Oscar Night 2016 – OVFM’s Got Talent!


O.V.F.M. Oscar Night 15th March 2016

It was a cold and deep, dark, black, Bible black, dark, pitch black night and the wild dogs bayed pitifully at where the moon would have been if it hadn’t been so dark (it was dark…you know…night time, well past 8pm, we don’t muck around at OVFM you know!)  as members from the four corners of the known universe (but mainly Orpington with a few from Kemsing and Otford and the odd pilgrim from afar) gathered together. For this was the time decreed by the wise ones in their lofty towers (the committee!) for the annual gathering of ritual, custom, feasting and celebration that has come to be known as… Oscar Night!

With young and old alike bedecked in breath taking finery of unequalled luxury (or whatever Oxfam had on special offer)  and with much mirth and high spirits in evidence amongst the assembled masses as they, who numbered near thirty souls, embraced the generous distribution of laurels to the good and the deserving with great cheering and rejoicing until at the time of feasting they partook enthusiastically of cake and refreshment.


Breathless with anticipation.
Breathless with anticipation.

To read the names that have been scribed for all eternity (or until the Cloud crashes) scroll down.

And if your own name be absent…then weep long and hard, search your heart well and vow to return with many filmic offerings at the next Day Of The Oscars.

Competitions which took place in 2015

The Vic Treen Trophy – (Best film with Images cut to Music)

Winner is ”Autumn” by Jane Oliver

David presents Jane with the Vic Treen Trophy
David presents Jane with the Vic Treen Trophy

Mike Turner Plate – Best film under 1 minute)

Winner is –“The Biter Bit“ by Colin Jones

Freddy gives Colin the Mike Turner Plate
Freddy gives Colin the Mike Turner Plate

Kath Jones Cup – Best Joke Film

Winner is – “Commute” by Barbara Walker

Colin presents Barbara with the Kath Jones Cup
Colin presents Barbara with the Kath Jones Cup

Top Ten Trophy

Winner is – “Commute” by Barbara Walker

Barbara wins the Top Ten Trophy, Brenda presents
Barbara wins the Top Ten Trophy, Brenda presents

Runner up –“Table Top Whimsey” by John Bunce

Brenda presents John with Top Ten Runner Up certificate
Brenda presents John with Top Ten Runner Up certificate


Arthur Woolhead Trophy – Best Animation or Visual Effects

Winner is – “Table Top Whimsey” by John Bunce

Craig presents John with the Arthur Woolhead Trophy
Craig presents John with the Arthur Woolhead Trophy

Jubilee Shield – Best film under 5 minutes

Winner is “Bee Movie” by Hugh Darrington

Basil presents Hugh with the Jubilee Shield
Basil presents Hugh with the Jubilee Shield

Priory Trophy – Best Editing

Winner is “ Backlight revisited” by Reg Lancaster

Reg receives the Priory Trophy from Andy
Reg receives the Priory Trophy from Andy

Rene Morris Penguin Plate – Best Photography

Winner is – “Yellowstone” by Brain Pfeiffer

Roger gives Brian the Rene Morris Penguin Plate
Roger gives Brian the Rene Morris Penguin Plate

Heyfield Cup – Best Sound

Winner is – “Garden Visitors” by John Bunce

Lee gives John the Heyfield Cup
Lee gives John the Heyfield Cup

Reg Lancaster Trophy – Funniest Film

Winner is – “Commute” by Barbara Walker

Barbara receives the Reg Lancaster Trophy from Reg himself
Barbara receives the Reg Lancaster Trophy from Reg himself

Raasay Trophy – Best film in no Special category)

Winner is -“The Quest for Modingahema” by Pat Palmer

Annabelle presents Pat with the Raasay Trophy
Annabelle presents Pat with the Raasay Trophy

Vincent Pons Shield – Best Fiction

Winner is – “Dustin’ Time” by Mike Shaw

Mike receives the Vincent Pons Shield from Jane
Mike receives the Vincent Pons Shield from Jane

