There is more to village shows than mammoth pumpkins and the best trimmed beetroot as Darius G Laws and Nick Woolgar found out when making their feature-length documentary Digging for Victory.

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Looking at the Capel St Mary Annual Flower and Produce Show, they unearthed a crop of characters who have made the event such a success for the last 35 years.

“Some people have a cheesy view of it all. You might look at it from the outside and think ‘it’s just a village vegetable show’ but a lot of people are very competitive and take it very seriously, it’s their passion,” says Nick, 30, who grew up in the village with Darius.

“There’s a bit of drama about who’s going to win what but there’s nothing epic about it, in a way that’s what it’s all about. The best thing about the documentary is just seeing people finding something they enjoy in life.”

The first half focuses on the allotment members; the old hands and big contenders and those who tend plots as a hobby. The second follows the competitors through judging.

Darius, 30, came up with idea while helping his mum on her allotment in the village.

“I realised how the passions of Capel’s horticultural legends should be told on film. With an unrivalled commitment to growing, the competition’s old hands make this film what it is.”

Nick agrees.

“We met some lovely, larger than life people. There’s a character called John Mower, he must be about 75 and gardening is his life. Some of the stuff he comes out with... he opens the trailer saying ‘I’m not into the new vegetables like peppers’.

“There are many people like him that are part of the documentary’s charm. It certainly isn’t there to mock - there’s a strong affection for the characters and their passion for growing. We believe this film is a real celebration of what makes Capel so special, both to us and also many of its residents.”

A warm, nostalgic look at the most British of past-times, Digging For Victory premieres at Ipswich Film Theatre, 7.30pm, on December 2. Tickets are £3 and are available from www.iftt.co.uk

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