Kind Of A Big Deal

At Northampton Film Festival we believe Northamptonshire is kind of a big deal.

Creative Industries

We have a wealth of brilliant creative individuals and businesses. We’d like to play our part in helping galvanise the sector to make it even more impactful. Please complete our very short survey here. Thanks to Northamptonshire Community Foundation for supporting the initiative.

Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025

The World Cup is coming to West Northants in 2025 and we were tasked by West Northamptonshire Council to produce a trailer for it. We worked with young people from the Bee Hive Special Educational Needs College to produce this:

Northamptonshire Women

We celebrated local women past and present with our ‘Inspiring Women’ event at Delapre Abbey to open NFF 2024. These are some of the women we featured: Maureen Colquhoun, MP for Northampton North and the first openly lesbian MP. Melinda Gebbie, celebrated Comix/Artist/Sculptor/Writer. Nathalie McGloin, the only female tetraplegic racing driver in the world. Violet Gibson, the woman who attempted to assassinate Mussolini. Sophie Turner, actress from Northampton whose credits including Game of Thrones. Margaret Bondfield, the Northampton MP and women’s rights activist who was the first female cabinet minister, and the first woman to be a privy counsellor in the UK. Anne Fine, the second Children’s Laureate and a distinguished prize-winning writer for children of all ages including Madame Doubtfire. Caroline Chisholm, a pioneering humanitarian from Northampton who fought to improve conditions for immigrant women and families. Pat McGrath, “the world’s most celebrated editorial and runway makeup artist.” Maisie Summers-Newton, double Paralympic champion. Joan Wake who saved Delapre Abbey from demolition. V V Brown, Musician, Artist, Mother, Activist, Writer and Board Member of The Ivor’s Academy. Rose Scott, anti-poverty campaigner, supporter of adult suffrage, and Northampton’s first female councillor. Anita Neil, Team GB’s first female black Olympian.

Northants is a county of Rebels and Revolutionaries, Misfits and Mavericks, Creatives and Changemakers.

Back in 2023 we asked the Northants public to join us in creating a manifesto film to capture the county’s unique spirit. Over 120 volunteers got involved, thanks to the support of Northamptonshire Community Foundation, and this is what we made.

Who and what can you spot which makes Northants kind of a big deal? (Don’t worry there’s notes below!)

Northamptonshire: The County Of Spires and Squires – not heard that before? Northamptonshire: Why this county of spires and squires is more than just a backdrop to the M1 (countrylife.co.uk)

The film features the words of poet John Clare and historian Mike Ingram, and the voices of Writer Alan Moore and Broadcaster John Griff, with some brilliant footage donated by the Northamptonshire public plus archive from Tony Smith and The Northamptonshire Film Archive Trust based at Chester House.

You will see the wonderful Stoke Bruerne, archive of the infamous Wellingborough Zoo (is that a lion I see in that pub?!), the Corby Cube housing the Corby Core theatre with the Corby Steelworker statue outside, and Kettering’s Wicksteed Park which opened in 1921, making it the oldest theme park on UK mainland.

Also featured is Northampton’s Lift Tower, the UK’s tallest research and testing tower, the knight statues marking the site of Northampton Castle and Lyveden New Bield, an unfinished building serving as a poignant example of one man standing up for his beliefs in dangerous times, through an act of quiet and creative rebellion.

We included Viking vs English Civil War re-enactors as a nod to the many pivotal battles fought on Northamptonshire soil. We also made a nod to Northampton’s Super Gran who wouldn’t stand by and watch bad things just happen. We think there are many brilliant people in Northamptonshire that embody this amazing spirit and we salute you all. Then we came bang up to date with Europe’s largest urban sports venue, Corby’s Adrenaline Alley featuring two athletes at the top of their game: UK Scooter Champion Jayden Sharman and BMX Olympic Bronze Medallist Declan Brookes. There are other references to sport throughout with Northamptonshire housing world class teams and facilities such as Silverstone Circuit – we see the Cobblers ground and fans of the Saints rugby club in the finale scene. There is also reference to the legendary Walter Tull.

From archive footage we feature Sulgrave Manor – the home of George Washington’s English ancestors and therefore the original home of the special relationship between the UK and US…. – and the historically-significant Fotheringhay. You’ll also see not one but both Eleanor Crosses and reference to Daventry Calling.

Then around the table in Boughton House’s Great Hall we have Philip Doddridge, Caroline Chisholm, Margaret Bondfield, Charles Bradlaugh and King Henry III. We are also back at Boughton House in our scene about how bonfire night originated in Northamptonshire featuring Montagu, Tresham and Catesby, and we snuck in some tourists for good measure to highlight the fact Northamptonshire has a huge number of historic homes for visitors.

And of course we couldn’t make a film without referencing that Northamptonshire is “still the shoemaking capital of the world”. From Dr. Marten boots of Wollaston to the beautiful shoes of Northampton’s Trickers.

Then in our finale scene at the lovely Forum Cinema, we hosted a whole gang of people that help make Northants kind of a big deal: Abbess Honora Downton, buried at Delapre Abbey, and St Thomas a Becket represented by Past Alive, Born to Perform who were Golden Buzzer Winners at Britain’s Got Talent 2022, Robin Hillman as John Clare, charitable and community organisations like The Lewis Foundation, Nene Rivers Trust, Chester House Estate, Delapre Abbey, Youth Works, Fermynwoods Contemporary Art and Northamptonshire Community Foundation, Anita Neil Britain’s first Black female Olympian from Wellingborough, Steve Pateman the man behind the Kinky Boots story, local creative people and organisations like C2C artists, filmmakers Tony Klinger and Tyla Sharp, the Comedy Crate, Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust and Daisie-Belle Downer from BBC Radio Northampton, and many community volunteers (some wearing Northamptonshire-made shoes too!). And did you spot Northamptonshire Sauce in there? So yeah, kind of a big deal….

During the prep for this project lots of people contributed their ideas. Here are just a few of them to show you how we got started:

This project is supported by Northamptonshire Community Foundation through the Compton Fund