Browser does not support script.

News article

New nature film featuring over a century of stunning footage of Yorkshire and the North East

Published: 06 October 2023

  •   Featured
A boy playing in a wheat field


York St John University is delighted to announce the launch of Nature Matters, a new film commissioned by the University’s Cinema and Social Justice project and York Business School. The film has been produced by the Yorkshire and North East Film Archives. 

This beautiful and powerful short film is a love letter to nature and a call to action to protect it. It uses over a century of archive news and documentary footage from Yorkshire and the North East of England.

It was jointly funded by research grants from York St John University as part of wider work on nature conservation and environmental stewardship, and by the National Lottery Heritage Fund who have supported the Yorkshire and North East Film Archive’s Nature Matters project. 

The film reminds us of our innate relationship with nature, exploring our need for balance in a changing world. The demand for resources, drive for profits and progress is offset against our fundamental human rights to access green spaces, clean air, water, and fertile soils to grow healthy food. It focuses on the human spirit, as individuals and communities fight to be on the right side of history, on a quest for environmental harmony and more sustainable lifestyles. 


Details of the launch: 

  • When: Friday 27 October, doors from 6:30pm, event starts at 7pm 
  • Where: The Creative Centre, York St John University 
  • How to book: The event is free but booking is essential. Reserve your place via Eventbrite  

Before and after the screening, guests will have the opportunity to charge up the ‘people-powered cinema.’ This solar and pedal-powered sustainable cinema will be based in the atrium of the York St John Creative Centre and will be screening more environment-based footage from the film archives. 

The screening will be followed by a Q & A with the producers of Nature Matters and a complimentary drinks reception.  


Dr Jenny Hall, Senior Lecturer: Tourism & Events, York St John University said: "Nature Matters offers a powerful call to reflect on the beauty of rural Yorkshire and our impact upon it. It acts as a trigger to question and reimagine our relationship with rural landscapes by reflecting on our lives through archival film. The film invites us to think about sustainable ways to engage with rural landscapes and rebalance cultural, social and ecological systems. We see the film as a starting point to establish a wider research programme that explores how heritage archives can inform ways to live with nature.” 

Dr Martin Hall, Senior lecturer: Film and Media Studies, York St John University said: “The Cinema and Social Justice Project explores what the study of film can uncover and how filmmaking can provide powerful and convincing answers to life’s difficult questions. The wealth of knowledge stored in our national archives, such as the Yorkshire Film Archive, offers a moment to reflect on how we respond to climate crises and seek regenerative ways to achieve ecological justice in our rural spaces and places. Nature Matters addresses how people have responded to climate crises specifically across Yorkshire and the North East and challenges audiences to work towards achieving ecological justice” 

The launch of Nature Matters takes place on the World Day for Audio-Visual Heritage and coincides with an Open Day at the Yorkshire Film Archive, based on the York St John University campus on Lord Mayor’s Walk in York. 

During the afternoon the Archive will be opening up their vaults with an opportunity to meet the team, get hands on with the collections and preview new online exhibitions, in a rare chance to see behind the scenes of a working film archive.  

Graham Relton, Yorkshire and North East Film Archives Manager said: “Our vaults in York and Middlesbrough hold a wealth of moving image collections that reveal a fascinating record of the very real environmental issues, causes, and concerns that people and communities have wrestled with, and championed, through the years. Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund the team are digitising, cataloguing and revealing these stories to audiences across the two regions.  

“This new production is a powerful and thought-provoking outcome of the project. It illustrates our human connection with nature and our desire to preserve our natural spaces for future generations, we hope it strikes a chord with viewers.”   

Contact us

Communications team

York St John University, Lord Mayors Walk, York, YO31 7EX

01904 876 466

To contact us out of hours, phone 07812 365 499