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Where the Stone Dropped

Press Release

Documentary about South Gare has US premier at Massachusetts film festival

‘Where the Stone Dropped’, a film about the communities on South Gare, has been officially selected for the Newburyport Film Festival in Massachusetts taking place on 16th & 17th September. The film was made in 2019 by Tees Valley based film production company iandgfilms, with extra work being done in 2020 to include the effects of lockdown. It includes interviews from people who use the Gare; fisherman, sailors, birdwatchers, scuba divers, windsurfers, photographers and those people who visit just to take in the incredible scenery.

South Gare is a man-made peninsula, built in the nineteenth century to accommodate heavy industry. The industry is now gone, leaving a spectacular landscape extending four kilometres into the cold North Sea. Its history includes stories of shipwrecks, German spies and military exercises. Currently it is a haven for migratory birds, a must-visit location for kite-surfers and much more.

The film’s makers, Ian Paine and Graham Williamson collected the stories while working on a shorter film funded by the organisation Groundwork. These stories then grew into a 47min documentary as they found more and more subcultures and hobbyists using the Gare.

Ian Paine said ‘The narrative for the film came from everyone we spoke to, people who knew a lot about its history and wildlife to those who just came down to watch the ships come in. I think local people visit the Gare but perhaps don’t have an idea about its history and just how many groups use the area.’

The film acts as a primer for the subject and covers some of the history of The South Gare, with its origins in the Victorian era and its importance to the growth of the Industrial Revolution, allowing the Tees River to become the life blood of the local economy. Following the area's industrial decline, the film shows how the Gare is still an important part of the local identity. It also offers a timely example for other areas all around the world which are moving on from heavy industry. 

Graham said “The film has done really well on the festival circuit winning awards at the Spotlight Documentary Film Awards (Atlanta Georgia) and 1st Monthly Film Festival (Belgrade) but we’re very happy that Newburyport Film Festival has put the film in its selection, the idea that an audience in the City of Newburyport will be seeing and hearing stories from the communities on South Gare is beautiful and something we couldn’t have dreamed of when we started making the film’

The film makers are no stranger to making films about the area, Ian has been working as a professional filmmaker documenting events such as SIRF since 2007 and has recently been recording the work going on to renovate the Globe Theatre in Stockton. Meanwhile, Graham has been chosen as one of the artists for the MIMA/Tees Valley Film project Blueprint where he will continue his long running work on ideas around common land and folklore.

The filmmakers, through their partnership in iangfilms, are currently working on films about The Teesside Archive and local drama groups in the area. ‘We really want the fantastic reception that we have had for Where the Stone Dropped to act as a kickstarter for further projects about the Tees Valley, there are an abundance of great stories and people to help tell them in the area’

If you can’t make it to the Newburyport in Massachusetts then keep your eyes peeled as Ian and Graham are planning to take the film around the area to give a chance for local people to see it.

Ian said ‘We had originally planned to premier the film at ARC in Stockton but Lockdown put a stop to it, so we’re are looking for local venues to play the film, perhaps including the Gare itself.’

A film that captivates with every shot. Beautiful photography and attention to detail as well a story told with great care.

Jury - 1St Monthly Film Festival


The film has gone from strength to strength and played to a packed house at the Saltburn Film Festival in March 2022 and has been chosen to join the Yorkshire and North East Film Archives