Nov. 12, 2020



World War One Sunderland on Film with Filmmaker Prof. Esther Johnson

How can you capture the mood of a country at war in a documentary?

With a uniquely poetical, musical filmmaking style, artist and filmmaker Prof. Esther Johnson was commissioned by 14-18 Now to create "Asunder" - a uniquely moving and vibrant documentary which interweaves narratives from conflict overseas with characters in the North East.

"Asunder tells the story of what happened to an English town during the First World War, with almost all of its men abroad fighting and its women and children left behind. The North East was in the front line, thanks to its shipyards and munitions factories."

Our host Betty Ball meets Esther to hear all about the process of creating Asunder - poring over a hundred sources of archive material, working with renowned presenters Kate Adie and Alun Armstrong, and the composition of original music which makes Asunder such a distinctive WW1 documentary.

Featuring original music from the soundtrack composed by Sunderland’s Mercury-nominated Field Music and Newcastle’s Warm Digits, performed with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and The Cornshed Sisters.

Esther Johnson

Esther Johnson is an artist, filmmaker, and photographer, whose projects like Asunder often use archival material to address the relationship between history, memory, and storytelling.