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.

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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.