New film debuts at arts festival

THE uplifting friendship of two of Masham’s oldest residents has been featured in a new film which has debuted at the town’s arts festival.

Betty and Dorothy – about Betty Fawbert and Dorothy Kibbat – was screened along with films from Ashley Dean and Leeds Animation at the town hall on Tuesday to an audience of almost 150 people.

The film was commissioned for the festival and was the brainchild of local artist Ian Scott Massie.

It was animated by pupils at Kell Bank Primary School in Healey and produced by award-winning animator David Bunting, whose credits include storyboarding on Shaun the Sheep for Aardman Animations and producing Channel 4’s The Astronomer’s Sun.

Ian, who taught the pupils how to paint in watercolour, said: “We’re so pleased at the way this film has turned out. It’s been a massive collaboration between so many people – pupils at the school, David Bunting, artist Simon Palmer, Ian Whittaker, Dorothy Kibbat, Betty Fawbert and many others.

“It just builds on the success of this year’s festival – we were a little worried that in this economic climate it would be tough but we’ve been delighted at the high-level of ticket sales, increased number of people who’ve got involved and participated and by the amazing number of fantastic artworks we’ve sold.”

Headteacher Kathleen Allison said the children had gained a lot from the experience. “Listening to and working in depth with Betty and Dorothy’s story, they have learnt to appreciate how the events of the 20th century have affected real people in their local area,” she said.

“The animation experience has given the children the opportunity to develop a wide-range of skills – not only the obvious drawing, construction and design – but also problem solving, communication and teamwork.

“In addition the privilege of being able to work so closely with professionals has inspired our pupils to produce work of a high quality. It has certainly been hard work but everyone has enjoyed it tremendously.”

Animator David Bunting and Kell Bank school have previously collaborated on another film, Leeds Pals, which commemorates the 750 people from the Leeds regiment who died during World War One.