Suffolk Short film from ‘70s features in Virtual Pub Crawl
Fancy a swift half, but still not keen on going to to the pub? The BFI has curated a collection of short films that celebrates drinking establishments, beer, breweries and pub crawls in general. And this round is on them, because they are all free to watch.
34th most popular Britain on Film title on the BFI Player in 2019.
In One End is one of the featured films. It was made in Suffolk in 1977 by an aspiring young filmmaker. In his first film Luke Jeans, now an Emmy award-winning director, captures the atmosphere of Southwold with evocative scenes of local people at work on sea and land. The film follows the process of harvesting the barley and brewing Adnams ale, traditionally delivered by heavy horses. Stories of the Battle of Sole Bay and the 1953 floods are recalled and recreated.
Ferryman or director?
The Emmy award-winning director is well known in Suffolk. Not just for his work in film and television, but also as one of the team that rows the ferry across the river Blyth between Southwold and Walberswick. A shot from the film shows the family fishing hut, which still stands, and is where we caught up with Jeans at a social distance.
Filmmaking is in his genes (or should that be Jeans, please forgive the pun Luke, we’re sure you’ve heard it all before). His father, Mike Jeans started his career in theatre and moved on to television. He was involved in Anglia TV (ITV) right from the start but was best known for his programme “Pipkins”.
Just before the Second World War the Jeans family established a cinema in a barn on their land in Walberswick, which brought joy to soldiers garrisoned there. If only it was still there, what a great venue it would have been for Suffolk Shorts screenings!
In 1977 Jeans was working as a film editor in London.
“I loved being an editor, but what I really wanted to do was direct and produce.”
The problem was that whenever he went for a directing job the standard request was: show us something that you’ve directed. A real catch 22 situation.
Like so many determined young filmmakers, Jeans decided to self-finance the film. He based it around the local brewery, Adnams in Southwold. He’d spent a week there doing work experience and (when sober) had loved the cinematic quality of the brewing process. As an editor he was used to cutting sequences to music, so he persuaded folk musicians Fairport Convention to collaborate on the film. They wrote original music, based on the town, and its beer and performed in the Harbour Inn for the film.
Multi-award winning cinematographers Jeff Baynes and Nic Knowland (BSC) were co-opted to shoot the film in just five days. They both loved the area and spent summer there, so it wasn’t a hard sell. Like most filmmakers starting out, Jeans pulled in as many favours as he could. The film ended up costing just under £9K, and suddenly he was able to get work as a director.
“In One End was the turning point of my career. It became my calling card as a producer/director and now 43 years later it’s lovely to see it reaching a new audience. But then real ale, Fairport Convention and Suffolk is a bit of an unbeatable combination”
The finished film went on general release as a cinema short in 1977. We think it should be put out there again, it would make a great accompaniment to a Suffolk Short favourite: Bait.