Alice Howe Cup – Best Documentry

Winner is –“ Leafcutter Ants“ by David Laker

Anna presents David with the Alice Howe Cup
Anna presents David with the Alice Howe Cup

Orpington Trophy – Runner up to Best Film in the Annual Competition

Winner is -“Make over at St Martin’s” by Hugh Darrington

Sam presents Hugh with the Orpington Trophy
Sam presents Hugh with the Orpington Trophy

Ian Dunbar Cup – Best film in the Annual Competition

Winner is –“ The Making of a Liberty Bell replica ” by Barbara Darby

Barbara receives the Ian Dunbar Cup from Simon
Barbara receives the Ian Dunbar Cup from Simon

In all seriousness a HUGE thanks to our very own toast of the trophies and countess of the certificates, the one and only Brenda our fabulous competitions secretary. It is all her hard work on Oscar Night, but also throughout the year, that makes the event so successful. Thanks Brenda, and also thanks to your deputy Roger, who is without doubt your rock, your right hand man, Robin to your Batman, yin to your yang, and Sonny to your Cher (oh actually maybe not!), Tom to your Jerry? Peters to your Lee!! Ummm well you get the picture!

And while I’m at it Big Thanks to the Super Duper Lovely Peggy, our refreshments manager, Wonderful Slovely Andy, our head of projection, Fantastic Fly girl Freddy, our executive in charge of biodynamics, and all the lieutenants and deputies, contributors, competitors, collaborators and consumers who made Oscar Night 2016 go with a bang.

ps. I think you’ll agree that this year I’ve really perfected my ‘startled bunny caught in the headlights’ style of grip and grin photography!

See you again next year and we’ll do it all again…pps Bring a torch it might be dark, really dark, I mean dark man…


To the Victors The Spoils!
To the Victors The Spoils!


North v South Competition 2015 Report & Results

North v South Competition Grand Final.

6th December 2015, Farnborough Village Hall, Farnborough, Kent.
3pm – 7.30pm

This years event was tinged with sadness as we remembered Mike Coad, the Orpington Video and Film Makers member and keen champion and organizer of the North v South Competition in the south. His sudden and unexpected death left us shocked and floundering in the run up to the Grand Final as he had always taken complete control of the organization and arrangements. However OVFM and friends rallied round and with the assistance of Jo, his beloved wife, we were able to assemble the pieces of the puzzle and go ahead with the event. Throughout the process Jo showed amazing courage as she not only coped with grief and the practicalities of arranging the funeral but helped us along every step of the way. She, as the rest of us, was determined to make the event one that Mike would have been proud of.

Mike Coad

With an audience of nearly seventy and with representatives from clubs all around the south the atmosphere in the cosy village hall was warm, friendly and filled with anticipation! Every effort was made to follow Mike Coad’s format and as was his custom we showed all of the twenty-one films entered into the competition. A consequence of this was the three hours plus of screening time alone! But the great variety of films shown and the sheer quality of many of them meant that the time flew by as the audience enjoyed a feast of entertainment.

With a break at half time for refreshments the buzz in the hall was one of genuine excitement at the prospect of who would take this year’s winners’ trophy. Throughout the event Mike Coad’s presence was palpable and also physical as Jo, his wife, had framed a wonderful photograph of him that she had titled ‘King Of North v South’, and which was put in pride of place beside the screen.

Keeping with Mike’s own strict procedure only one or two people knew the results until they were announced by the m/c OVFM vice-chairman Sam Brown at the very end. There was a hint of disappointment that the North had won the John Wright Trophy again but a general feeling amongst the audience that ‘Energy Crisis’ by Chesterfield Film Makers was a fine and worthy winner. Great pride in the south and especially the Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers’ camp that two of their films (‘The Letter’ and ‘The Shout’) were joint winners of the Harry Adams Trophy, representatives of the club were delighted to be presented the trophy by Jo Coad.

