Carousel, a new film that explores scores of fascinating stories from Herefordshire people, inspired by a huge archive of over 200,000 images, will premiere at the UK’s largest rural film festival, Borderlines, next month.

Catcher Media have been exploring and digitising the wonderful archive of negatives and prints left behind by Hereford photographer Derek Evans in the three-year, National Lottery funded, Herefordshire Life Through a Lens project. Every trip to Herefordshire Archive and Records Centre, where the photos and negatives are stored, reveals new delights and the project’s fantastic team of volunteers are making it all happen, alongside a dedicated team of professionals from Catcher Media and the Archives.

The project has already produced Borderlines ‘Audience Favourite’ film, Stories from the Hop Yards, and Catcher Media’s previous film, Chewing the Cud, was hugely popular in the county and elsewhere. The new film, Carousel, calls to mind a parade of vibrant images, cascading before our eyes. It delves deep into the Derek Evans photographic archive from the 1950s to the 1970s to bring you the stories behind his photographs of the county, from the colourful May Fair to heroic Hereford United, from Fownhope’s historic Heart of Oak walk to the jazz scene, from childhood memories to the flashpoints of politics and much more.

As an oral history project, the participation of the county’s residents has been priceless, and it is the people’s memories and stories that bring the pictures to life. The film is so full of Herefordshire tales that some great individual stories have not made the film’s ‘final cut’ and will be shown on the website as ‘extras’!

Based in Hereford, Derek Evans was a photojournalist for national press and TV in the heyday of Fleet Street and news photography, and took many photographs celebrating aspects of Herefordshire life. He covered the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 for National Geographic before opening his first studio in Broad Street in 1957, and photographed many stars, including Sammy Davis Junior and Elizabeth Taylor. The Herefordshire Life Through a Lens project is exploring the Derek Evans archive and creating an oral history from Herefordshire people, with Herefordshire Archives & Libraries and a team of local volunteers, funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The project has recently upgraded to a new website, featuring more film interviews, available to watch for free, as well as the archived images that are searchable by topic.

Carousel will be screened on Monday, March 11 (7.30pm) and Tuesday, March 12 (12 noon) at The Courtyard (01432 340555) and on Wednesday, March 13 (7.15pm) and Thursday, March 14 (5pm) at Malvern Theatres (01684 892277).