Life in Devon


Fairy Tale film

I love my village. When you move from The Big City to a tiny country town, you'd think life might become just a little dull -- but here in the magical hills of Dartmoor I find myself surrounded by more artists and writers than ever, and there's always something interesting afoot....


Dragon I've written before about the Chagford Filmmaking Group, created by Elizabeth-Jane Baldry as a vehicle for creating fairy tale films and for getting local kids involved in the filmmaking process, both in front of and behind the camera. (Their last film was The Laidley Worm of Spindleston Heugh, in which my stepdaughter played the title role.)

Peerifolk-with-ladle Now they've started work on their biggest project yet: a cinematic retelling of "Sir Lanval," a 12th century tale from the writings of Marie de France. It's all part of the "Shared Legend Project," bringing creative artists from Devon and Brittany together for a cross-borders collaboration...with a few of us Yanks thrown in for good measure. I'm particularly excited by this project because so many of my friends from all three countries are involved, including the American mythologist Ari Berk (who has collaborated on the filmscript with Elizabeth-Jane) and the French folklorist Claudine Glot (head of the Centre de l'Imaginaire Arthurien, organizers of the Breton side of the project).

The little video below is a behind-the-scenes look at the very first shoot for the Sir Lanval film, which took place here in Devon over Hallowe'en weekend. If you'd like to know more about the Chagford Filmmaking group, or to see clips from their other fairy tale films, please visit their website -- where you can donate to the group and help them meet their fundraising goals for this and other projects.

Alongside the film's premier, by the way, there will be a Alan Lee maiden sketchtravelling exhibition of Sir-Lanval-inspired art from twenty artists residing in Devon and France. I don't have the complete artist list to hand, but I'm one of them on the Devon side, as are Brian & Wendy Froud, Alan Lee, and Rima Staines. That's scheduled to happen in the autumn of 2010, and I'll post more info (dates, places, etc.) as it becomes available.


Magic on Film

Dragon-long You may recall my recent post about The Laidley Worm of Spindleston Heugh, the lastest project from the Chagford Filmmaking Group ("A dragon in the neighborhood," August 26). You can now view some charming photos from the film shoot here, on the CFG's website.

Across the ocean in New York, Lisa Stock (InBytheEye Films) has completed production on Brother and Sister, a short film based on my poem of that title, which was in turn based on the German fairy tale. Keep an eye on the Brother and Sister web page for the upcoming New York screening dates.

A dragon in the neighborhood....

Our daughter Victoria is turned into a dragon for the filming of "The Laidley Worm," the latest project from The Chagford Filmmaking Group. She's pictured below in the film's costume workshop, and on set at Castle Drogo with costume designer Laura Mackrill. The photos come from Laura's film shoot album and appear here with permission.






"I desired dragons with a profound desire. Of course, I in my timid body did not wish to have them in the neighborhood  . . . .But the world that contained even the imagination
of Fáfnir was richer and more beautiful, at whatever the cost of peril."
-- J.R.R. Tolkien (from his essay "On Fairy-Stories")

Below: the dragon and her dad on the hills above our village.

Laidley Worm