Video: Model sheep flock to Sheffield for Doc/Fest

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Members of a Pennine sheep-farming family are taking a rare break from the hills for the world premiere of a film about their lives – accompanied by life-size sheep models made from the wool of their flock.

And because the real sheep would not feel at home in the centre of Sheffield, they have donated the wool off their own backs to make sheep stand-ins to accompany the film-makers and farmers, Tom and Kay Hutchinson and their three children on a 24-hour tour around the city centre.

The models are the work of Cumbria designer Julia Knott who washes and processes the natural wool. She even gives them an authentic smit mark – a coloured splash – on their backs to identify the farm they belong to.

The Hutchinsons and their real sheep star 85-minute film Addicted to Sheep, being screened on June 6 and 9 at Sheffield Doc/Fest.

The film captures a year in the life of the farming family who try to breed the perfect Swaledale sheep.

Addicted to Sheep is a contender for the Environmental Award at Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Shot entirely beautiful landscape of Upper Teesdale, it captures the family’s dedicated round-the-clock care of their pedigree Swaledale sheep, the slog and the laugh-out-loud funny and moving moments. It portrays Dales life through the farming children at school, shows and auctions, shearing, lambing, and the interplay of people, animals, landscape and the elements, typical of high fells around the UK and further afield.

Kay and Tom rarely get away from the farm. A short-break for them is usually a day at a sheep show in a different dale, so a film festival is entirely new ground for them. Tom said: “This has all been an amazing experience for us, and we think people from any walk of life, city or country folk, will find the film enjoyable and eye-opening.”

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