Tag Archives: Screen Machine

Local Hero comes home with Screen Machine

28 Nov
Meeting Local Hero producer Iain Smith and director Bill Forsyth

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

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 Patersonq

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.

Filming on Coll and Tiree

12 Sep

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.

Launching Screen Machine’s 15th anniversary

3 Jun

Screen Machine, Scotland's mobile cinema, visits Edinburgh

I spent last Thursday beside the Scottish Parliament with Screen Machine, Scotland’s mobile cinema, as it made a rare visit to the capital for its 15th anniversary launch.

As Project Coordinator for the anniversary, I’ve been working for the last few months on a programme of activities around the Highlands, Argyll & Bute, North Ayrshire and Western Isles, with a series of special screenings and one day film festivals currently being prepared.

As well as showing some independent and short films, the cinema will visit a number of new islands, including Eigg and Rum, and will make a return visit to the Orkney islands of Sanday, Stronsay, Westray and Hoy.

News of our first anniversary film, We Are Northern Lights, the crowdsourced documentary, hit the papers at the start of last week, while our Parliament visit saw Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, help launch our new programme. Children from Bruntsfield Primary came along to watch some short films on the cinema.

I was on the BBC Culture Studio today to discuss the project and there should be more in the national and local press as the year goes on.

Head over to www.screenmachine.co.uk/sm15 to find out more.

Celebrating rural cinema with Screen Machine 15

7 Mar

Screen Machine at Gruinard Bay

Last year I wrote a few posts about my work with Scotland’s mobile cinema, the Screen Machine, which takes the latest films to remote and rural areas of Scotland throughout the year.

My role was mainly to manage social media and promote the cinema in the press, including getting out and about around Scotland to make some short videos about the Screen Machine’s work.

Screen Machine on Mull from Screen Machine on Vimeo.

Aware that 2013 was the 15th anniversary of the cinema, I began working on an idea for a year of celebrations which would allow us to attempt to do more with the programme. While the Screen Machine is about to break its own box office records in 2012/13 thanks to titles such as Brave and Skyfall, there’s never been an opportunity to carry out the sort of special screenings and film events that are taken for granted in large towns and cities.

Now, after a successful application to Creative Scotland’s Public Engagement fund, I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be I’ll be devising, organising and helping to deliver a series of film-related screenings, events and education workshops around the Highlands and Islands as part of what we’re calling “Screen Machine 15″ – there’s more detail on the website.

It’s still early days for the project but things are moving apace behind the scenes, with the full programme available in May.

Bravely visiting the Highlands with Screen Machine

3 Aug

It’s been a while since I got to spend some time at my favourite cinema, the Screen Machine, the UK’s only mobile cinema, but it happened last week when I headed up to Eilean Donan Castle for a special screening of Disney-Pixar’s Brave.

Creative Scotland and VisitScotland wanted to take Brave to the village of Dornie following the LA, Edinburgh and Inverness premieres, offering local schoolchildren the opportunity to see the film a week before its Scottish release.

I took my video camera and iPhone along to film the event and to spread the word on social media channels, resulting in the following short film and around 100 photos over on the Facebook page (and soon the Flickr account).

Brave Premiere at Eilean Donan Castle from Screen Machine on Vimeo.

I also published some interviews from the recent Brave press junket on ReelScotland, with Robbie Coltrane and Kevin McKidd featured in one and Kelly Macdonald in the other. There’s some audio from the latter interview in there as well, in which she corrects my abysmal attempt at saying ‘jings, crivvens, help ma boab’…thanks Kelly…

Screen Machine on Mull

6 Apr

Last month I made my way to the Isle of Mull with Scotland’s mobile cinema, the Screen Machine, to capture its arrival on video at the small ferry of Fishnish and hear what local residents had to say about its regular visits.

I want to tell you a Storify

15 Jan

I ended 2011 the same way I started 2012, with a story. To be more precise, in December I had something to say about a year in the life of Screen Machine, Scotland’s mobile cinema that I’ve blogged about a few times here, and I needed a good way to tell it.

The answer was Storify.

For those who haven’t heard of Storify, it’s a tool that allows users to curate social media posts from numerous accounts, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo. It’s free to set up and easy to use, so it seemed perfect for my needs.

With numerous stories in the press, video published, comments on Twitter and other mentions for Scotland’s most unusual cinema, I spent a few hours looking back through my work around the web and ended up with the aptly titled Screen Machine: 2011 year in review post.

The success of that post led me to pull together another one this month, detailing the online reaction to the repeat of a 1974 BBC Play for Today, The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil, on BBC ALBA.

While repeats of old TV shows don’t usually cause much of a stir, this one was quite rare, and I wrote about it on ReelScotland just ahead of the screening. When the number of page visits and tweets went through the roof, and I led a live Twitter commentary of the screening, I collected the most interesting responses into another Storify.

The result, Twitter reaction to The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil on BBC ALBA, has already notched up almost 250 views, while my embedding of the post on ReelScotland has itself had many hundreds of views.

I spend a lot of time on Twitter trying to sift through a mass of dross for the best information, and being able to present that to my own followers, or those of Screen Machine or ReelScotland, in a concise way is going to become more important. Hopefully I’ll have another opportunity to use Storify soon.

