Heartwarming Bristol Documentary “Rave On For The Avon” Set for Screening at Historic Cinema

The compelling feature-length documentary, “Rave On For The Avon”, which narrates the story of a local community’s dedication to preserving their cherished bathing location, is slated for an upcoming screening at Bristol’s largest cinema screen in April.

Following its debut at PYTCH last month, the documentary will be shown again on Thursday, 25th April. Embedded in the vibrant context of Bristol’s cultural scene, the film highlights the community’s resilience, creativity, and steadfast spirit as they confront environmental challenges.

The narrative follows several Bristol locals and advocacy groups, such as Conham Bathing, Save Our Avon, and ‘Avon Mermaid’ Lindsey Cole. These groups and individuals are passionately involved in efforts to save their beloved natural swimming spot on the Avon River through unique, courageous, and distinctly Bristolian actions.

Charlotte Sawyer, the film’s director with a background in global charity campaign filmmaking, has turned her lens towards a pressing local issue. Charlotte expressed, “This film is about love. The love people have for our rivers and the love they feel in return. It’s an immersive, observational and fresh perspective that cuts through the infuriating statistics that tell us our rivers are dying. It gives hope to those who want to protect them.”

The film interweaves personal stories with the larger narrative of Bristol’s principal river, igniting a movement of awareness during a critical period. A recent Guardian article recently exposed the Avon as one of the worst rivers for sewage pollution, citing 74 spills per mile in its urban segments.

The film’s initial showing at PYTCH in Brislington was a hit, selling out and leading to the release of additional standing-room tickets. It has been featured on various media platforms, including BBC Radio Four’s The Today Programme, BBC Radio Bristol, Red Bull’s The Red Bulletin Magazine, and Bristol 247, and is now poised for a screening at Bristol’s former IMAX cinema, in collaboration with the filmmaking platform Tabb.

The documentary’s soundtrack features an eclectic mix from Bristol’s artists, with Elder Island’s electronic neo-soul, the Drum and Bass from Charli Brix, DJ Ngaio Anyia’s afrobeat rhythms, and the folk tunes of Maz McNamara, mirroring the city’s diverse cultural expression.

The film’s co-producer, Kenyan-born director Aggie Nyagari, was drawn to the project by her passion for swimming in rivers. Aggie stated, “When I was first asked to produce this film, I saw it as a special calling to protect and fight for what I love. I love the river and the entire Conham area. Its natural beauty is so breathtaking that I’ve recently moved with my family to be a short walk away from it!”

Aggie’s prior works have focused on issues like corruption, disability stigma, and housing crises. She views this documentary as another channel to inspire change and connect deeply with viewers on vital social topics.

The filmmakers aim for ‘Rave On For The Avon’ to prompt policymakers and water utilities to realize the importance of healthy rivers for communities in Bristol and wider regions, encouraging further campaigns for Designated Bathing Water status as proposed by Surfers Against Sewage.

A spokesperson for leading marine conservation and campaigning charity Surfers Against Sewage said: “Officially designated Bathing Waters are the only blue spaces where water quality is regularly monitored for its effect on human health, and legal obligations are put on polluting industries to clean up their act. In the UK, there are currently only three stretches of river, all of which have been won through local campaigns.” 

The upcoming event at Bristol Aquarium will offer attendees an immersive experience. It will feature a preview screening of the documentary on the largest cinema screen in Bristol, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and campaigners hosted by Jayde Adams, “Bristol’s Coolest Person” comedian, actor, and now wild swimming advocate

The screening is at 6pm on Thursday, 25th April 2024, at Bristol Aquarium’s former IMAX screen. Tickets are available on Tabb and are expected to sell out beforehand. Please visit Eighty Sita’s website for more information about ‘Rave On For The Avon’.