This film is part of Free

Once Upon a Farm

Beryl Armstrong's gently polemical film extolls the value of rare farm breeds, which could one day meet future challenges and demands

Amateur film 1985 15 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


This colour film, made by Beryl Armstrong, is both a commentary and critique of modern day farming methods. The film showcases a variety of rare breeds including ducks, goats, sheep, cattle, horses, poultry and pigs of all shapes, sizes and colours, with a little of their histories thrown in. Beryl argues that keeping such breeds alive ensures the survival of future livestock farming should anything happen to wipe out more standardised, intensively farmed breeds.

New Zealand born Beryl Armstrong has, in her lifetime, made well over 100 films, many of which capture various aspects of rural life in Sussex and Hampshire, from the 1960s to the 1990s. Beryl began making films while she was living in India and over the years entered many of her films into local amateur festivals and competitions. She also taught her sons Richard and Anthony, who appear in several of her films, the art of filmmaking. Both went on to create amateur film collections of their own ranging from short documentaries to comedies and animations. Beryl is also the successful author of twelve published novels.