Ascending Ballard Down

by Joshua Brooks in Bournemouth, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 15th December 2018 we successfully raised £2,185 with 42 supporters in 30 days

A short film that will use the work of British painter Paul Nash as a guide to discovering the contemporary landscape of Swanage, Dorset.

by Joshua Brooks in Bournemouth, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

The extra funding will allow us to purchase and process a couple of extra rolls of 16mm as well as Super8 colour film. As is the nature with this documentary, we are experimenting with a number of different mediums. The Director of Photography has shown interest in shooting with Super8, however, the cost and development process is costly. The extra money will allow us to pursue this aspect of the project. Thank you for your support!

Paul Nash was a British landscape painter, photographer and writer (1889 - 1946). While he was living in the small seaside town of Swanage, Dorset, he experimented with surrealism, and although Surrealism was a movement that had its roots Paris, Nash's surrealism was undeniably English. Heavily influenced by a visit to the stone circles at Avebury in the thirties, Nash captured in his work a link between the ancient and the modern through creating a plane where both could exist, side by side. 

Ascending Ballard Down is a film that will attempt to capture the presence of Paul Nash and his work in the contemporary landscape of Swanage. By using his work as a guide, we hope to paint our own portrait of this enchanting landscape. The film will follow the journey of a lone cyclist as he travels from Sandbanks ferry to Swanage bay. This journey will be fractured by three observational episodes that will each investigate specific details of the landscape that relate directly back to Nash and his work. 

Below are a few images taken during various research trips to Swanage, these images document places and features of the landscape that will appear in the film. 

Sandsbanks Ferry 

Swanage Town

Ballard Down

Creech Folly 


Charlie Usher is the Director of 'Ascending Ballard Down' and has been studying film at the Arts University Bournemouth for the past three years, showing a particular interest in the treatment of landscape in non-fiction cinema. His research has been based around filmmakers Alain Resnais and Claude Lanzmann, but more recently he has found, through filmmakers such as Humphrey Jennings and Linsday Anderson, the cinematic possibilities within the English landscape.

Rory Greener is the Director of Photography for and has been making and researching documentaries at the Bournemouth Film School for the last 4 years, whilst working closely with the South-West music scene to create a platform for short-form media and interviews. Bringing a strong energy to the project, he aims to help create an interesting, challenging and dynamic piece.

Milo Anani is a second-year documentary student, who has worked closely with Charlie since the conception of this film. As a pair, they have spent the past two years making films together and honing their shared photographic style, which will be a prominent feature in 'Ascending Ballard Down'

Swanage Recce

Sam Riley is the sound recordist and sound designer for Ascending Ballard Down. After accompanying Charlie on a journey to Swanage and the neighbouring areas in the summer, he has taken a great interest in the film and its surrounding subject matter. He hopes to apply his knowledge and enthusiasm for the project to the soundtrack in every facet and is thoroughly looking forward to the production of this film.

Monica Fuentes is the editor for the project. Her portfolio showcases her experience and technical knowledge acquired from working on a range of short-form fiction and documentary films during her studies at Arts University Bournemouth. She has a strong interest in the project for its experimental qualities. This project presents a great opportunity to push the boundaries and experiment with the medium of film, to not only create a narrative through editing and montage but an experience that brings Nash’s Swanage to life.

Swanage Recce

Joshua Brooks is the Producer for 'Ascending Ballard Down' and is usually involved with the design of short fiction films. With the parallels between the two specialisms being surprisingly similar, he has taken a keen interest in producing the documentary from its early conception, which has now developed into a passion project for him.

Callum McClelland is the Co-Producer for ‘Ascending Ballard Down’ who throughout his 3 years within Bournemouth Film School has produced a myriad of both fiction and documentary short films. His passion lies in the craft of experimental documentaries and therefore has a large enthusiasm for the project and its themes. 

From the start of the filmmaking process in early September to its submission to film festivals around summer 2019, there will be numerous costs to consider within this year-long period. Due to the decision to shoot on 35mm and 16mm colour film, the majority of the money raised will be used to fund this process, which involves the purchase, development and digital scanning of the negative images obtained over the course of the shoot.

Although the crew is relatively small, we also need to fund motor transport to and from the various locations around the Purbeck area, which involves the use of a short ferry from Sandbanks port over to Studland Bay.

Thank you for taking the time to read about the project, and we hope you're as excited about the final film as we are!


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£5 or more

Ascending Ballard Down

A link to the final film and a digital scan of the 'Ascending Ballard Down' poster upon web release.

£10 or more

Behind The Scenes

A link to the 'Behind The Scenes' archive, a link to the final film and a digital scan of the 'Ascending Ballard Down' poster upon web release

£25 or more

5 of 10 claimed

Poster Printout

An A3 high quality printout of the 'Ascending Ballard Down' film poster upon release of the film + all of the above rewards

£50 or more

2 of 3 claimed

London BFI Premiere

An invite for two to the UK Premiere of Ascending Ballard Down at the BFI Southbank in July (date to be confirmed), a link to the final film and a digital scan of the 'Ascending Ballard Down' poster upon web release

£75 or more

0 of 4 claimed

Unseen Footage

Digital access to the raw scans of 16mm and 35mm footage and stills, some of which will be unseen in the final edit of 'Ascending Ballard Down', a link to the final film and a digital scan of the 'Ascending Ballard Down' poster upon web release

£150 or more

1 of 3 claimed

Large Photographic Print

Digital access to the scans of 16mm and 35mm footage and stills, some of which will be unseen in the final edit of 'Ascending Ballard Down'. From this collection, you which you will be able to choose one of the images to be sent to you as a high-quality photographic A2 print. A link to the final film and a digital scan of the 'Ascending Ballard Down' poster upon web release will be included also.

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