• Welcome to memoirfilms;

    community heritage films & personal documentaries by John Hamlett

    John Hamlett is a freelance commercial filmmaker, but has a passion for making films about people's personal histories.

  • About

    John's background

    I grew up near Kirkby Lonsdale, a beautiful place with a close community and lots of history. I studied arts at university in Newcastle, with a particular focus on documentary photography and unauthorised histories... the sort of stories people tell, rather than the sort historians write.


    After university, in 1996, I came back to the Lune Valley and started Lunar; freelancing in digital media and video (www.lunar.co.uk). I've been freelance ever since working on commercial projects for companies and organisations large and small, but my favourites were always museums and heritage bodies like the National Trust, who still regularly commission films. I've also made short films like The POW that have gone on to film festivals around the world and, pleasingly, won the odd award.

    How it started

    I started making memoirfilms several years ago... first filming my dad and his memories, then a war veteran who'd sailed in the Merchant Navy. A couple of Heritage Lottery funded collaborations followed and they were all a pleasure to work on... I was gripped. I soon realised I needed to capture the stories of the characters around where I'd grown up in Kirkby Lonsdale, and went on to film eight more lovely people... and that became the first part of the feature length 'Remembering Kirkby Lonsdale'.


    Everyone's got wonderful stories to tell... some will be incredibly valuable to communities, and others closely treasured by family. They can be very time consuming to make, but capturing them before it's too late is so important.


    Sometimes funding is available - particularly for community groups through the Heritage Lottery Fund - but for families who want to capture stories I'll always try to work with you to do what I can. Sometimes this might mean just advising on how to do it yourself. Other times it might be to do all the filming but then leave you with the footage to edit in your own good time - at least the stories are captured. But if you need help with everything that's no problem either. It's a privilege to hear and help save these stories.

  • Community projects

    Part one of the feature length 'Remembering Kirkby Lonsdale' will be posted here soon, but in the meantime here are other recent community heritage films I've made with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

    Jonty Wilson's Story

    Community history from Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria

    Audrey Phillips tells the story of her farther Jonty Wilson's experience of the Great War. Jonty was Kirkby Lonsdale's blacksmith and the town's most famous sons b.1893.


    From the HLF funded 'Then and Now' project directed by Jayne Davies

    Three Harrisons' Stories

    Community history from Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria

    George Harrison tells the story of his father's experience of the Great War, together with the role of his grandfather in the territorials pre WWI, and himself as a merchantman in WWII. The Harrison family have always been part of Kirkby Lonsdale life.


    From the HLF funded 'Then and Now' project directed by Jayne Davies

    Silloth Airfield Project

    Community history from Silloth, Cumbria

    Silloth Airfield, situated to the east of the small seaside town of Silloth-on-Solway in N.W Cumbria, was opened in June 1939, just before the start of WW2. The film preserves the memories of the men and women who were based at the airfield during WW2 and its aftermath.


    From the HLF funded 'Silloth Airfield Project' directed by Anna Malina

  • Your Feedback

    Have you seen 'Remembering Kirkby Lonsdale'?
    How did you feel about it and do you think it's a valuable project?
    Please use the form below or just email john@memoirfilms.co.uk