Magazine article Screen International

Sundance London: The Cows Come Home

Magazine article Screen International

Sundance London: The Cows Come Home

Article excerpt

Sundance hit The Moo Man gets a warm welcome at its UK premiere.

Sundance director John Cooper admits he and his programmers didn't expect great things when they started watching a film called The Moo Man. Thankfully, they overcame their trepidations about the title and "fell in love" with the film so much that it made the cut for the World Cinema Documentary Competition at Sundance in January, where it proved to be an audience favourite. By the end of the festival, director Andy Heathcoate estimates his subject, English farmer Steve Hook, was getting stopped on Main Street "every 10 meters."

The genial film follows Hook with the many day-to-day struggles (and few pleasures) of running a small dairy farm with 55 cows. There's birth, death, and the spring stampede. There are some hard facts about the economics of farming, but mostly it's a simple story about one farmer's connection with his cows.

Filmmakers Heathcote and Heike Bachelier spent more than three years at the Hook & Son farm. Co-director Bachelier said after the film's Sunday night screening at Sundance London: "they trusted us and opened up."

Heathcote says: "It was an organic process...initially our attraction was about how they farmed. The more we filmed we realized the relationship between Steve and the animals was what we couldn't lose. …

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