Screen Machine behind-the-scenes videos

9 Oct

Last week saw the second of my new Screen Machine videos go live on Vimeo, both of them filmed recently on Arran during the cinemas visit.

The brief here was to both interview senior operator, Iain MacColl, about his work on the cinema and to show how Screen Machine is set up, a question often asked by the 25,000 visitors who attend each year.

Both videos have had a positive response, mainly on Facebook from some of our 2,000+ followers. Let me know what you think.

Screen Machine + classic films = success Galore

4 Oct

Whisky Galore

Back in July I wrote about some of my work with Scotland’s mobile cinema, The Screen Machine, which sees me managing the Machine’s social media presence and PR. With the promotion of an upcoming tour of 1940s film, Whisky Galore, the cinema is back in the news again.

We may have over 2000 Facebook fans and a growing Twitter presence, but nothing beats the traditional press release to generate some buzz around a project, particularly one as exciting as Screen Machine taking Whisky Galore back to Barra, where it was filmed in 1948.

Within a day we had news items on the BBC, STV and Stornoway Gazette websites, plus news items in the Daily Mail and other print publications. I also started some discussion on Twitter, inviting film fans to suggest other famous Scottish films that should be taken to locations around the country.

The response was fast and good fun, with some interesting ideas coming from all over the Twittersphere.

Screen Machine locations

Screen Machine locations

The buzz has continued over subsequent weeks, with a new competition recently added to the main website, offering a tour of the Scotch Whisky Experience and DVDs of the film.

Most importantly ticket sales are strong and the response from attendees positive, hopefully ensuring more special screenings in the coming year.

Listen to the BBC Film Programme’s trip to see Screen Machine on Barra on the BBC iPlayer.

ReelScotland and Screen Machine on BBC Radio Scotland

11 Aug
Senior Screen Machine operator, Iain MacColl, in action

Senior Screen Machine operator, Iain MacColl, in action

The team at BBC Radio Scotland invited me back on the Movie Cafe today to discuss a couple of my current projects, Screen Machine and ReelScotland.

First we talked about Scotland’s mobile cinema, Screen Machine, a project I’m currently working on for Creative Scotland. The cinema’s senior operator, Iain MacColl, was on the line to Janice Forsyth to talk about his long-time involvement with the cinema, before some interviews I took on Arran a few weeks back were broadcast. I  then added some thoughts on the importance of cinema to communities in rural areas.

Part of the Arran visit was to shoot some video of the Screen Machine for the YouTube channel, but while that continues to be edited here’s a shorter version I cut for ReelScotland’s YouTube channel:

The other reason for me being there was to talk about ReelScotland’s recent placement in The List magazine’s Best Scottish Websites feature, coming 10th out 30 sites, more recognition for the site which is doing well in its second year and which I’m developing some new ideas for.

The show is available on BBC iPlayer until Thursday 18 August and the above segments begin at around the 26 minute mark.

 

Developing Screen Machine’s online presence

18 Jul
Screen Machine in a Highland scene

Screen Machine in a Highland scene

Along with my work for Park Circus which I mentioned last week, I’m also working on a major multi-website project for the national leader for Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries, Creative Scotland. One strand of this sees me heavily involved in developing the online presence of Scotland’s only mobile cinema, Screen Machine.

Screen Machine is an 80-seat digital cinema which has been taking the latest films to remote and rural areas of Scotland since the 1990s. In my role of Web Producer, I’m tasked with managing the development of the main website and associated social media, including a fast growing Facebook page and a popular Twitter feed.

I’m also effectively looking after the press office for the cinema, with a series of press releases written and distributed to Scottish media over the last few weeks tying into the social media work.

The first major release centred on the arrival at the Screen Machine of a Grey African Parrot and its owner at a screening in Brodick on the Isle of Arran. I became aware of the story via a post on the Facebook page and followed it up with a press release, which was picked up by STV’s Entertainment website, in turn spawning a Twitter hashtag, #aparrotinacinema, which asked people to suggest bird-themed movie titles and which propagated the story around the web.

A hashtag frenzy on Twitter

A hashtag frenzy on Twitter

The last fortnight has seen the cinema pushed even further around the web thanks to a visit to Bettyhill, a village on the north coast of Scotland, which the cinema last visited almost a decade ago, just before a cinema opened in Thurso (which has now closed). News of the trip was picked up by BBC Online, The Northern Times and The John O’Groat Journal.

Screen Machine on BBC News Online

Screen Machine on BBC News Online

BBC Radio Scotland’s Movie Cafe also featured the story and I was interviewed by Inverness-based radio station, Moray Firth Radio, both of whom have loyal audiences around Scotland.

At a time when we’re constantly told how important online is for getting the message out to customers, it’s important to remember that old-fashioned print media still has a major place in the lives of readers, particularly in remote communities.

Getting this story into The Northern Times could mean that we’ve reached more people in Sutherland than a tweet or a Facebook update and, although I’ll be doing a lot of work to build our online presence, I’ll also be ensuring we keep Scotland’s print media and radio stations well informed of Screen Machine’s progress for the forseeable future.