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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.