Borderlines Film Festival has been hailed as ‘the UK’s most impressive rural film festival’ (The Independent). The 16th edition, which runs from Friday, February 23 to Sunday, March 11, is no exception. As well as spanning four of the most rural counties in Britain – Herefordshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire (Malvern) and Powys – this year’s programme tackles countryside themes and history in both feature films and documentaries.

The stunning new film Arcadia, which defies categorisation, draws on a wealth of archive footage from the BFI National Archive to paint a portrait of Britain’s relationship to the land. Directed by Paul Wright, it’s a dense poetic vision that explores our shifting attitudes to the countryside through time, from pastoral idyll, through pagan ritual, to the turmoil wrought by industrialisation.

Previewing at Borderlines before its UK cinema release, it comes with a stunning, specially composed score by Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Will Gregory (Goldfrapp). The single screening at The Courtyard on Sunday 4 March will be introduced by Utley.

Two recent BFI-backed British independents screening at Borderlines this year, Dark River and God’s Own Country, tell stories set against a farming background. Both are set against the bleak, beautiful and dramatic backdrop of the Yorkshire countryside and revolve around the dilemma of failing family farms.

Locally based Catcher Media’s offering for the festival this year is all about the humble hop. Herefordshire Life Through a Lens: Stories from the Hop Yards brims with archive photos, film, and newly-recorded interviews, and is part of a larger Heritage Lottery-funded project, inspired by the rediscovered Derek Evans’ photographic collection.

Steve Boffy, a former hop-picker, originally from the Black Country but now a Bosbury resident, says: “It’s part of our history and it’s part of Herefordshire’s history. This was one of the best times of the year for us, hop-picking I don’t know how a lot of the families would have survived without it. That’s a really good story to be told.”

Tickets for Herefordshire Life Through a Lens: Stories from the Hop Yard are selling out fast at The Courtyard Hereford but seats are still available for shows at Ludlow Assembly Rooms on Saturday, March 3 and at Malvern Theatres on Tuesday, March 6.

Tickets for all festival films can be purchased online at

Please check the Borderlines website for updates to the programme.