Meeting Local Hero producer Iain Smith and director Bill Forsyth
I was back with the Screen Machine at the start of November, celebrating two iconic Scottish productions as part of the cinema’s 15th anniversary.
Over the course of the previous few months I’d been planning (in association with Natural Scotland on Screen and BAFTA in Scotland) screenings of Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero and the BBC Play for Today, The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil, in locations heavily associated with the films as they celebrated their 30th and 40th anniversaries respectively.
For Local Hero that was in Mallaig and for Cheviot… it was Dornie, both on the West Coast of Scotland, and for both events we managed to secure the presence of key talent associated with the films – for Local Hero that was writer-director Bill Forsyth and producer Iain Smith, while for Cheviot… it was star and co-writer, Bill Paterson.
Post-screening Q&A with Bill Paterson
One of the objectives of the cinema’s 15th anniversary celebration was to stage events around the Highlands and Islands that would normally be prohibitively expensive to run. It’s rare for their to be film screenings outside the usual blockbusters in the cinema.
Screen Machine’s Iain MacColl with Bill Paterson
I also carried out post-film Q&A sessions with those involved and there was an opportunity for the 80-strong audiences to ask questions at both events.
Coverage from the Daily Record and The Herald helped give the Screen Machine some extra publicity, but the main purpose – to give the audience a great night out which didn’t require a trip to an Edinburgh or Glasgow cinema – was achieved that weekend.
It’s been a while since I had a chance to review a theatre production, so I was delighted when The National Theatre of Scotland got in touch to commission me for an article for a tour of David Greig’s Dunsinane.
Dunsinane is Greig’s sequel to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, so the NTS team were keen to feature a piece on sequels in various media, focusing mainly on films and books. A bit of research dug up the fact that there aren’t too many sequels to theatre productions in existence, something I ponder in the article.
The play has now finished its most recent tour but hopefully it’ll be back soon with a reprint of the rather lovely programme.
Today I was finally able to publicly announce a new project I’m working on in collaboration with the BFI and Edinburgh Filmhouse: Missing Believed Wiped (MBW) in Scotland.
I’ve long been an admirer of the MBW initiative at London’s BFI, which has been running for 20 years under the guidance of TV historian, Dick Fiddy.
MBW aims to help raise awareness of missing TV episodes in the press, before screening many of them at the BFI. I’ve known Dick for a few years after meeting him at the Edinburgh TV Festival and we’ve discussed the idea of bringing MBW to Scotland for a while now.
Earlier this year we had word from Filmhouse that they’d like to host the event and I appeared on BBC Radio Scotland today to announce that it will take place at the cinema on Sunday 1 December.
Among the episodes being shown are some 1960s Doctor Who, At Last the 1948 Show (a precursor to Monty Python), music show It’s Lulu and a once lost Sean Connery TV play from 1960, Colombe, which was discovered at the US Library of Congress a few years back.
We’ve also launched a search for missing episodes of Scottish TV series, including Para Handy – Master Mariner, Garnock Way and The Adventures of Francie and Josie – there’s more over on the Filmhouse website.
I’ll be helping to raise awareness of both the search and the December event and hope that this is just the first of a series of Scottish MBW screenings in Scotland.
There’s more from my radio appearance over on the Culture Studio podcast from today, 9 October.
If you’d like to know more about Missing Believed Wiped, feel free to get in touch.
As the title says, it’s been a busy fortnight for Scottish films, or rather the Scottish film industry. Of course, quite how much of an industry we have is worthy of debate, but for the purposes of this post I’m going to gloss over the intricacies.
Last week saw the release in Scottish cinemas of the excellent new Irvine Welsh adaptation, Filth, starring James McAvoy as a bent Edinburgh copper. I reviewed the film for the Edinburgh Evening News, giving it the newspaper’s first ever seven-out-of-seven review (I’m not entirely sure why it’s out of seven these days but it does mean it’s well worth seeing).
I also interviewed McAvoy for MovieMail and the film’s director, Jon S Baird, for ReelScotland, both of whom were delighted at the response around the country. The audio of my McAvoy interview is now live:
We’ve also got the release this week in UK cinemas of Proclaimers musical, Sunshine on Leith. I first reviewed the stage play back in 2010 and was intrigued to see how it would transfer to the big screen. The answer is very well indeed, and my review went up on the Evening News site a few weeks ago following the Edinburgh premiere.
Finally, this week’s Evening News column rounds-up the various Scottish films out now or coming soon.
Here’s hoping this run of good luck continues and we have a few more locally made films on the big screen in the coming year.
Last month I once again followed the Screen Machine on her travels around Scotland, this time visiting the islands of Coll and Tiree as part of the cinema’s 15th anniversary celebrations.
I’ve been co-ordinating a number of events since February, and the cinema’s first visit to Coll (population 200) and return visit to Tiree (population 800) after an 11 year absence, was one to record for posterity.
The film can now be watched over on the Creative Scotland website.
It was just over a year ago that I wrote about a new iPad magazine I’d worked on for the Highlands of Scotland Film Commission.
Earlier this year, I headed up to Skye to start work on issue two of the magazine, interviewing a number of local filmmakers and educators. I visited Sabhal Mòr Ostaig college to speak to staff, while Chris Young, producer of The Inbetweeners, discussed his base on Skye.
The app also features a look around Skye’s best filming locations and a few other features of interest to production teams planning to shoot in the area.
Alongside the written content, this issue includes some short video interviews I filmed/edited during the trip.
The magazine can now be downloaded for free over on iTunes for iPad and iPhone.
Recorded back in June at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, my interview with US film director, Noah Baumbach, was broadcast on the BBC Radio Scotland Culture Studio last Thursday.
Baumbach was in town for screenings of his latest low budget drama, Frances Ha, the story of a young New Yorker, Frances (Greta Gerwig), trying to find her way in the world.
The interview starts at around 25 minutes and should be on iPlayer until Sunday.