Special thanks to Andy Watson, projectionist, Peggy Parmenter & team (including Jo Coad) for the refreshments, Ron Parmenter doorman, Sam Brown master of ceremonies, Freddy Beard, liaison and communication, Brenda Wheatley raffle, Ian Menage for sorting out the digital copies, Tony Johnson southern heat judge (at very short notice!), everyone who pulled together to make the event the success it was, and all the clubs who supported the competition by entering films and by attending the event.

The Results
1st – Chesterfield Film Makers – Energy Crisis
=2nd – Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers – The Shout
=2nd – Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers – The Letter
=4th – Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers – Out of the Past
=4th – Chesterfield Film Makers – May the Farce Be With You
=4th – Warrington Film Makers – Continuation
7th – AVS – Broken Promise
8th – Coast Video Club – One-UpManShip
9th – OVFM (Bob Vine) – Broken
10th – WAVE Video Club – Getting Old

Congratulations to Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers for doing so well for the South by picking up the Harry Adams Trophy for runner-up. Also well done to Bob Vine for getting into the top ten with ‘Broken’.

Next year’s theme is ‘Out of the blue’. However the future is uncertain as we have no one yet to organize the competition in the south. Step forward if it’s something YOU could take on!

Colin’s Golden Touch

Colin and fellow OVFMers, family and friends
Click on to enlarge

Colin Celebrates Fifty Years with OVFM.

Fresh from his success leading the August OVFM ramble around Penshurst, the ever dynamic Colin Jones accepted an invitation to share his film making memories at a recent club meeting.

‘An Evening With Colin Jones’ was entertaining, informative and thoroughly good fun. Amongst the films shown were great examples of the documentary, drama and comedy genres that Colin has made during the fifty years he’s been associated with the Orpington Video and Film Makers’ club.

Ever enthusiastic about film making Colin still seizes every opportunity to explore new cinematic styles and ideas and to experiment in new and ever more creative techniques. Colin held club members enthralled with his anecdotes and humorous descriptions of his experiences in the world of amateur film making, experiences that date back to the steam radio days of proper cine film and reel to reel tape recorders!

For those of us only familiar with the modern digital video format the sheer skill and discipline required to shoot on cine film is quite breath-taking and the resultant efforts humbling to view.

Amongst the fascinating films Colin treated the packed audience of fellow club members, friends and family to, were several period pieces that clearly showed how much Petts Wood and Orpington has changed in the last few decades. Thanks to Colin and other club members we have a record of this transformation preserved forever in our archive.

a013Attendees at the OVFM Spring and Autumn public shows will know Colin’s work well as his films are frequently included in the programme.

Thanks for a great evening Colin, thanks for the memories and thanks for all the films…keep up the good work!

Obviously a golden anniversary like this couldn’t go unmarked so thanks to club member Peter a suitably inscribed cake was respectfully proffered, mathematically divided and eagerly consumed!


‘Deception’ the background story

OVFM is an eclectic mix of people of all ages, abilities and interests and consequently the films made by OVFM members reflect that variety.

Two relative youngsters associated with OVFM are Vice-chairman Sam Brown and his friend and colleague Adam Beveridge. The two of them have collaborated on many projects and have received well deserved critical acclaim for their work.

Their period thriller ‘Deception’ was one of Adam and Sam’s first feature length films. Involving location shoots, costumes, authentic props and special effects it is undoubtedly a work of great talent.

Scroll through the images to read about ‘Deception’ in Adam and Sam’s own words and to see photos from the shoot at the amazing Chatham Historic Dockyard. You may recognize the warehouse building as it has been used in several big budget movies.

Simon Earwicker

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It’s Selfie Time at the OVFM Oscars!

We may not have been at our usual venue and we may have been down on numbers due to health reasons but were we downhearted? Take a look at the photos and you can decide as in a departure from the norm club members were asked to take their own presentation photos – or ‘Selfies’ as I believe the youngsters say!

