Directed by Magali Pettier
90 min | 2014 | UK | Not Rated
Set in the North Pennines, UK, Addicted to Sheep is an intimate portrait of a year in the life of tenant hill farmers Tom and Kay Hutchinson as they try to breed the perfect sheep. Director Magali Pettier, herself a farmer’s daughter, captures the sights and sounds of this beautiful upland landscape through the seasons as well as a way of life often difficult to witness up close. Through the sun, rain, sleet, and snow we watch the Hutchinson’s toil away against the stark stunning landscapes of North East England and witness the hard work it takes just to survive. Their three young children are growing up close to the land, attending the local primary school entirely comprised of farmers’ children, all thoroughly immersed in their remote rural world. For instance, a pupil complains about the price of diesel, and another explains that because of living remotely she can ‘scream like a maniac’. While the odds often seem stacked against them, the film conveys the importance of a balanced family life and the good humor that binds this tight knit community together. Addicted to Sheep is an entertaining and subtle reminder of how important farming is to the economy and the social fabric of our communities. Following your passion does have its rewards, although not always financial. Beautifully observed, this heartwarming film provides an insight into the past, present and future of a way of life far removed from the high-tech hustle and bustle of modern life. It allows us all to experience life on a hill farm without having to get dirty!
Official Selection: 2015 Sheffield Doc/Fest
“Pitched somewhere between Nicolas Philibert’s Être et Avoir and Michelangelo Frammartino’s Le Quattro Volte, this insightful account of a year in the life of a family of
north Pennines tenant farmers proved a deserved hit at the 2015 Sheffield Doc/Fest. Told with affection but without sentimentality (life and death are unflinchingly intertwined), Magali Pettier’s debut feature gets under the skin of its subjects and the tough lives they lead.” — Mark Kermode, Observer ★★★★
“This intimate, but unflinching account of the travails of a North Pennine farming family captures the beauty of the changing seasons, while deftly conveying the graft involved in rearing sheep and cattle and the grimier realities of the rural economy.” — David Parkinson, EMPIRE ★★★★