If you’ve watched a movie or television show which features snow scenes the chances are they were made by a world-leading company based in Ebley.
Snow Business was founded in 1983 by Darcey Crownshaw, who hit upon the idea of using paper to make the snow, rather than some of the more toxic substances that were used in the industry at the time.
“When I first came into the industry the product I had, quite by chance, was paper which is biodegradable. In those days films were being made using polystyrene, formaldehyde, and salt – all of which were not good for the location,” explained Darcey.
The company has put a great deal of emphasis on their eco-friendly credentials and use plant-based biodegradable snow effects. Darcey believes this will keep the Snow Business at the forefront of what they do for ‘decades to come’.
“We are the gold standard of snow in the film industry and the plans are to stay there, and get even better than we currently are,” added Darcey.
Snow Business currently has more than 300 types of snow effects and is constantly refining and inventing new types – often out of necessity.
“Each film has its own little challenges. The Muppet Christmas Carol needed smaller flakes of snow for the scenes with the rat Muppets, so we had to invent smaller snow. The Muppet snow was too big for Thomas the Tank Engine so again we had to invent a smaller snow.”
Snow business employs 13 full-time members of staff at the Snow Barn and is generally working on two or three films at any one time with a team of freelancers. The barn dates back to 1721, initially used as a linseed oil mill, and then a number of other uses until it fell into disrepair in the 1980s. It has been home to Snow Business since 2001 and now has its own snow cave and cinema.
The company’s list of movie credits includes world-famous movies such as The Day After Tomorrow, Narnia, Notting Hill, Gangs of New York and Snow White and the Huntsman, to name but a few.
Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet was a memorable production: “It was the most challenging job I’ve ever been on because of the sheer size. We had 200-acres to cover with snow, and we weren’t allowed to drive on the grass and that made it a really challenging job,” said Darcey.
Pictures and video by Matt Bigwood