John and Colin
John is presented with the Kath Jones Cup by Colin for his film ‘Par for the Course’
Mike and David
David makes the presentation of the Vic Treen Trophy to Mike for the best film cut to music
Mike and Brenda
Competition Secretary Brenda awards Mike the Top Ten Trophy for his film ‘Illusions’
With all due solemnity John accepts the Vincent Pons Shield from Mike on behalf of Bob V, awarded to ‘Census’ for best fiction
Richard and Jess stand in for Reg who was awarded the Alice Howe Cup for the best documentary for his film ‘Lakeside Weekend’


Ian presents Hugh with the Reg Lancaster Trophy


Simon accepts the Arthur Woolhead Trophy from Tony on behalf of John and Ann


Jim accepts the Jubilee Shield for the best film under five minutes from Malcolm


Pat presents Barbara with the Priory Trophy for her film ‘The Bells of St. Bartholomews’


Jim accepts the Rene Morris Penguin Plate from John


Simon accepts the Heyfield Cup from Lee on behalf of Bob V for his film ‘Census’
Mike again! This time it’s Marian doing the honours


Winner Colin with James Bond-alike Roger


Roger presents winner David this time. Got to love those bow-ties!


Charlie presents Mike and Jo with their Highly Commended Certificate for ‘Hamilton Landscapes’


And the Oscar for the best competitions secretary goes to…Brenda, Freddy records the moment for posterity


All the winners who made it on the night. Well done one and all


Super Challenge – A Film In An Evening

One evening, two teams, a brace of video cameras, a heap of props, and a bunch of ideas.
Your challenge, should you accept it, is to…make a short film!

The Lad with the Lamp!
The Lad with the Lamp!
Fear Stalks OVFM
Fear Stalks OVFM

With a maximum of two hours available and the clock already ticking the pressure was on and there was no time for the normal club niceties…except who wants tea and who wants coffee? And oh yes should we open another packet of custard creams or will the rich teas, jammy dodgers and chocolate digestives suffice? A point of order was raised on the unsuitabilty of custard creams as a dunking biscuit. A heated debate ensued but after twenty minutes it was agreed by a small majority that the packet would be opened but the dunkers in the party were welcome to select an alternative biscuit for their own needs. Phew! With that delicate matter resolved it was down to business.

Reg Loves A Red Head
Reg Loves A Red Head
Misery Thy Name Is Waiting Room
Misery Thy Name Is Waiting Room

With little over ninety minutes remaining the pressure was REALLY on now (it’s exciting isn’t it!) and doubts were raised on the wisdom of the challenge by a rogue group of dissenters. ‘Not enough time’ they chorused (in four part harmony and with surprizing tunefulness. Mmm, me thinks, perhaps at long last the time has come to form the OVFM Choral Ensemble and realize my ambition of having the only world class singing amateur film making club in the South East. Oh how I’ve dreamed of that moment!

'Where Did You Get Those Hats where did you get those hats?'
‘Where Did You Get Those Hats where did you get those hats?’

Where was I? Oh yes time is ticking. And with the dissenters put in a sound proof room with nothing but a piano, a stack of sheet music and a pot noodle for company it was on with the challenge.

'And This is how you do the Mashed Potato'
‘And This is how you do the Mashed Potato’
Give Us A Hand!
Give Us A Hand!

First to the brainstorming and after an intense session involving flip charts and Powerpoint it was decided that the first team would be called A and the second B. Some voices were heard to mumble that this archaic nomeclature smacked of inequality, and suggested both teams be known as A, but they were silenced on threat of being thrown to the choir, that soon shut them up! And so it was Team A and Team B were formed and dispersed to their respective studios.

Are YOU the Stig?
Are YOU the Stig?

With sixty solid minutes of hard graft under their belts everyone was gagging for a brew so we took a refreshment break, during which the conversation naturally turned to how nice it was to belong to a club that really does things.

Moving Pictures! What will they think of next?
Moving Pictures! What will they think of next?

