Big screen debut in A Dangerous Game

A-Dangerous-Game

That headline is perhaps slightly misleading, in that I’ve not appeared in Anthony Baxter’s latest film, A Dangerous Game, but some footage I filmed has. Let me explain…

Between 2011 and 2014 I was lucky enough to be involved with Scotland’s finest cinema, the Screen Machine, a mobile unit which takes films to some of the most remote areas of the country. It’s a brilliant concept and I helped raise awareness of the venture, win sponsorship/funding, start an education pilot and carry out a few other tasks before funding ran out in April this year.

One of the films we screened was Anthony Baxter’s explosive You’ve Been Trumped, which investigated the Scottish Government’s decision to change environmental laws to allow US tycoon, Donald Trump, to destroy some of the Scottish coastline to build a golf course. The millions of pounds he promised to invest never materialised and the story of Trump’s intimidation of the residents made for compelling viewing.

As part of my job, I filmed the cinema in action around the country, most notably on the isle of Mull and on the islands of Coll and Tiree (you can see the videos below). When Anthony got in touch to ask if we had any footage of the Screen Machine for his latest film, for a sequence illustrating where the first film had been screened, I was happy to send over my raw footage.

Some of that footage has ended up in A Dangerous Game, which is now being released in UK cinemas. Admittedly it’s only a few seconds, but I’m happy to be part of the film, which looks at where things are now with Trump and his Scottish investments. I also spotted my name in the credits for “additional camera”, so that IMDb entry can’t be far behind.

Find out more about the film over on the official website and watch the trailer below, before having a look at the Screen Machine in action (and if you’re ever heading to the Highlands, visit the website to see if you’re anywhere near it, tell them I sent you):

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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.

Set jetting on the Côte d’Azur

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Back in January I mentioned that I’d just returned from a 10-day trip to the Côte d’Azur as a guest of the local tourist board, who were keen to highlight the region’s film connections to potential visitors.

Since then I’ve been putting together a new blog, www.filmtravellercotedazur.com, which will see me cover the trip via blog posts, photos and video content over the next few months.

Filming near the village of Eze

Filming near the village of Eze

The blog launched in Paris a fortnight ago (I sadly couldn’t make it to the event), with the following, slightly tongue-in-cheek, trailer announcing our plans:

There are plenty more towns and villages still to come on the blog and it’s been fascinating researching the numerous film connections since my return home.

Along with my 2012 tour of locations used in the Disney-Pixar film, Brave, it’s been a good time for set jetting.

Edinburgh Festivals coverage 2012

It’s that time of year again in Edinburgh, when you can’t walk a few paces without someone thrusting a Fringe flyer in your face and posters of comedians you vaguely recognise from the telly are plastered everywhere.

Though it’s been a few years since I reviewed Fringe shows for the Edinburgh Evening News, in my Thursday column I have had the opportunity to promote film-related events, including 10 Films With My Dad, An Appointment with The Wicker Man and The Beta Males’ Midnight Movie Theatre.

I was also invited by the Edinburgh International Festival Backstage team to be interviewed for a short video about film music in theatre, alongside EIFF Artistic Director, Chris Fujiwara, and acclaimed composer, Shaun Davey:

Cinematic Scotland launched

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle

I’ve been busier than usual this month with the launch of a new film website, Cinematic Scotland, one that also includes elements of travel journalism.

The idea for the site has been around since late 2011 and finds me collaborating with ScottishCinemas.org’s Gordon Barr and BudgetTraveller.org’s Kash Bhattacharya as we cover film locations and cinema history in Scotland.

Our first two projects launched within a few days of each other. Firstly, we collaborated with the National Library of Scotland on a new map to accompany their Going to the Pictures exhibition. The free map allows visitors to take a trip around the centre of Edinburgh, spotting filming locations and cinemas, past and present, as they go. The map was also reprinted in the Edinburgh Evening News and can be downloaded as a PDF.

The second project tied into the latest Disney-Pixar film, Brave, which is set in the Scottish Highlands. Although the film is animated, the filmmakers did travel to various part of the country in 2006 and 2007 on research trips and I attempted to follow in their footsteps along with Edinburgh tour operator, Rabbie’s.

I headed to Inverness, Ullapool and the Isles of Lewis, Harris and Skye and the result was a series of blog posts, photos on Flickr and YouTube videos that described the tour, with a number of tweets allowing people to follow my progress. I also wrote about the trip on BudgetTraveller.org.

It’s not my first attempt at travel journalism, following some recent work for Guardian Travel, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to do more of the same soon.

It’s still early days for the site but we are working on more projects which we hope will bring Scotland’s cinematic connections to life.

TCM Classic Film Festival 2012

I was back in LA in April for the third annual TCM Classic Film Festival, watching another impressive line-up of movies that have stood the test of time with some of the cast and crew who made them.

Before I went I wrote about the 2011 Festival over on the Guardian Travel website (you can also read a round-up of last year’s coverage elsewhere on this blog), trying to explain why TCM is more than just a chance to watch films on the big screen.

I also covered the Festival for the Edinburgh Evening News once again, wondering if Edinburgh could take over from Hollywood before looking at the cinemas themselves in LA and San Francisco.

While I was in LA I caught over a dozen special screenings and met some fantastic people, many of whom have been viewers of the US TCM channel for many years. I’d been commissioned by Cinema Retro magazine to write a follow-up report of my festival, which was published in May.

Some of the people I met at 2011’s TCM were the team behind the excellent Cinementals blog, who allowed me to write about a film festival closer to home last week. The 2012 Edinburgh International Film Festival will be screening a retrospective strand dedicated to Hollywood director Gregory La Cava and I interviewed EIFF artistic director Chris Fujiwara for the Cinementals.

Finally, I wanted to experiment with the iMovie app on my iPhone earlier in the week and decided to use some photos from TCM to do so. It’s not the best video you’ll see on the Festival but here’s the experiment

New ReelScotland video interviews

February found me putting together a handful of new video interviews for ReelScotland to promote a new film and a new Scottish play based on a film.

The 2012 Glasgow Film Festival finished tonight and one of the new films screened was Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy starring Scottish actor, Adam Sinclair. I was approached by the PR team behind the film in 2011 about interviewing Sinclair atop Edinburgh’s Oloroso restaurant which resulted in a video on Sinclair’s entry into acting and a second on Ecstasy:

The second pair of videos were created to promote new play An Appointment with the Wicker Man, based on the classic British horror film, The Wicker Man. I met with the play’s co-writer and star, Greg Hemphill, along with co-star Jimmy Chisholm during rehearsals, with both interviews now on YouTube: