People, Place and Pie

We love a bit of Olde London here at East 15 Films, little corners of the old school people and places, the history of buildings and beings and the throwbacks and relics. So when the opportunity came up to shoot a promotional video for Arments, one of London’d oldest Pie and Mash shops, in Walworth South London, we jumped at the chance, as we knew these shops had a long and powerful story behind them, and were always full of character.
From the off we were keen to approach this in a documentary style frame of mind, to observe and reveal who and what and why this place was, whilst also promoting the commercial strengths of the business, its USP, and getting more bums on seats in the restaurant itself.

After lengthy discussions with Cheryl, the marketing driving force behind the company, the brief was sweet and strong. To promote the traditional alongside the modern, the local and the global; increasing local customer numbers by capturing the quality food and old school atmosphere of the restaurant, and to expand long distance custom by explaining the simplicity and efficiency of their UK wide overnight delivery service.

We couldn’t wait to get started, and at 4am a week later, we strolled up the Walworth rd and turned into Westmoreland rd to see a beacon of light and activity in an otherwise sleepy street. Arments’ Bake house heats up in the early hours every day to make the dough for the pies and to prep the rest of the the lovely little bites of history to be found in a Pie and Mash shop. To be honest with you, it didn’t need Martin Scorsese to capture the love, care and quality of this traditional food, it pretty much shot itself.

The same can be said of the overnight delivery service. Arments were quick to jump on the nationwide delivery opportunity as well as the Uber eats type local service, and you could see the operation was second nature to them by now, slick, fast, well organised, and most importantly, the food was great quality that turned up on time.

Now for the story. Arments has a rich history, being in the area since 1914 and on the verge of being passed from 3rd to 4th generation. I sat down beforehand with Roy, the current owner/manager and sketched out the loose history of the shop, making small notes of key events that we needed to have in. These acted as signposts during the later recorded interview, but I wanted to leave as much space as possible for Roy to be natural during this, to be free to divert into his own fond memories and to see his emotions as he spoke about what is clearly an extremely important part of his own history. The notes should help, not hinder.
Roy spoke passionately and professionally about the business and where they saw it heading, and at that point I was comfortable that we had captured all but one part of the brief, which was the atmosphere of the shop. As anyone who has been luckily enough to spend time in a Pie and Mash shop, the atmosphere is unique. Kind of a cross between a restaurant, pub, street market and working museum, the noise and the smell and the steam combine to produce an energy that is contagious.

It seemed beforehand that to capture the people coming through the doors who helped create this atmosphere was going to be no easy job. Pie and Mash is a bit of an in and out job, most people spend less than half an hour in there for a little pick me up before an afternoon of shopping or heading off down the football. And they want to eat in that time and soak up the space, so it gave us a very small window to explain what we were doing, get them to like us enough to agree to speak to us, and to complete the actual interview.
But as I said, the energy of the place is contagious, and its open, welcoming and laid back vibe seemed to absorb us into it like we were regulars. The characters were all sorts, old and young, and without trying to be too cliche, there was definitely an air of cockneyness to the shop. People acted with confidence, chatted to strangers around them, spoke loud and laughed even louder, and took the mick out of each other. They were smiling and having a lovely time. There were no airs and graces, just good people eating honest food and enjoying it.

And they were more than happy to talk to us and the cameras, they were proud of what they regarded as their shop, their home away from home, and the love they had for the place rolled of their tongues in a way that only talking your absolute truth really can. This was user generated content in its original form, and we felt this customer authenticity was key in depicting the atmosphere and the characters, and to gently encourage new customers to walk through the door and be a part of that.

Hearing the word ‘community’ a lot, the last piece of the puzzle was to place Arments within its wider setting, within its context of the surrounding area. We could have gone off and shot cutaways of the local market, the high road and faces that walked the street. But we felt more powerful than that would be aerial shots of Arments within the architecture of this part of South London. And when the drone took to the sky, we were not disappointed. The bright blue shopfront of Arments stood out like a beacon within the rows and rows of terraced housing, estates and light industry. It really was a centrepiece of its community, physically and spiritually. And in the distance were the lego-like new builds of Elephant and Castle and the reflecting skyscrapers of the City beyond, a reminder that while most things change, Arments, and it’s community, remains.

Have a look on our Promo portfolio page to see the finished promotional/doc we produced for Arments, and if you, you’re brand or organisation would like to discuss how we can help you through video/images, then please do get in touch.
Mitch Panayis, Director East 15 Films


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Paul

    I’ve been going to Arments for years, their pie and mash is the best one in south London.

  2. Lainey Edwards

    Love this! Will defo be paying Arments a visit with my family!

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