Monks on award shortlist
DOCUMENTARY ON TRAPPIST MONKS MAKES SHORTLIST FOR TV AWARDS
“Independent filmmaking can be a lonely journey, a project can take several years to complete, so to be nominated for a prestigious award is a great opportunity
A documentary which chronicled the lives of monks at a Leicestershire monastery has been nominated for a top TV award.
Brotherhood: The Inner Life of Monks, which aired on BBC Four earlier this year, is one of four nominees in the best documentary category at the Royal Television Society (RTS) Midlands awards.
The film, by documentary maker Nick Hamer, offers a rare insight into life at Mount St Bernard Abbey, near Coalville, chronicling an important time in the abbey’s history as the monks struggled to cope with dwindling numbers in their ranks.
Founded in 1835, Mount St Bernard Abbey is the only remaining Trappist monastery in England and for years those who lived at the abbey supplemented their lifestyle through the on-site dairy farm.
However, financial troubles meant that was no longer viable and a new, if unexpected route, opened up to the monks - brewing their own beer, thus renewing a northern European tradition that had died out in Britain.
Captured in the documentary from its inception to the first bottles hitting their shop’s shelves, the journey of Tynt Meadow - as the beer is called - is contrasted against the serenity of the daily life and eventual death of a monk at Mount St Bernard Abbey.
Filmed prior to the pandemic, film-maker Nick was delighted at the nomination.
“I’m really pleased to be nominated for a Royal Television Society Award, it’s tremendously encouraging to receive this accolade,” he said.
“Independent filmmaking can be a lonely journey, a project can take several years to complete, so to be nominated for a prestigious award is a great opportunity to connect with other filmmakers and the wider TV and film industry.”
Upon its TV broadcast, Brotherhood: The Inner Life of Monks, gained rave reviews from critics and will vie for the RTS best documentary crown against Bhangra Or Bust (the battle to be crowned Britain’s best bhangra dancers), Hospital (insight into London’s Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust) and A Girl Can Touch the Sky (tradition and progress collide as a former Krishna monk is driven to re-examine the traditional roles of the sexes on a life-changing journey across India).
The ceremony, which is being hosted virtually on National Television Day - November 21 - will, according to Nick, be celebrated in appropriate fashion, irrespective of the result.
“It’s a little disappointing that a live event is not taking place, but I’ll certainly be taking part virtually and toasting whoever wins with a bottle of Tynt Meadow,” he said.
■ Brotherhood: The Inner Life of Monks is still available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.