What do you do with some video footage slipped into a handbag, a former employee who refuses to be interviewed and a huge abandoned paper mill in the heart of Dover?
The 2012 90-min feature documentary Watermark is inspired by footage of the last Conqueror paper run at Buckland Mill Dover, and featuring former mill workers. A DAD Production, directed by Marianne Kapfer, music by Robert Jarvis, written and edited by Dominic de Vere and Marianne Kapfer, producers DAD Joanna Jones and Clare Smith.
Described by Screen South as one of the “standout success stories of the region” Watermark engages deeply with the people in the film, tells the wider story of industry in Dover and kent and examines ideas of work and identity in a way that recognises the complexity of the issues involved.
Beautifully and sensitively filmed and edited, with an original sound score that can be seen as part of the script, and using archive photographs, archive film footage including fascinating never-before seen super-8 footage, the film successfully crosses the boundary between “film” and “art”.
Watermark is now available through Vimeo-on-demand. Prices are £3.34 to rent or £10.03 to download. Please click here
DVDs are still available too for £15 if collected or £20 to include postage and packing. If you would like one, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“A videotape with shots of a paper mill on a vast empty site with dilapidated buildings in Dover – filmed 10 years ago shortly before its closure. That was the source material I found when Joanna and Clare from Dover Arts Development (DAD) asked me, whether I’d like to make a film about Buckland Paper Mill. What was lacking in order to bring the old mill back to life through their stories were the people, the workers. Months later, we had over 50 interviews with former employees. Each one of them brought photographs, old film recordings and their own stories – all of which went into the creation of the film “Watermark”.” MARIANNE KAPFER, DIRECTOR
“ What interested me was the filigree detail of what remained. Not the paper, not the remains of the building, not even the workers. Just as Buckland Mill defined much of what it produced by means of its watermark, I was interested to learn whether this watermark had its social equivalent – a sort of bond that united those that worked beyond the factory’s gates, a way of thinking and an outlook on life. I was interested in the idea that Buckland Mill made more than simply paper and instead I wanted to learn more about what it was that had affected people’s lives, cemented friendships and contextualised any shared understanding of the locality. In short, I was interested in the real watermark of Buckland mill and what faint traces were left in the minds of the workers who had worked there.” ROBERT JARVIS, SOUND DESIGN
“ Watermark was edited in a room overlooking Dover from a position just below the Castle. Atypically for an editing suite (normally a darkened, nondescript space), the room contained two long rectangular windows, approximately equivalent in size to the rarely used Polyvision aspect ratio of the 1920’s. With a panoramic perspective over the town below, with the sea docks down to our left and the abandoned site of Buckland Mill itself in the distance to our right, we spent approaching ninety days with this sweeping viewpoint, and watched how the town changed through autumn to winter before spring emerged, with Watermark slowly coming to life through the computer positioned in the space between the two windows.” DOMINIC DE VERE, CO-WRITER & EDITOR
“One of the standout success stories of the region.” SCREEN SOUTH
“The film is important in many different ways: artistically, historically and personally. You have not only crafted an emotive story you have given the workers of the Mill a chance to speak.” THOMAS LEADER, KETV STUDIOS
“A filmic paean to work and working class culture. Richly evocative, thought provoking and profoundly moving – this wonderful collaborative project should be watched by anyone who cares about work, community and place.” TIM STRANGLEMAN, PROFESSOR IN SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF KENT
“A deeply important and moving film about real work, real people and the evaporation of Britain’s industries. A film that presents us with a critical question that relates to the larger issue of economic sustainability. As the focus on industrial production and agriculture dwindles, what does the future hold?” JAMES BURN, CEO BRANDACTIVE, GLOBAL CHANGE MANAGEMENT
“I would like to congratulate DAD and everyone connected with the production of the excellent film Watermark. I found it to be an exceptionally interesting piece of social history, highlighting the importance of Buckland Paper Mill to the people of Dover. The mixture of archive pictures and real interviews really brought it to life.” THE DDC VICE CHAIRMAN
“I thought the film was absolutely brilliant, a wonderful piece of social history and it’s a pity we haven’t got more of this type of work to keep for future generations” THE MAYOR OF THE TOWN OF DOVER
“A rare opportunity to feast on such rich history, while artist Chris Burke said it was “an excellent piece of work. Congratulations to all those people who participated in this imaginative re-creation of the life that animated the empty buildings of the Mill.” REV. MAGARETTA BUNDY (Widow of the late Dr Alan Bundy and mother of musician-son Richard Bundy, featured in the film)
“From the Museum’s point of view this was a perfect project. It made use of archives and film that we already had; it produced a wonderful film that will be kept for posterity and added these wonderful objects to the museum collection for the future” JON IVESON, CURATOR OF DOVER MUSEUM
“The film was so very good. I knew it would be but it was the touching moments portrayed so very well. Lumps in my heart, tears in my eyes. Impermanence, ‘progress’ (?), the ‘family’ at work, the simple expectations of families at home. Number one and number two and the importance of a language soon to be forgotten by all but the mill dwellers. The lesson: once it’s gone it’s gone, even when it’s a ‘bad’ decision. Loved too the way it was filmed – the two brothers in striped jumpers, the sisters, the chairs and the three ladies, the wrinkles, the coughing, the smoothing down the clothes…. All such sensitivity to the portrayal of the ‘cause’. A masterpiece in other words! How could one expect to be enthralled for over an hour by the subject of a paper mill? That takes some creativity!” CAROLINE LATHAM
@Whitbienn (Whitstable Biennale): “Enjoyed @DoverArts special preview of new documentary feature film Watermark today” on Twitter
@DANettleingham: “@DoverArts Congratulations on Watermark. It’s a great film and an important snapshot of history.” on Twitter
@kentculture: “@DoverArts Great listening to people talking about Watermark last night. Congratulations!” on Twitter
@extendedcinema (Cathy Rogers): “@DADplus sounds like today was a roaring success judging by comments here only sorry I couldnt make it -#watermark is a great filmic treasure” on Twitter
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