Landmark Cumbrian venue first to screen new films about traditional mills

Two new films about traditional wind and watermills are to be given their first screening at the Rheged Centre, Penrith in Cumbria on 1 May 2012, in the run up to National Mills Weekend on 12 and 13 May.

Commissioned by the Traditional Cornmillers Guild, the films were made by Cumbrian company Taskscape Associates, working in association with Media Studies students from the University of Cumbria. The company have an impressive track record in the media business, having worked with the BBC and recently for the Gates Foundation in Africa, on films about food security themes.

Ten mills are featured in the new films including a Dutch mill. Jonathan Cook, Chairman of the Traditional Cornmillers Guild (TCMG) and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) Mills section, said : “ These films show how, alongside the current flurry of media interest in bread and baking, there is an equally powerful resurgence of enthusiasm for Britain’s traditional wind and watermills, and the special stoneground flours that they produce. We play a pivotal role here, providing an important focus in our local communities, and keeping alive one of the world’s oldest rural skills..”

The films were the brainchild of former Traditional Cornmillers Guild Chairman Nick Jones, from Little Salkeld Watermill in Cumbria, and the second mills film is all about this mill. Nick said “The Traditional Cornmillers Guild felt it was important not only to record some of our wonderful mills, but also to explain why they are such an interesting and important part of our national cultural heritage, and to reflect some of the behind the scenes stories about them and the people who are so committed to keeping mill wheels turning now and in the future.” Apart from giving a delightful, beautiful and informative insight into “a day in the life of the watermill”, the Little Salkeld Watermill film also features current owners Ana and Nick Jones reflecting on why mills are so important to our rural economy and heritage, to tourism, to community life, to the production of high quality local food, and to sustainable living.

Claire Logan-Stephens, representing Rheged, part of the Westmorland group of companies, that also runs the award-winning Tebay motorway services on the M6, said : “We are delighted that Rheged is the venue for the first screening of these new films. It’s important to us to support and work with local people and businesses, and this event is part of the strong cultural programme, including films and exhibitions, that we run here.”

Flower and Flour Power, as the evening screening event has been called will take place on Tuesday 1 May and will also see the official opening of the International Garden Photographer of the Year Exhibition in the gallery@rheged. The exhibition opens at 5.30pm, drinks and nibbles at 6.30pm and films will be shown from 7.30pm. Tickets are £5 per person, to book your places call 01768 860019 as the event is strictly RSVP.