Thirty minutes later we all got down to business, again, and a good seven minutes of full on film making took place, including six minutes discussion on exactly who should direct and whether Alfred Hitchcock appeared in ALL his movies or only some. Before the question could be resolved or a re-take staged, proceedings had to be reluctantly brought to a conclusion as time was sadly up and the mountain of unused props and equipment had to be packed away.

As the weary gaggle of club members wended their way home there was a palpable air of satisfaction for a job well done and a highly productive evening.
‘I do believe’ I heard one say ‘We must have at least 17 seconds of footage in the can. That must surely be a record.’

And what of these “films”? Well as Chairman I make a solemn vow that they will be banished to the OVFM vault where they will forever remain locked away from view…or maybe they’ll get shown at the next meeting, whatever!

Simon (make mine a chocolate digestive) Earwicker

Lighting Tips & Terms

Lighting Tips & Terms


For those of you who wanted a recap of the first part of the first Coaching Evening of 2014, here it is.


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Three important things to consider about light

1. Quality
2. Direction
3. Colour


1. Quality – Is it hard or soft (contrasty or diffuse), strong or weak (quantity), dappled, harsh.

2. Direction – where is it coming from, how is it hitting our subject, does it illuminate the areas we want? Do we need to move the subject to make more of the available light? Are there catchlights in the eyes? Are there ugly shadows across the subject?

3. Colour – most light is not pure white. It is generally tinted by the environment or by the time of day. Does the hue enhance or detract from the mood you’re creating? Do you need to colour balance your camera to create a neutral or more pleasing effect?



1. Quality – whether inside a studio or on location we should use light to make our films better. Light should be considered as more than just that mysterious stuff we need enough of to film by.


Light is the ingredient of film making that can say as much as any narrative. Light is part of the language of film making. It should be used carefully and thoughtfully with regard to the effect you wish to achieve.

Film Noir – Shadows, suspense, danger. Lots of dark and deep shadow.
Modern adverts – backlit by sunshine, flare to soften image and reduce contrast, yellow tinted light to add warmth, nice, positive, upbeat.

Eg. A strongly directional and high contrast light source (like a spotlight or the sun) throws deep shadows that can be used for graphic effect or to literally highlight an element within your scene. Be aware that if you expose correctly for the highlights (normal practice) the shadows will be impenetrable to the camera. Details will be hidden in the darkness unless fill-in is used to reduce the contrast.


Hard light – more masculine – shows every rugged feature or flaw
Soft light – more feminine – softens and flatters


The size of the light source has an effect on contrast. A point light source like the midday sun or a spotlight (focussed light) produces shadows with well defined edges.

A soft box or a cloudy / overcast day produces shadows with very soft edges or even hardly any shadow at all.
Beware of the ‘panda eyes’ effect. Eye sockets in shadow because the light is coming from above. Fill in is needed or the subject should be moved in OPEN SHADE (under something so that light is coming horizontally and not vertically.



2. Direction. The direction of the light in relation to the subject has a huge influence on the ‘look’ and feel of the film.


Back light – creates a ‘romantic’ soft look. The front of subject is lit by diffuse light.

Side light – brings out shape of subject, emphasizes texture. Brings out qualities of ‘strength’ etc.

Up light – unnatural, weird, makes things look strange. Often used in horror genre because it unsettles.


Modifying The Light

Available or ambient light is the name given to light that we have not introduced ourselves. It can refer to artificial (man made, as in an office which is lit by neon tubes) as well as natural (the sun, the light through a window).
But even with available light there is a lot we can do to modify it to our requirements:

Reflectors – used to bounce light, reduce contrast, add catchlights

Gobos – place between light source and subject to throw shadow patterns, can be something as simple as a hand with outstretched fingers.

Flags – Something like a piece of black card used to block light. Eg placed between light source and subject to shade on particular area for effect, like the hands or eyes.

