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Film talent flourishes south of the Humber
Sean (left) and Scott
Sean Atkinson (far left) and Scott Middleton (right) filming in Barton

It may not be glamorous or hip as Hollywood but North Lincolnshire is becoming a hotbed for fresh film making talent.

The south bank has long been associated with the steel, agriculture and fishing industries.

Now a group of friends in North and North East Lincolnshire are working to bring the area's underground creative scene to the fore.

Robin Smith, Sean Atkinson and Scott Middleton have been working together on film projects in the region for several years, mostly in their spare time outside of their day job.

Sean is co-founder of the annual Meniscus Film Festival, a short-film festival that has been running in Grimsby for the past nine years, and Scott is a professional photographer who runs the Fusion Youth Theatre.

"There are lots of people that work behind the scenes, underground if you like, in such a rural area making films, producing television programmes, doing theatre and the thing is - in such an area as this - people don't know they exist," said Sean.

Robin Smith

Filmmaker Robin Smith is attempting to sow the seeds for his first feature-length film based on a gangster story, which follows on from a short film he entered in a national competition during the summer.

With the help of his filmmaking friends and contacts, Robin produced a slick trailer titled War of the Wolds - based on HG Well's famous science fiction novel of a Martian invasion - where aliens land in the countryside of North Lincolnshire.

Shot on location in Barton-Upon-Humber, the film involved a cast and crew of over 90 people. Some recruited through friends and social networking sites, as well as via local theatre groups such as Fusion.

The films produced by the group are made using digital technology and are usually self-financed, with most of the resources either borrowed from contacts or shared between them.

"The great thing about the medium of digital film is it doesn't cost as much as film used to. So by begging, borrowing, hopefully not stealing, you can get lots of people together and produce work that is of a standard that, if it was made in Hollywood, would cost millions," said Sean Atkinson.

The crew use a camera steady device developed by director Mike Figgis

"Thankfully we've got lots of good friends and there is this undercurrent of creative people that are dotted around working away in sheds, like we are."

Even though support is readily available from peers, the lack of funding in North and North East Lincolnshire is a problem for filmmakers who want the creative industries to develop in the area.

"We do have nearly everything we need. We have very talented filmmakers, directors and excellent cast that we can get hold of. The one thing that will free us up creatively is the funding," said Scott.

"If that worry was taken out of the equation we can [continue to] create some fantastic stuff," added Scott.

Many of the films that are produced in the area are shown at film festivals in the UK and abroad and every year at the Meniscus event in Grimsby.


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