Moo Man misses top film award

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A film starring a Pevensey farmer has narrowly missed out on a top industry award.

Steve Hook may have returned from the Sundance Film Festival empty handed but he made sure he packed a wealth of new experiences into the trip.

Mr Hook and his father Phil rubbed shoulders with industry big wigs and politicians at the prestigious award ceremony in Utah, USA.

Mr Hook also took part in question and answer sessions.

‘The Moo Man’ was shortlisted in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the festival in January.

Dairyman Mr Hook allowed filmmakers unlimited access to his Pevensey Levels business for four years.

The film was produced from 130 hours of film by Andy Heathcote with his Trufflepig Films partner, co-director and editor Heike Bachelier, who are both based in Selmeston.

Mr Hook said: “They made the film and for them it was a huge achievement just to get into the festival. The film got an awful lot of interest because there are loads of problems around the world with small farms packing up.

“It’s a beautiful film which doesn’t tell you what to think. It become quite a respected film during the festival and was totally sold out each time.

“My dad and me were there as farmers, not film people, so they weren’t trying to sell us things so we could totally take in the whole experience.

“There was quieter a few social function so met all sorts of people at those, film industry people and politicians. The whole thing was an amazing experience and something not to be repeated; two English dairy farmers at the awards, it was quite surreal, but lovely sharing it with dad.”

The movie is the story of Mr Hook and his heard of 55 cows - including the film’s unexpected star, a half a tonne, 12-year-old Holstein Friesian named Ida.

The film focuses on Mr Hook’s attempts to save his family farm by turning his back on cost cutting dairies and supermarkets and choosing to focus on farming organically certified raw milk which allowed him to keep the close relationship with his herd.

It tracks his tragedy and triumph as he embarks on punishing long days, milking, bottling in the kitchen, delivering and promoting Longleys Farm. The film became the first British movie about farming to be nominated for a Festival award.