Arctic Convoys

A FILM SCHOOL IN A BOX PROJECT

Discovering the
Arctic Convoys for a new generation

With support from Heritage Lottery Fund and in collaboration with the Cambridge Russian Speak Society, the IFT worked with young people and veterans to produce an intergenerational documentary project that looks back in time at the Arctic Convoys to better understand concepts of diplomacy, democracy and armed combat. The result was five short films that were screened at the Picturehouse Cinema in Cambridge to a public audience.

Check out the films!

Phase 1: Research

The participants started the project by researching at the Arctic Convoys at the HMS Belfast in London, one of the ships to make the trip from the UK to to Russia during WWII; and at the Churchill archives where a number of documents, books and photographs exist from that era. The participants were able to work with historians and archivists in each site to wok through memos, top secret telegrams, shipping registers and photogrpahs as well as all of the information available aboard the HMS Belfast. From these trips, the participants established a series of questions to ask the veterans when they met them two weeks later. 

Phase 2: Production

The participants filmed over two hours of interview footage with five surviving veterans from the Arctic Convoys. Ernest Kennedy, Dianne Pitts (wife of Jimmy Pitts), Stanley Ballard, Baden Hall and Admiral Bob Stephens met with 12 young people at Cambridge University to speak about their experiences of sailing the convoys, diplomacy, heritage and more. The interviews were then prepared for editing into films. 

Phase 3: Post Production

The films were edited at the Junction in Cambridge. Over the course of 10 days, the participants conbined original interview with archive footage, illustration, animation and photography to produce fiver films each focusing on a different aspect of the convoys that was particularly meaningful to the filmmakers. 

The Screening!

The films were screened to a public audience at the Picturehouse Cinema in Cambridge followed by a Q&A with the veterans and the young filmmakers. The audience was response was amazing.  People called the films “an enormous achievement”, “so moving”, “a brilliant insight into a lesser known part of history” and “a fantastic experience that more people should see.” Check out the films for yourself below and let us know what you think!

The Beginning

The Begining outlines how and why the Arctic Convoys were launched. Why were they needed? What was the political context? Find out by watching this film by Gleb.

The Crew

The Arctic Convoys delivered over four million tons of supplies to the Russians after they had been attacked by Nazi Germany. But, who sailed the convoys? What kind of impact did the journey have on the crew? And what were they taking to Russia? Find out by watching this film by Sasha and Anton.

The Beating Heart of the Ship

The ships had to sail through incredibly harsh conditions. How were the ships equipped to deal with this? Find out in this film by Max and Sasha.

Friendship

How did the sailors get through this incredible experience? By supporting one another and developing tight and meaningful friendships. But what happends when a friend is lost? Find out in this film by Vicky.

History Repeating

The average age of sailors on board the convoy ships was just 18, with many sailors as young as 16. But what does this mean for young people today? Could anything like this happen again? Find out in this film by Anton.

With support from