Director: Andy Heathcote, Heike Bachelier.
Starring: Stephen Hook.
Running Time: 98 minutes.
Synopsis: In an attempt to save his family farm, Stephen Hook decides to turn his back on the cost cutting dairy supermarkets, and instead stay small and keep his relationship with his herd. However, Farmer Hook’s plans to save the farm do not always go down well with his 55 spirited cows. The result is a laugh out loud, emotional, rollercoaster journey.
You would truly have to have a heart of stone to not feel some emotion while watching THE MOO MAN, a true story of a man desperate to hold onto old traditions but being told by the world to move on. Throughout the documentary we follow Stephen Hook, a dairy farmer who co-runs Hook & Son with his dad. Not your typical dairy farmer, he tends to a small herd but treats them all like family. Where most dairy farmers shoot Bull calves the day they are born, Stephen keeps his calves alive with his cows living for nine to ten years instead of their usual six year life expectancy.
As the film progresses, we realise there is not a lot of action to be seen here, and no sit-down interviews with the people involved leaves us subjected instead to the occasional point where Hook talks to the camera to explain what he is doing. There are many sweet moments such as the delivering of the calves, but amidst the shots of cows doing their business all over the floor, you can’t help but feel like there is something missing.
However action is not the point of this documentary, and it instead highlights the fact that passionate farmers like Stephen Hook are a dying breed. With farmers in trouble due to big supermarkets failing to pay them correctly, THE MOO MAN needs to be seen just to understand how important farmers like Stephen are.
THE SUNDANCE LONDON FILM AND MUSIC FESTIVAL RUNS FROM 25-28 APRIL AT THE O2. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND TICKETS VISIT: http://www.sundance-london.com