Quintessence: <noun> the most perfect or typical example of quality or class; the aspect of something regarded as the intrinsic and central constituent of its character.

Quintessence Films is an independent production company based in the South-West. Established in 1987 by film-makers Matthew Lingard and Robin Toyne, we are strong believers in the enduring power of stories - and how people who perceive themselves to be ordinary often have extraordinary stories to tell.

Our work covers a broad range of genres including observational documentary, history, wildlife, food, education, drama, corporate communications, community productions and much more.


A High Wire Act

The ground-breaking span of the first Severn Crossing earned British engineers a reputation as world leaders in bridge design.  Half a century on, a dedicated team battle the elements to maintain the iconic steel structure and keep traffic flowing, no easy task when you’re suspended above the dangerous tidal currents of the River Severn. Our film on the bridge that linked Wales and the West, co-commissioned by BBC Wales and BBC West, is being transmitted on the 50th anniversary of the bridge’s opening…
“The Severn Bridge at 50: A High Wire Act”
17th September, 7:00pm, BBC2 


Award winner

German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, Sidney Bernstein’s seminal film about Nazi death camps received its first theatrical screening at the BFI in 2015 and has subsequently been shown all over the world. Quintessence produced two accompanying films shown before and after the documentary to provide a context and rationale for the emotionally challenging content. The films recently won a Special Award at the Focal International Film Awards and are due for DVD release via the BFI later this year.

Back Stage Pass

Making it as an actor is tough...  Quintessence has been behind the scenes at the renown Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, following 'the class of 2015' through their last four months at drama school.  Their story is told in the documentary "On Stage at... the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School" was transmitted on BBC1 West on November 9th 2015.

St George's Cares

St George's Hospital Trust is one of the largest teaching hospitals in the UK and currently the location for Channel 4's popular series, '24 in A&E'. As with many NHS trusts they have they have a problem recruiting and retaining staff and so invited Quintessence to produce a short brand/induction film to promote the Trust to potentitial employees at home and overseas.

A Picture Tells a Thousand Words

Discovering a forgotten collection of 18,000 photographs of the Welsh Valleys, photographer Jon Pountney goes in search of the stories behind the images, learning about life in the Valleys in the 1960s and 70s and solving the mystery of the man behind the camera. Our documentary "Forgotten Images of Valley Life" was recently transmitted as part of BBC1 Wales' Valleys' season.

A Blanket Around Your House
Ever thought of sticking insulation on the outside of your house?  That's what householders are trialling in Bristol, European Green Capital, 2015. Bristol City council commissioned Quintessence to produce a short dcumentary-style film showing the benefits of this innvative environmental scheme.
Lasting Memories
As part of national dementia campaign, we were commissoned by Southern Brooks charity to work with a group of year 7 pupils at Patchway Community College in Bristol to produce a short film about dementia awareness. Initially, we did a series of filmmaking workshops with the students who then filmed their meetings with a group of people with dementia at a local memory cafe. The film shares the expereinces of students and dementia sufferers and has been screened at number of events and on the web.
The Mayor With The Red Trousers

George Ferguson: architect, entrepreneur, environmentalist and, since 19th November 2012, Bristol’s first directly elected Mayor.  From maverick outsider with a distrust of authority to the most powerful man inside Bristol City Council this is the story of George’s rollercoaster first year as Mayor. 

"...a very good watch. Entertaining, funny and you also learn from it.  Not always easy to achieve when making a film about a politician"  
"a classy film..." "makes me proud to live in Bristol" .
These were just a few of the many positive reviews from viewers our film “The Mayor With The Red Trousers” that took a 12% share of the TV audience when shown on BBC 1 on Monday 18th November. Although initially broadcast in the BBC West region, we have had interest from BBC 1 and BBC 4 for a network screening in 2014. 

Bluesmen Don't Really Sing About Their Grandmas

Our pilot for a film on singer/songwriter, storyteller and contemporary troubadour Rory McLeod is on You Tube.  Rory on travelling, family and one man bands is at: 

Whatever the Weather

We have been commissioned by BBC West to produce a 30' documentary on our year of adverse weather: "2012 - A Year of Crazy Weather." For the first time ever we're hoping for bad weather on shoot days!

Acting My Age at the UK Film Festival

Our polemic on attitudes to age authored by Dudley Sutton has been selected for the 2012 UK Film Festival and is screening at the Aubin Cinema, Shoreditch on 15th November.

Quintessence on the web

Please follow links to recent Quintessence projects available on the web.
A short documentary for the Guardian about the history of famous Bristol cutters sailing ships entitled "Seeking to the Westward" film is at...

Our film about maternity care at Kings College hospital is available on Youtube at...
Ricky Valance - My Voice is My Life

BBC1 Wales, Sky 972 and Virgin 864: Tuesday 24th April, 10:35pm. (And on BBC i-player until April 30th). The opening film of a new series "They Sold a Million", our film tells the story of the first Welshman to have a number one... 52 years on. His fans may be aging and the venues may be smaller but he still takes to the stage, determined to prove he's more than one song.
The First Welshman to Reach Number 1...

How does it feel to be defined by one monster hit when musically and personally your life is so much more? Production is underway on our portrait of singer Ricky Valance. After 51 years in the business Ricky has an extensive reportoire to choose from but there's one song the audience always expects to hear and that Ricky is obliged to perform: the 7 million selling single Tell Laura I Love Her, his number one. Filming on the Costa Blanca and in the South Wales valleys our film, commissioned by BBC Wales, will be transmitted in early summer 2012.

Pint Sized or Super Sized?

Transmitted on BBC1 Wales on July 28th, this documentary on the future of the Welsh dairy industry was the catalyst for a passionate debate on BBC Radio Wales.

Outstanding Views

Quintessence have recently completed a series of short films for Overlooking the Wye, a Heritage Lottery Funded body tasked with restoring, preserving and interpreting sites along the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

First Steps

NCT classes are all very well but if you've ever wondered what was really involved in giving birth at hospital then our recent film about Kings College Hospital Maternity Unit might prove helpful. This engaging 10-minute film provides advice and personal insights on the birth experience from the perspective of midwives, consultants, breast feeding counsellors and new parents.

The Future of Agriculture

Production is underway on a 30 minute documentary to be broadcast on BBC1 Wales on 28th July at 22:30.

"Acting My Age"

This film has been selected for the 27th Warsaw Film Festival, 7th - 16th October 2011. Screenings can also be booked through the website. info@quintessencefilms.co.uk