Mirror – can be used to send shafts of light into dark areas of the scene, or add an accent of light to subject, generally not very subtle

Diffuser – translucent material placed between light source and subject to soften harsh light. Net curtain, tracing paper, cotton etc. It’s colour will affect colour of light so should be neutral eg white.


Fall-off. The way the intensity of light reduces the further the subject is from the light source. This doesn’t apply to the direct sun – as it’s already 90 million miles away a few feet forward and back doesn’t make any difference – BUT if the light source is a window or open shade, fall-off occurs and is subject to the inverse square law (in other words if you move the subject twice as far from the light source the light will be 1/4 of the intensity. Move the subject four times the distance away the intensity will be 1/16th. Watch your exposure)


Use umbrellas, parasols, brimmed hats to throw subject into shadow.



3. Colour. The power of colour to change the way we feel about a character, or perceive a given scene, should not be underestimated.

One important role of the COLOURIST in film making is to use their knowledge of the psychology of colour to realize the vision of the director.

a. Enhances the mood, emotion of a scene
b. Colour balance to match shots or create neutral look. Remember that as you move from the shade of a tree to direct sunlight and then to backlight the colour temperature of the light striking your subject will change – from green to neutral to blue.

The auto white balance facility of your camera will correct but will also be influenced by the colour of the subject, and may even change during a scene and can not be relied on 100% for critical work.

Use a white or neutral grey card or substitute to set a custom white balance for best results, or use the camera’s white balance presets (find them in the menu), like Sunny, Cloud, Tungsten, Florescent etc.

These presets can also be used to intentionally introduce a hue into your film. Film in daylight with camera set to ‘Tungsten’ and the result will be blue tinted.

Film under neon lights with the camera set to ‘Daylight’ and the result will have a green tint.


If you want to produce a ‘day for night’ effect when you are filming outside during the day underexpose and set the camera’s white balance to ‘Tungsten’. This will result in dark shadows and a nocturnal blue tint to the film.


BLUE tint for cool, cold, hard, night look.
RED danger, warning, alarm, unnatural
ORANGE / YELLOW sunrise, sunset, warm, romantic, friendly, positive
GREEN cool, aloof, unflattering, florescent green for austere look, cell like, all vestige of warmth removed. Unfriendly, negative.



Try out different lighting effects by moving subject in relation to light source. Why not have ago yourself?

Simon Earwicker

OVFM, Amateur Film Making For All

Directing The Talent
Directing The Talent

Orpington Video and Film Makers, or OVFM for short, is a friendly amateur film making club in the Orpington area. OVFM members make dramas, documentaries, comedies and experimental films.

OVFM has a large membership of all ages and abilities and can number amongst its ranks experienced award winning film makers and complete novices.

OVFM club film
OVFM club film

By its comprehensive programme of competitions, projects, club films and fun evenings OVFM actively encourages the members to get involved and to turn their own creations into films they’d be proud to show.

Orpington Video and Fim Makers are a club with a long history and is renowned for being a great place to improve your film making skills. The friendly members are helpful and enthusiastic and only to happy to share their knowledge and experience.

Amateur club film
Amateur club film

The regular club meetings are a mix of the social and the practical, with opportunities to show films, discuss film making and learn about technique.

To help newcomers to amateur film making OVFM runs coaching evenings. These evenings focus on the skills needed to make the best of your camcorder or equipment in general. Sound recording, lighting, editing and camera control are all covered as well as touching on the broader subjects of script writing, directing, and the multitude of skills necessary for a successful amateur film.

Crew Portrait
Crew Portrait

If you want to turn your shaky and ponderous video efforts into entertaining, informative and even exciting films why not come along and join us. We would love to see you.

Guest Speaker – Tim Jones


Let me tell you, if you missed our guest speaker Tim Jones, you have my sympathy, because you missed a real treat!

Tim is a Senior Lecturer at Christ Church College Canterbury in the Film and TV Dept. but more importantly than that he has a long association with OVFM. He was just twelve years old when first permitted to attend the club with Dad Colin. He rapidly became a fixture, not only making his own prize winning films but acting in club films too.

