Clayhouse Productions

The Bedlamites

Reviews for The Bedlamites:
"An eerie-looking collision between running and human adventure, this is more than just a fell running documentary, it is a love note to the countryside, to communities and to the mysterious forces of endurance."

Charlie Phillips - Marketplace Director, Sheffield Docfest

"There has never been a film made by an artist about fellrunning. Television journeymen churn out films about The Ben etc but they are designed to be general-viewer friendly and follow a tired personality-drivel format of cliched questions posed by journalists with little empathy for the sport.

We now have the sublime The Bedlamites.

How this 15 minute film came to be made by Shyla and Lukas Lee (Clayhouse Productions) is not important (sponsorship by Bradford City Council to underpin its annual Film Festival).

What matters is that The Bedlamites is superb.

Although the premise on which the film is based is the pastime of some fellrunners equipped with the latest high tech. head torches (often the Hope Vision2) to go running at night over, for example, Great Whernside, which is quirky and entertaining enough; this merely provides the springboard for the viewer to share the thoughts of the majestic Ian Holmes of Bingley Harriers (whom I suppose in time might eventually become recognised as the greatest fellrunner) and the elegant and eloquent Camille Askins of Keighley & Craven.

Ian, Fell Champion par excellence talks, in his uniquely modest way, about race technique, the joy of fellrunning, the craic; and Camille meditates , well, more on the philosophy of fellrunning and the intense experience of running in total darkness with only one's head torch to light the way.

Dozens of other runners will be recognised: Brett Weeden, Ted Mason, (even this writer), but the wonder of this film is not runner spotting but that it captures the essence of the sport. As Camille says, 'It just makes people well.'

The sign of a mediocre television documentary is a voice-over commentary: aural evidence that the pictures, or the people talking on the screen, are inadequate. But no out-of-work actor has been employed here: all you hear and see is the joie de vivre of the runners (well , for authenticity a pub landlord does make a brief appearance), whether lost on the fell or in the pub.

Brilliantly edited from many hours of film to just 15 minutes, and matched to atmospheric music commissioned from Phillip Codd, this film says more about fellrunning than dozens of hours of mediocrity. Only 15 minutes? The Bedlamites, like all great art, makes time stand still. One watches enthralled thinking 'and can there be still more to come?'

This is not so much a documentary about film running as a poem to a wonderful sport and way of life. The film may now be seen at World Film Festivals but in gratitude to the runners who took part the producers are making it available on DVD (www.clayhouse.co.uk).

The Bedlamites is a masterpiece in miniature. And I cannot wait for those dark winter nights to return."

Graham Breeze - President, Fell Runners Association

"The Bedlamites is a great movie that carries the spirit of Daniel Burmeister both in the way of production and in each image of the film. They are beautiful night scenes. Those lights seem stars dancing in the dark! Much adrenaline on the cliffs! That poetic voice gives the narrative, the depth that individual and collective efforts of the riders needs. Congratulations Shyla! Sorry my English Tarzan."

Eduardo de la Serna - Director

"For those of you who run at night, you will be able to relate to this superb short-film. This is a trailer to The Bedlamites - a 15 minute insight into the low-key world of fell running, and the psyche of one of the sports greatest ever.

The film is currently on release via the film festival circuit around the world and is not up for public viewing as yet.

Ian Holmes and Camille Askins are featured as Shyla and Lukas Lee of Clayhouse Productions unpick the world of the fell runner, and the almost secret world of the night runner - which is described as 'meditative'.

An excellent, and almost spiritual piece of cinematography, leaving you in no doubt as to why you love the sport and the surroundings of the hills, mountains, trails and fells."

Mud, Sweat & Tears

"The world of fell running gets an arthouse makeover in Shyla and Lukas Lee's recent independent film, the Bedlamites. The film explores the beautiful countryside of the north of England and the community spirit that goes hand in hand with fell running. The film features 5 times English Fell Champion Ian Holmes and is mostly about night fell running.

It was screened and well received at the Bradford International Short Film Festival last month. mudsweatandtears.co.uk liked the movie too and described it as: 'An excellent, and almost spiritual piece of cinematography, leaving you in no doubt as to why you love the sport and the surroundings of the hills, mountains, trails and fells'.

You can see a trailer of the film, made by Clayhouse, the West Yorkshire-based independent filmmaker, on their website. A feature of the film is the original score by Phillip Codd."

Northern Running Guide

"Shyla and Lukas Lee (Lukas being the famed Glaconman of these here parts) and their company Clayhouse Productions have been making short films for some time now - RCers may already be familiar with Vitya (still one of my all time favourite short films) and Uncle David, both of which you can view here.

Their latest effort, The Bedlamites, is somewhat closer to the heart of the RC community, being about the insanely special world of fell running - or more specifically, night fell running. As Graham Breeze's review above said, this is hardly a documentary - it's more of an insight to that special type of insanity that many (hopefully I'm not alone) of us are so jealous of - people who do something so madly illogical that you wish Van Gogh could have been around to paint it.

Well in fact the Lees have actually created a pretty fine work of art and I suspect Vincent Van would give a nod of approval.

Almost apologetic in its understatement, this is a film that Hollywood could never make, would never understand and to which it would most likely not even give a glance. And that, dear viewers, makes it rather special indeed.

The Bedlamites, by focussing on one of the slightly odder aspects of the sport explains in the Lee's unique way why we run and how it gets under the skin. As one of the runners explains:

"...there are no big egos really. There's a world of difference between being obesessed by where your club is in the premiership and passively watching, and actually getting out there doing something and having a go. It's not about watching these gods and goddesses on television - that does nothing for peoples' lives - it just makes them worse I think."

But the Lee's candid way of capturing through the lens the sheer intoxication of the sport and their mastery in editing the whole thing down to a fifteen-minute gem makes this a rare and beautiful expose of our sport.

And in fitting with RC culture, there are of course of lot of scenes shot in the pub which made me feel right at home. This hapless Aussie viewer was also grateful for the frankly language-murdering Yorkeshire dialect being subtitled, too!"

MLCM - RunningCommentary.net