Of Fish And Foe

Andy Heathcote (Director), Heike Bachelier (Director)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


“Of Fish And Foe” is an observational documentary film following the conflict between Scotland’s last family of salmon net fishermen and conservation groups.Initial research for the film began in October 2014. We filmed from April - November 2015 in North and North East Scotland. The film was completed in April 2018.The project builds on the reputation and experience of my company Trufflepig Films. I am dedicated to finding new ways to tell untold stories, and to find unique perspectives that will resonate with international audiences. “Of Fish And Foe” follows a family of working class fishermen as they find themselves unequipped to defend their lifestyle when it comes under attack from environmental activists.2.Research QuestionsFilm as a medium has the potential to articulate difficult topics but it can also suffer from superficiality, bias and sensationalism.Our aim was to see if a purely observational film could accurately portray a difficult conflict. We were determined not to use voiceover or commentary but to give the audience all sides of an argument and then let them make the final decision of who is right or wrong.A key device in our experiment was the development of a pendulum story structure. This means audience empathy continually swings from one side of a conflict to an another. This way engaged thinking and re-evaluation becomes an enjoyable part of the audience’s experience.3.Research InsightsOur film’s key discovery was to define the limitations of an observational style of filmmaking. The filmmaker cannot be everywhere at once so will always risk missing vital aspects of a story. This demands intervention from the filmmaker to rectify the omission. In our case this meant developing an investigative slant where required and resorting to on screen texts to convey missed information. The conclusion is that a purely observational film is not necessarily right for every subject however the hybrid style can also deliver successful results.4.Quality IndicatorsWorld Premiere - Hot Docs 2018, the most important documentary film festival and market place in North America. US Premiere - DocNYC 2018 - the biggest documentary film festival in the US. UK Premiere - Glasgow Film Festival February 2019. Acquisition by sales agents Journeyman Films for world sales and VoD on Amazon etc. UK theatrical release in July 2019 with screenings in 40 plus cinemas around the UK with 12 enhanced Q&A sessions involving director and talent.UK broadcast premiere - BBC Scotland on January 20th 2020. The film has received considerable critical acclaim in the UK press and media, receiving 4 star reviews in The Guardian, Time Out and The Scotsman. Reviewed on Mark Kermode’s BBC Radio 6 programme. Andy was interviewed on STV Scotland Tonight and on BBC Scotland’s Saturday Morning Show.‘Of Fish And Foe’ was financially supported by Creative Scotland and BBC Scotland.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherTrufflepig Films
Media of outputFilm
Size92 min
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2018
EventDocNYC: New York Documentary Film Festival - New York, United States
Duration: 8 Nov 201823 Nov 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Of Fish And Foe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this