Tim’s informative and entertaining talk kicked off with some wonderful old clips of the club, ‘Meet the Members’, with a very youthful Colin, ‘The Making of Jumble Sale’, with a fascinating behind the scenes glimpse at the club in action, and then a snippet from ‘Jumble Sale’ itself showing Tim as a boy in his Star Trek outfit, height of fashion at the time I believe!

Tim remembered with fondness a regular club competition that involved in-camera editing and just one roll of cine film. The film maker didn’t see the results of his labours until it was shown at the club meeting. Talk about challenging! One film that particularly inspired Tim was a time lapse movie made by his dad of sky and clouds set to classical music. We watched Colin’s original ‘Skies’ and then a bang up to date film by Tim called ‘Night Garden’. Filmed over three years using a dSLR camera, long exposures and time lapse techniques. The resulting video was absolutely beautiful, with ethereal clouds racing across the star studded night sky, and plants twisting and turning in the foreground. Tim explained that as the camera was left trained at the sky for up to six hours at a time his main problem was condensation forming on the lens.

After a lively tea break, with Tim expertly fielding our numerous questions, we continued to the second part of the evening.

I think it’s fair to say that Tim is passionate about amateur film making and amateur film makers. Over the years he has devoted himself to seeking out and preserving the precious cine films made by amateurs in and around the Canterbury area. In his quest he has discovered a genuine treasure trove of historically important, socially fascinating and artistically significant footage.

Inevitably Tim’s own film making took a back seat for a while. The stories of the personalities he’d discovered desperately needed to be told though, so as soon as he had the time Tim started work on a documentary. Actually not ONE documentary but THREE about amateur film makers in the Canterbury area…simultaneously!

First we saw a clip from ‘Seeking Sidney’, about Sydney Bligh an amateur film maker from the 1920s and ’30s. Tim’s documentary features Helen, Sydney’s grand-daughter, as she goes on a journey to discover more about the man she never met. Part of the legacy of 16mm film that Sydney left behind is some unique footage of Count Zboroski. He was a racing driver who built the original Chiity Chitty Bang Bang, the car that Ian Fleming later used for inspiration for his story. Shortly before the Count died in 1924, in the Italian Grand Prix, he had a narrow gauge railway built around his estate. Sydney Bligh’s film of this railway is the only record of it that exists.

Tim showed us a clip from ‘Crooked Billet’ a 1930s film drama made by the Canterbury Cine Club, which Sydney was a member of. The club built it’s own large studio and its own sets and spared no expense in making the best amateur films it could.

The second of Tim’s documentaries, ‘CACS Film Unit’, features two members of the Canterbury Amateur Cine Society remembering the fun they had in their club in the 1950s. The old clips of Canterbury are absolutely fascinating as well as historic, and the enthusiasm of the two men for the club that was a big part of their lives is plain to see.

The third film is ‘Peter Watkins’. This name may be familiar to some as he is a film maker of high regard. Having started out as an amateur in the Canterbury area he went on to travel the world and make important films where ever he went, in fact he is still making films. When approached by Tim about the documentary he wished to make Peter Watkins was positive and encouraging…but with a couple of conditions! No, he wouldn’t be interviewed and no, he wouldn’t allow any clips from his films to be used! Never-the-less, going by the excerpt that we were shown, Tim has used his imagination and skill to produce a revealing and highly entertaining documentary that tells the story of a very special film maker.

In the excerpt we saw crew and actors talking about ‘Dust Fever’, a Western, filmed in a sandpit in Kent. The only copy of this film was sadly stolen and all that remains are black and white stills and Super8 cine filmed by the crew.

Films by Peter Watkins that you may know or have heard of are ‘The War Game’, about nuclear war, which the Government of the time put pressure on the BBC not to show it for many years. And ‘The Forgotten Faces’, about the Hungarian Revolution, which you can see on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtiZFnrOnrc).

