COLUMN: Film project will document town’s ‘rich history’

NBENBE120319c2, local writer George gunby launching a short play festival, Belper.
NBENBE120319c2, local writer George gunby launching a short play festival, Belper.

By George Gunby

Belper Arts Festival Organiser

Do you have cine film at home? You know what I mean. The footage you took at your sister’s wedding or the images you shot on holiday – anything at all connected to Belper.

Maybe it’s all tucked away in the loft or the garage. Maybe you have reels boxed up at the back of the shed. Wherever they are it’s time to dig them out.

Why? Past Lives is a project that takes amateur film footage, photographs, oral history and local music and weds them into a cohesive entity that ends with a grand finale consisting of specially written music that is played live to the film produced using local footage.

The Midlands in general and Bolsover in particular have enjoyed the Past Lives Project. Mansfield, Ironbridge and Ilkeston are involved in future Past Lives films and performances. Now the creators of the Past Lives Project, visual artist Tony Hatton and musician Dave Sturt, want to bring their home town into the Past Lives fold.

“We’ve been itching to work on a Belper Past Lives and the Arts Festival has given us the push we needed,” said Tony. “It’s a great town with such a rich history. It’s perfect for Past Lives.

“The intention is to gather footage and information over the next few months with a view to having the film ready for a performance with live music by May 2015.

“It will be a major feature of the Arts Festival,” said Dave. So this article is a call out to anyone in Belper who has home movies, photographs, music and history.

A year may seem a long time but it will fly by, especially when each reel of film has to be looked at and, if used, digitised and then edited.

Please contact us as soon as possible.

To contact Past Live Project visit; email or email Tony Hatton at or Dave Sturt via

Belper Arts festival organiser George Gunby is available on or by telephone on 07845 400914.

Past Lives Project tour is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England.

The project is partnered with archives and museums across the region to support and create local archives.

A digital archive of the project including films, photos and oral history will be available online.