My husband, Will Davies, and I are Whalebone Films, a documentary production company now based in Hastings. We’ve made films on an array on subjects, Evangelical Climate Change activists in the US, non-Custodial motherhood, Lobster fisherwomen, and launderettes. We’ve worked with The Guardian, BBC, Nowness and Topic among others. We also produce a lot of films for NGOs such as Oxfam, Save the Children and Wateraid, and through our work have been lucky enough to film in more than 25 countries.
We came to Hastings quite randomly. We’d just finished a bike trip from England to China, and the idea of returning to a canal boat in London (where we’d been living before) seemed suddenly quite exhausting after having spent a year camping on the side of roads or in kind strangers’ gardens. Settling in Hastings came about because I’d been to Jack in the Green a couple of times and thought it seemed fun. It wasn’t meant to be our “forever place” but somewhere to take a breath before our next adventure. It turns out Hastings was our next adventure and living here is constantly inspiring and fulfilling.
It’s certainly inspired our work - over lockdown we made a short film The Bold Fisherman for the BBC about how the fishermen were coping with coronavirus. All shot observing social distancing rules, the film is a meditative look at fishing life, set to the musical backdrop of Hastings-born folk singer Shirley Collins.
We’ve almost finished Canary, a film that came about through a chance encounter in St-Leonards with Roxanne. The film follows Roxanne and another Sussex local, Rachel, who both suffer from an allergy to wifi and mobile phone signal, amongst other chemical and electrical sensitivities.
We’re now developing a feature about the ever-changing Warrior Square.
I worried that moving here, away from London, would affect our careers, but on the contrary, it’s only helped take us further. Around every corner, it seems, is a film idea, or otherwise, someone fascinating to have a conversation with. We work very often with other locals on our projects and share a studio with a group of filmmakers, and photographers.
Now, happily living in the Old Town, with a son, and a new baby on the way, it seems that, maybe, Hastings is our forever place afterall.
Watch Chloe and Will's BBC short film about the Hastings fishermen during coronavirus:
Keep an eye out to meet Chloe and Will at a film event TBC at the cinema in the new year.
Get the latest news from the cinema via our weekly enewsletter: