This short independent film tells the story of a family-run British business and their struggle to preserve the magic of Christmas for thousands of children, as their site in Berkshire moved into lockdown last year.
Mike and Alison Battle, Founders of LaplandUK, explain: “The pandemic crisis and its effect on our business has been biblical, we faced challenges at every twist and turn. We vowed to do everything to keep our experience alive and we pulled out all the stops to put on one last show before lockdown hit us last year. We feel that we have a responsibility to preserve the precious relationship between Father Christmas and the children who visit LaplandUK.”
The film, which was directed by Josh Williams and produced by Nancy Ryan at Black Dog Films, documents the way the LaplandUK team pulled together; aware of the herculean task they needed to complete and the ever shortening timeline.
“When Nancy first approached me about the LaplandUK project, it felt fated – this was clearly a documentary made for me – my friends have always come to me in December for Christmas joy – I’m the most Christmassy person they know. I’m one of 5 and an uncle 11 times so it’s a big deal! I’m obsessed with Christmas, the films, the music, the food but most importantly the message. I get very emotional thinking about it – Christmas is the one time of the year where we reflect on what and who we care about the most. It’s not about the presents, it’s about the caring and the love we give to each other and how we are able to show it. It’s the most selfless time of year and that is something so special that I think the whole world has really focussed on throughout the pandemic. What and who really matters to them.
I think the Lapland Doc is a story of hope, bred through pure passion for the experiences of children at Christmas time, but also the joy of being together as a family in an age where parents are so very busy. When they enter LaplandUK, work, stress and technology is left behind and it’s been so magical to witness the pure joy involved in this experience. “ (Josh Williams, Black Dog Films)
LaplandUK was created fifteen years ago by the Battle family, originally for their own children, but then launched as a business venture. To date, three of the Battle’s four sons now work for the company and they are the UK’s most successful Christmas experience.
LaplandUK strives to be an ethical and sustainable business, Mike and Alison Battle add: “, You won’t find any single-use plastic or resin on our site, and we build the experience from scratch each year, and then take it down – leaving no trace in the woodlands. We come at this as parents, we know how important the attention to detail is, but also as a business that strives for good in every way. Our 700-strong staff includes West End performers whom we were able to support with paid work throughout the pandemic, local residents and a diverse and talented community, bound together by a common goal to make LaplandUK the stuff of children’s memories for a lifetime.”