The Rumour Mill is a short animated film that is set here at our Lea Mills factory. The film is part of the Stories of Change Project – the project aims to provoke thought and conversation about energy through a unique stop-frame animation. John Smedley was chosen as the case study for numerous reasons; one being that our Lea Mill factory is the oldest factory in continuous production, anywhere in the world.

Another reason being that the John Smedley management team are exploring possible ways use more environmentally friendly sources of energy. The director Bexie Bush and producer Chris Hees are graduates from the National Film and Television School. Between them they already have 200 international film festival appearances and an astounding 50 awards won – in just a year!

The animations are being created here, at our Lea Mills factory, in a studio space in the 18th century part of the site, which Bexie says is “powered by factory workers”. This allows Bexie to congregate with a large section of our factory workers to discuss whether or not they would like to see a change in where energy comes from and what they think about energy futures.

Within the factory is a community of knowledge, family and superb personalities.

Bexie sat down and recorded interviews with over 40 different factory workers about the future of energy. The recorded dialogue captures once slice in time in the life of this extraordinary Mill. When edited together the film will represent a range of largely unheard voices on energy debates in an entirely original way. The film is just one example of the how the team are working with both creative and community partners to support a more lively and diverse public discussion of energy issues.

One particular feature of the film that really sets it apart is the use of animation. Animations created from 3D wooden models lend a realistic perspective to how life is in John Smedley’s mill. The mix of animation techniques result in a captivating style rich with visual metaphor

“This film is not just about energy, it is also about community, living life to the full, British manufacturing and most of all coming together to talk about and bring about change.”
– Bexie Bush
Director of The Rumour Mill