Award shortlisting for film that captures how The Matthew became shipshape and Bristol fashion

May 10, 2023

A documentary film produced by Bristol PR agency Empica to mark 25 years since the launch of the replica of The Matthew has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.

The 30-minute film, the result of a two-year project capturing significant moments in the life of the iconic ship, pictured, is a finalist in the documentary category of the RS FilmFest Awards, which champion short films.

Narrated by broadcast journalist Sally Challoner, the documentary was produced by Empica in association with The Matthew of Bristol Trust as a learning resource for schools and is part of a wider educational project to celebrate the 525th anniversary of John Cabot’s voyage across the Atlantic on the original Matthew in 1497.

It was made by Empica filmmaker Grace Fox, pictured, below, filming on The Matthew, who shot stunning footage of the ship around Bristol Harbour and out on the River Avon.

It also traces the ship’s journey from its design and construction 25 years ago as part of the Cabot 500 anniversary celebrations up to the present day.

Included are interviews with its captain Rick Wakeham, some of the colourful characters who make up the volunteer crew, and members of the public who share their memories of its 1997 voyage to Newfoundland.
Empica managing director Martin Powell said: “We’re delighted that the documentary has been shortlisted for this prestigious film award.

“We started filming during the pandemic when the ship was unable to host the public. This meant we were able to capture the team carrying out additional maintenance tasks at Underfall Yard and Albion Dock during lockdown, including unique footage of the ship’s mast being removed for repair for the first time since it was launched.”

The winners of this year’s RS FilmFest Awards will be announced at a special event at BessellScotts, Stoke Gifford on 25 May. The documentary category is one of 15 to be contested at the event.

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