With the evening at an end Tim had one last message for us, to record the memories of our club members for posterity and it’s faces and activities too. After all who knows when someone like Tim might want to make a documentary about US!

Thanks Tim for a very inspiring evening. I hope you’ll come back and keep us updated.

Sunshine, Showers, Slopes and a…SPITFIRE!

A Fuzzy blow-up of a Fabulous Flying Machine
A Fuzzy blow-up of a Fabulous Flying Machine


Sunshine, Showers, Slopes and a…SPITFIRE!

With ingredients like that the dish de jour must be the OVFM Ramble!

The gang gathered early and there was a palpable enthusiasm to get on and conquer what we would later call ‘The North Face of Shoreham Hill’. But for now we were blissully ignorant of the trial ahead and we set off with a spring in our step and a wag of our collective tails…energetically led away by Teddy the dog.

The weather was lovely and the company lovelier as we strolled through glade and cross meadow with the picturesque vista of the downs before us. Deborah led the naturalists (no! I don’t mean those who undress in public!) in a hunt for butterflies while the rest of us put the world to rights and enjoyed the entertaining antics of our four legged companion.


Just SOME of the butterflies spotted and photographed by Deborah
Just SOME of the butterflies spotted and photographed by Deborah

But then the hill struck! With the first flight of rough and steep steps stretching out before us, seemingly into the sky, the ramble claimed it first victims and we reluctantly bid farewell to two of our party.

Our Four Legged Friend Andy
Our Four Legged Friend Andy


Be Careful You Don't Step on any Nature!
Be Careful You Don’t Step on any Nature!


A Real Teddy Boy
A Real Teddy Boy

As for the rest of us we soldiered on. Clamp-ons were not needed…but only just, and by hook and by crook we muscled our way to the top. The climb was worth it (yes it was!) as the view from the top of the Darenth Valley was breathtaking (or was it that I was still out of breath!)




We dallied awhile at the chalk cross and took in the scenery. The chalk cross was created in 1920 as a memorial to the local men killed in action during the First World War. Naturally our thoughts turned to war and the conversation of those old enough to childhood memories of the Second World War, bombing raids, doodle-bugs, rationing, evacuation and all the experiences and feelings associated with that time of turmoil.



Rested and eager to reach our goal we set off downhill and into Shoreham Village, following the bank of the River Darent along by the old mill and behind the charming cottages with their tiny gardens that seem to dabble their toes in the cool water of the river. An angler we passed boasted proudly of the multitude of different fish he caught in that river but we spotted nothing but the odd leaf floating by.

Arrival at the pub meant time to break for refreshment. With a plan hatched to lunch and relax and then meet-up for afternoon tea in the Church we went our separate ways.


The churchyard offers a great place to sit and from certain angles you can spy the chalk cross on the hill where we had been just a short time before. It’s a lovely view even when the storm clouds gathered ominously overhead. Fortunately the downpour, the torrential downpour, occurred while we were safe and dry inside the church enjoying our cakes, scones and tea…thanks ladies of Shoreham Village!


Eventually we had to admit that we couldn’t eat anymore and that we must reluctantly take the bit between our teeth and begin the return journey. As we began the Shoreham Hill climb our ears pricked at the sound of an aeroplane, a very special aeroplane, and as we gazed up in wonder a beautiful Spitfire executed a turn in the blue sky above our heads! The sound was fabulous, and the sight of the sun glinting on it’s propeller a perfect picture. What a great climax to our ramble! The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight had been at an event at Biggin Hill over the weekend so it seems likely that this lone time traveller from seventy odd years ago was part of that party.




With our spirits lifted we were given wings of our own and practically flew up the hill with Brenda at the head of our formation. Even the sun shone down on us to speed our way. Actually it was hard work tramping back…the hill definitely seems steeper since the last time! But we did eventually make it. Well done all.

To the OVFM Ramblers, I salute you!