Stephen Hook and his herd of cows are the subjects of a new documentary which promises to change the way you see cows forever.
The Moo Man started as a film about a farmer’s struggle to survive in a world dominated by mega dairies and supermarkets’ buying power. Five years ago father and son partnership Phil and Stephen Hook took the bold step and started marketing their milk direct to customers, bypassing the supermarkets that were paying less than the cost of its production.
They sell ‘raw’ milk which hasn’t been pasteurised or homogenised.
As the film progressed, the at times unruly cows and their relationship with the farmers soon took centre stage. “They all have idiosyncrasies and I suppose the film shows dairy cows as they’ve never been seen before,” says Stephen. Following four years of live on the farm, filmmaker Andy Heathcote captured the highs and lows of life on the farm. A key message throughout is that the cows aren’t just commodities, something that’s too often forgotten in today’s society, where food production is so far separated from many people’s lives.
The film was one of just 12 international documentaries chosen from thousands of entries to be screened at Sundance film festival in January. For the Hooks, rubbing shoulders with celebrities including the festival’s founder Robert Redford made for an interesting diversion from dairy farming. The Moo Man was also shown at the Berlin Film Festival in February, where it had its European premiere. The film should make its way to independent cinemas across the UK later this year.