since then it has screened at various festivals including Tribeca Film Festival, DOXA Documentary Film Festival, and Sheffield Doc Fest.
As well as The Miners’ Hymns we’ll also be screening a selection of archive shorts featuring footage from the Tamworth Gala, and miners performing ballet up north, both from 1954. The Media Archive for Central England will also be supplying us with some rarely seen archive footage of miners in the Midlands. Author David Bell (The Dirty Thirty: Heroes of the Miners’ Strike) will be joining us at Polesworth and Burntwood to give an insight into the Staffordhsire mining industry.
The four dates and venues are:
All the screenings are free to attend but will be ticketed. For more information, drop Sam a line: sam[at]flatpackfestival.org.uk