Anton Corbijn interview on BBC Radio Scotland

One of the finest films I saw at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival was the latest John le Carré  adaptation, A Most Wanted Man, starring the late, great, Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Director Anton Corbijn was in town to carry out some interviews and I was lucky enough to speak to him on behalf of BBC Radio Scotland’s Culture Studio. It’s on the BBC iPlayer (starting around 37 minutes in) for the next seven days and I’ll upload to my Audioboo page soon.

Covering Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014

The Edinburgh International Film Festival has been and gone for another year, 11 days of premieres, special events and assorted film madness that I’ve been covering for both BBC Radio Scotland and WOW247.co.uk.

As in previous years (it’s my seventh as press), I’ve been trying to see as many films as possible before interviewing members of the cast and production teams involved. I appeared live on the BBC Radio Scotland Culture Show on 19th June, with two packages being broadcast on the 26th June. My interviews with Cold in July director Jim Mickle and Braveheart star, Brian Cox, will be on iPlayer for a few more days.

I also filmed a number of videos for entertainment website WOW247, a spin-off from my old haunt at the Edinburgh Evening News. As well as attending the opening night film, Hyena, I spoke to Brian Cox about 20 years of Braveheart, met an ex-Hobbit by the name of Elijah Wood and spoke to Don Johnson about his latest film. Those videos, and a few more, can be watched via the website.

New interviews on the BBC

We’re lucky to have some fantastic film festivals here in Scotland, meaning I can head along with my (well, the BBC’s) trusty microphone and gather together various interviews for future broadcast on the Radio Scotland Culture Studio.

In February I was at the Glasgow Film Festival, where I spoke to director Richard Ayoade about his his latest film, The Double, and director Biyi Bandele and producer Andrea Calderwood about their latest production, Half of a Yellow Sun.

Both films were covered on the Studio on recent programmes, though only the latter is still available on the BBC iPlayer as I write this.

 

Discovering Wake in Fright

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“Have a beer, mate?” It was in January that I first saw 1971’s Wake in Fright at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse cinema, a near-forgotten Australian drama that has now been rediscovered and rereleased.

The film charts a weekend in the life of schoolteacher John Grant (Gary Bond), who visits the outback town of Bundanyabba and finds a kind of Hell waiting for him.

It’s an astonishing film and I’ve no doubt that it’s place in cinema history is been re-evaluated as thanks to this new release.

To mark its return to cinemas and arrival on Blu-ray, I was asked onto the BBC’s Culture Studio to discuss the film, a 10-minute segment that’s on iPlayer for the next week.

I was also able to interview Wake in Fright’s director, Ted Kotcheff, for film retailer, MovieMail.

Finally, I wrote about the film for my Edinburgh Evening News column, recommending everyone tries to catch it at Filmhouse from tomorrow.

Writing the guide to Tremors

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It’s taken a few years of procrastinating and a year of carrying out interviews, but I’m finally ready to announce that I’m in the process of writing my first book, all about giant underground worms…

A few years ago I had a feature published in SFX Magazine all about the Tremors film franchise, starring Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward (in the first one at least). With the first film due to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2015, I’ve been waiting for someone to write the definitive book on all four films and the TV series, but nobody has.

I’ve now taken the job on myself and have interviewed a few dozen cast and crew from all Tremors incarnations for Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide to Tremors.

So, if you’re at all interested in 1990s horror/sci-fi/comedy/Western films that harken back to 1950s B-movies, please head over to the new Seeking Perfection blog or you can follow its progress on Twitter, Facebook or Google+, where I’ll be posting updates.

The book’s not due out until December, so hopefully you can put up with the posts till then…

Short Circuit feature in SFX

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It’s been a couple of years since I last pitched a feature to SFX magazine (that was Tremors in 2011), but I’m back in February 2014’s issue with a new article on 1986’s Short Circuit.

I carried out interviews with the film’s co-creator, SS Wilson, and director, John Badham, and discovered the origins of Johnny Five plus the behind-the-scenes battles to get the film from script to screen. The feature also examines the second film and looks ahead to a possible continuation of the franchise.

Both men were able to supply rare photos and design material from their own archives to help illustrate the feature, making it something special for Short Circuit fans.

The magazine, issue 243, is now available in the shops or it can be downloaded from the iTunes app.

Here are a few rare photos supplied by John Badham from the set of the first film, all copyright Bruce McBroom:

Preparing Johnny Five Ally Sheedy and Number 5 Multiple robots on set

Local Hero comes home with Screen Machine

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.

Bringing Missing Believed Wiped to Scotland

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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.

A busy fortnight for Scottish films

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.

New iPad magazine in iTunes

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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.

Chris Young video

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.

Noah Baumbach interview on Radio Scotland

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.

Revealing the secrets of Wikileaks

I’ve been quiet on this site for the last month or so, busy covering the Edinburgh International Film Festival for BBC Radio Scotland’s Culture Studio and the Edinburgh Evening News.

While my opening night EIFF review is online, my interview with its star Felicity Jones aired on the BBC a month or so ago, so is long gone from iPlayer.

Last week saw another of my interviews air, this time with the director of Wikileaks: We Steal Secrets, a look at the facts behind the muddled story of Julian Assange and his infamous website. I spoke to Alex Gibney for around 10 minutes ahead of the film’s Edinburgh premiere, and a few minutes of that was broadcast from around the 22 minute mark.

Much Ado about Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon at Glasgow Film Festival

Joss Whedon at Glasgow Film Festival

As a long time fan of Joss Whedon’s work, be it Buffy, Angel, Firefly or any number of other projects, I was delighted to get the chance to interview him for this week’s Culture Studio on BBC Radio Scotland.

He was in Scotland to promote his latest film, Much Ado About Nothing, and he explained how he came to make the Shakespeare adaptatation with a group of friends from his numerous films and TV series.

The interview begins at around the 1 hour 39 mark on iPlayer.

Byzantium feature on BBC Culture Studio

Gemma Arterton

Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan and Neil Jordan are three of the team behind new independent horror film, Byzantium, which opened in the UK last week.

I interviewed the two actresses and director at the recent Glasgow Film Festival and the end result ended up on the BBC Culture Studio last Thursday. The episode is still on iPlayer for another few days.

My interview with Joss Whedon, director of the upcoming Much Ado About Nothing, should be broadcast in a week or two.

New BBC Culture Studio reports

Jason Isaacs

Last November I was sent by BBC Radio Scotland to North Queensferry, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, to attend filming of the second season of detective drama, Case Histories.

My interview with actor Jason Isaacs was transmitted today on the BBC Culture Studio – you can hear the segment from around 1 hour and two minutes in.

I was also on the show yesterday with a report from the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, the building where the great and the good gather each year for the Cannes Film Festival. You can hear my interview with Philippe Octo from around 9 minutes in.

I was in Cannes back in January while compiling my Côte d’Azur Film Traveller blog, which I’m still publishing at the rate of one blog post per week.