A DAD Production
“A videotape with shots of a paper mill on a vast empty site with dilapidated buildings in Dover – filmed 10 years ago shortly before its closure. That was the source material I found when Joanna and Clare from Dover Arts Development (DAD) asked me, whether I’d like to make a film about Buckland Paper Mill. What was lacking in order to bring the old mill back to life through their stories were the people, the workers.
Months later, we had over 50 interviews with former employees. Each one of them brought photographs, old film recordings and their own stories – all of which went into the creation of the film “Watermark”.”
“ What interested me was the filigree detail of what remained. Not the paper, not the remains of the building, not even the workers. Just as Buckland Mill defined much of what it produced by means of its watermark, I was interested to learn whether this watermark had its social equivalent - a sort of bond that united those that worked beyond the factory’s gates, a way of thinking and an outlook on life. I was interested in the idea that Buckland Mill made more than simply paper and instead I wanted to learn more about what it was that had affected people’s lives, cemented friendships and contextualised any shared understanding of the locality.  In short, I was interested in the real watermark of Buckland mill and what faint traces were left in the minds of the workers who had worked there.”
“ Watermark was edited in a room overlooking Dover from a position just below the Castle. Atypically for an editing suite (normally a darkened, nondescript space), the room contained two long rectangular windows, approximately equivalent in size to the rarely used Polyvision aspect ratio of the 1920’s. With a panoramic perspective over the town below, with the sea docks down to our left and the abandoned site of Buckland Mill itself in the distance to our right, we spent approaching ninety days with this sweeping viewpoint, and watched how the town changed through autumn to winter before spring emerged, with Watermark slowly coming to life through the computer positioned in the space between the two windows.”
dominic de vere, co-writer & editor
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