Last Fisherman

Meet Malcolm Baker, the last fisherman of Rame.

 

Synopsis

 

This is the story of a 70-year-old fisherman. But not any 70-year-old fisherman, the last of his generation.

Malcolm has never left the villages of Kingsand and Cawsand where he was born. 

He catches fish and lobsters off the Rame Peninsula, only pulling what he needs with little to no waste. He does this using the tools and techniques of generations of fishermen who came before, men who taught him his trade.

It sounds like an idyllic life, but fishing is hard work and getting much harder. Malcolm's way of life is under threat. His industry is focused on quantity over quality mechanised processes that leave no room for pulling posts and shooting nets by hand. 

His village, Cawsand is changing into a holiday resort, occupied only by the rich for a few weeks of the year. Leaving the community dark and without life in the winter.

Malcolm is struggling to accept and make sense of such changes and pace they are occurring. Yet what baffles him the most is the lack of youngsters interested in his trade; meaning the skills and knowledge pass down to him will be lost.

Despite all this, Malcolm is Cornish, and the Cornish endure. Then,  out of nowhere, an unlikely friendship with an Austrian youth worker nurtures hope, not just for the last fisherman of Rame, but for the generation of young Europeans are in need of a fishing lesson.

 
 
 

Producer, Director & Camera

 

My first independent feature and without a doubt the most frustrating and complicated production I have faced. Yet, one of the most rewarding experiences, working and living a traditional life in a small, Cornish community with the last fisherman of Rame, Malcolm Baker. 

Malcolm, now 73, still works like he is 33. Shovels for hands, the sea etched on his face and a twinkle in his eye.

I experienced Malcolm's way of life through the first Rückenwind (tailwind) youth project, pioneered by Leo and continued by the Austrian organisation AK Tirol. I shot a short film about the project that involved five youngsters who were a little lost, in need of a tailwind to get them back on track. With Malcolm, the group repaired a 100-year-old wooden fishing boat called The Two Sisters, at the same time experiencing an honest, straightforward way of life full of hard work.

Because of this incredible experience, I decided to commit to shooting the doc, working for a further three years alongside Malcolm. This included many cold mornings out at sea on Shiralee and plenty of rowing practice in the bay; with each new callus that formed, so did a connection to the community and a more straightforward way of life.

I began filming many of Malcolm's daily actives, then, when possible I brought in a larger crew to shoot the critical sequences of the film. Despite a few hiccups along the way we spent four years in total researching, filming and cutting the doc.

Speaking for Leo, I know we are both very humbled by the experience we have had creating this piece of work - learning from each other, from Malcolm, the youngsters and the community. It was, and still is a brilliant adventure, one to retell over a pint of Legend in the Halfway House Pub in years to come.

 
 


Official selection HoF Film Festival, 2016, Germany.
Winner Coastal Culture Award, Ocean Film Festival, 2017, San Francisco, USA.
Official selection International Film Festival, 2017, Innsbruck, Austria.
Official selection Plymouth Film Festival, 2017, Plymouth, U.K.
Winner Kodiak Prize, Alaska International Film Awards, 2017, Alaska, USA.
Winner Best Feature Documentary Toronto Beaches Film Festival, 2017, Toronto, Canada.
Featured on Country File television series, BBC 1, 2017, UK.
Official selection, Cornwall Film Festival, 2017, UK.
Official selection, Wild & Scenic Film Festival, 2018 Nevada City, USA.
Official selection, Thunder Bay International Film Festival, 2018 Michigan, USA.
Winner Best Feature Documentary, Snowdance Independent Film Festival, 2018, Germany.
Celtic Media Festival, Offical Selection, 2018, UK.

 lastfisherman.co.uk

 
 
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