WATCH: New documentary focuses on gay farmers struggles to come out in the UK

Claire Fox

Claire Fox

An award-winning documentary is set to shine a light on the loneliness many gay farmers face in their communities.

Landline is based on phone calls received by the UK’s only gay farmer helpline which was set up by Keith Ineson in Chesire in 2010 due to his own experience of being a gay farmer.

The film highlights the harsh reality that mental health issues and suicide rates are extremely high amongst the gay farming community due to their struggle to come out to their family and peers.

However, while there are many emotionally harrowing moments in the short film, it also shows the thriving gay scenes present in many towns and heartening stories of unexpected relationships and friendships.

Director Matt Houghton said he decided to make the documentary after having a conversation with his good friend Rupert Williamson about his own struggles of being gay and from a farming background.

“As we researched further, we began to understand the extent to which being an LGBTQ farmer was so heavily wrapped up in ideas of identity. Keith Ineson’s helpline seemed a unique lens through which to explore these ideas,” he said.

“Over the course of about a year, we collected stories and experiences from LGBTQ farmers who have at one time or another called the helpline. A series of recorded telephone conversations emerged as the emotional centre of the film.” 

Matt feels it is the realness of this film that sets it apart.

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“It is the honesty and openness of our contributors that made this film possible. To me it is defined by its intimacy but in depicting the very personal, my hope is that it poses questions about much broader ideas surrounding community, family and masculinity.

The documentary is already the winner of the HBO Documentary Short Film Award and has been nominated at Seattle Film Festival and Shanghai Pride.

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