Hilbre is the largest in a chain of three tidal islands that lie at the mouth of the Dee estuary, a rare outpost of wilderness in this heavily populated corner of England. It is home to a surprising range of wildlife and has become an important stopping off point for many migratory birds, as well as being a magical place of escape for local people.
This film is a labour of love that tries to capture the feeling of summer on the islands. It follows the lives of the residents and the seasonal visitors, the beauty of the flora and the awe inspiring tides that cut Hilbre off from the mainland. Music and image combine to take you to a place where the modern world seems like a distant memory.
The photography was done over the summer of 2014 by Andrew Schonfelder and Alastair Dicks. With a strong emphasis on timelapse and slow motion, we have attempted a more subjective approach to natural history filmmaking, taking inspiration from the poetry of Mary Oliver and the writing of Henry David Thoreau. Principal photography was done in 5k on a RED Epic MX with timelapses shot on Canon and Nikon DSLRs, making heavy use of Magic Lantern firmware.
The script was written in close collaboration with Matt Thomas, naturalist, blogger and columnist for several local publications. Narration is by John Curry, ex Liverpool Bay pilot, poet and author. We quote from the Charles Kingsley poem ‘Sands of Dee’, and should also tip our hats to Gerald Durrell and Ernest Hemingway, whose books accompanied us on our stay.
The score was written for a small folk inspired ensemble of guitar, mandolin, cello, clarinet, bass clarinet and electric bass, with additional sound design and textures from Bütone percussion instruments (a type of steel drum) and an old analogue synth. Scored to picture by composer and music producer Rob Kelly, the music was recorded and mixed at Strongroom Studios. Clarinet and bass clarinet were performed by Rebecca Millward, all other instruments played by Rob.