EDEN VALLEY (1994) [Feature]

UK (MIFF 1995 )

Genuinely warm and engaging, Eden Valley exhibits the disarming honesty that has become the hallmark of the Newcastle-on-Tyne-based collective Amber Films (In Fading Light, Dream On, Letters to Katja). Here they turn their unique vision and working style to the communi­ty of harness racing in a drama of an estranged father and son struggling to find a place in each other's lives.

Building a long-term relationship with the community, the Amber collective's collaborative ethos has created a stylistic authenticity that goes beyond simple realism. With Eden Valley their passion for a two-way consultative process included buying their own horse, studying the fundamentals of training and workshopping the film with local participants as well as the profes­sional and non-professional cast for nearly close on twelve months.

The story follows Hoggy, who abandoned his wife and child for a solitary life of living in a cara­van in the country and training his beloved horses. Ten years on, his teenage son Billy (a young hard case from the inner city housing estates in trouble with the law for petty theft and drugs use) is foisted upon him—change of environment being a possible antidote to a prison sentence. The emotional baggage and conflicting urban youth culture values Billy brings with him send shockwaves through Hoggy's world.

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