Classic Suffolk village film is saved

Akenfield – Peter Hall's classic film about village life in Suffolk – has been saved for future generations. Earlier this year it was feared that the film would be lost after the last surviving print had become too damaged to be screened.

Akenfield - Peter Hall's classic film about village life in Suffolk - has been saved for future generations.

Earlier this year it was feared that the film would be lost after the last surviving print had become too damaged to be screened.

But now thanks to the BBC, the EADT and Suffolk County Council, producer Rex Pyke has been able to raise the funds necessary to strike a couple of new prints of the classic Suffolk film and secure the first television screening for 30 years.

Speaking exclusively to the EADT Mr Pyke said: “We've now got the go-ahead from the BBC for a screening later in the year.


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“We having a new print struck for the television screening and this will then be used for mastering a DVD which will also be available later on this year.”

He said that a second print of the film, funded by the EADT, will be stored in the East Anglian Film Archive in Norwich. The archive holds feature film, shorts and documentary footage of life in East Anglia from all periods during the last century.

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He said that as part of the deal for screening the film, the BBC will be funding the filming of a 40 minute documentary Akenfield Revisited which will reunite cast and crew on the many locations used in and around Charsfield.

Mr Pyke said: “Sir Peter Hall will be coming up for the day and we are hoping to get as many of the local people who were featured in the film back to record their memories of working on such a ground-breaking film.”

Peggy Cole, EADT columnist and actor in the film, has been busily trying to track down her follow performers for the reunion. She said: “I am absolutely thrilled that we are finally going to get a new print of the film. The remains of the original film was in a shocking state. But what I think is just as exciting is the fact that it is finally going to be on video. I think I get a couple of different inquiries each month about where people can buy the video. Soon I'll be able to tell them.”

She said that Akenfield Revisited will be a wonderful opportunity to catch up with old friends. “I've had a lovely time tracking people down. It's been like a detective story. But the sad thing is that so far I found that 20 people who were in the film have now passed on. It makes you realise how time has gone by.”

Rex Pyke added that they were also looking for a local person, ideally with some film making experience, to act as a production assistant for the film unit shooting the documentary.

“We will be working on a very tight schedule and we need to have someone on the crew who knows how to get from Hoo Church to Debach and back to Charsfield quickly and can make sure that everything on set is ready for filming.”

He said that the paid for position would suit someone who has some film experience and is looking for further credits. He said that the job would start on Monday and that CVs should be emailed to him as soon as possible at pa@akenfield.com

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