Logline: Set in the Staffordshire town of Tunstall in the early 19th century England, an ambitious Christian chases the conviction of pursuing holy orders in the church, and is caught up in a revival that will change the face of the non-conformism in England forever.
A special screening online of ‘Tunstall’, a short animated film by Jason Young, for Black History Month and as part of the Staffordshire Libraries online History Festival.
Exclusively available on Staffordshire Libraries Facebook and Twitter pages to stream on Friday 8th October at 7 pm.
A story of faith, love, and frustrated ambition, Jason Young’s film tells the story of Samuel Barber – the first Black British Local Preacher in the Primitive Methodist Church in Tunstall, Staffordshire between 1809-1828. It is a story of Samuel’s faith interwoven with the birth of Primitive Methodism breaking away from Wesleyan Methodism.
Samuel Barber himself was born a free man in 1783 in London. It is this theme of the free black man in an era of slavery that I want to explore in this project, Jason says.
The sub-plot is interwoven with the theme of loss: the loss of Samuel’s father, the loss of his silently grieving mother, the loss of his sister who is denied the cherished gift of marriage and family, and then the ultimate loss of Samuel himself at the age of 44 on the 6th July 1828. All human beings have experienced the loss of one form or another, and so this element would make the story universal and accessible to everyone.
There is also the theme of ex-communication which should appeal to audiences who are the margins of society and have experienced some form of discrimination that has excluded them from social or economic advancement: Samuel is excommunicated from the Church of England; Hugh Bourne is expelled from the Methodist Society; William Clowes is expelled from the Methodist Society. Samuel wanders from the Anglican Church to the Methodist Church and realises that God is calling him to be a local preacher in the Primitive Methodist Church rather than an ordained minister in the Church of England. “My creative vision for this project is to make audiences feel what it is like to be socially, emotionally and spiritually excluded”, says director, Jason Young.
‘Tunstall’ explores what it is like for a free black man to live in the 19th century during an era of slavery. It also explores his Christian faith and how it informs everything that he does as a free black man in Jane Austen’s England. His objective is not to abolish slavery in faraway places but to realise his full potential as a first-generation Black Englishman. Jason believes that contemporary black audiences need to see themselves reflected in British period dramas as they were there at the time.
See the film via a link on Staffordshire Libraries Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/staffordshirelibraries or Twitter page @StaffsLibraries on Friday 8th October at 7 pm. For more information about Black History Month please visit: www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/article/section/latest-events/staffordshire-libraries-to-host-online-black-history-month-animated-film-season/
Written By: Gospel Temple