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the scottish screen industries magazine

dec - feb 2009/10 bafta scotland awards | crying with laughter | tiff festival | birds eye view | africa in motion | fast romance

Front cover image:


Robert Carlyle and Daniela Nardini at the BAFTA Scotland awards 2009

editorial Hello and welcome to the winter edition of Roughcuts magazine. The eagle-eyed amongst you will already have noticed that the picture of Linsey Denholm has been replaced by my own rather doleful-looking visage. While I was delighted to step in and edit this edition of Roughcuts in her place, my first duty is to thank Linsey for her work on Roughcuts over the past few years. Under the guidance of Celia Stevenson, Linsey’s hard work, good humour and industry savvy helped the magazine move with the times, expanding its range, introducing the dynamic and colourful new publication you’re currently holding, and providing a vital focal point for Scotland’s key media personnel to discuss and promote their work. This winter edition looks back on a number of success stories from 2009, and looks forward to 2010. We feature the glamour and glitz of the BAFTA Scotland awards, and provide a platform for some of the film-makers involved to discuss their experience, including Best Film winner Crying With Laughter. This current edition also features reports from the successful screenings of Valhalla Rising in Venice and Toronto, and reports from Martin Smith and Britt Crowley who attended the TIFF Talent Lab. There’s also fresh features on Fast Romance, One Day Removals and Book of Blood, plus reports on Cheltenham Screenwriters Festival, Sheffield Documentary Festival, Africa in Motion, The Bird’s Eye Film Festival and more. And we highlight the successful practice behind ventures like Clarity, Young Films, Axis Animation, the South West Screen Commission, the Scottish Screen Archive and more. Thanks to all who gave us their words, pictures and time to such good effect.

reopen again in 2010, ensuring that the change-over to Creative Scotland will be a smooth transition, avoiding any delay in supporting tomorrow’s film productions. 2009 marked a number of significant changes within the media, with increased emphasis on online distribution methods, contracting DVD and television markets, and as a consequence, reduced budgets on a worldwide scale. Yet in the face of this contraction, there is also expansion, with BAFTA Scotland recording the highest ever number of submitted features (eleven in all) and new funds like the Digital Media 4IP Fund and the Vital Spark looking forward to facilitate new and exciting projects designed to suit the new opportunities this changing terrain offers. The New Year is traditionally a time to take stock of the past year, and while 2009 saw the ‘credit crunch’ cause widespread financial instability, there’s plenty of reasons within the pages of this magazine to encourage us to face the future with optimism. People consume more media than ever before, cinema audiences are up, and there are growing opportunities for the entrepreneurially minded to invest in new media technologies. In 2010, Roughcuts will continue to adapt to the evolving outlook of Scottish film, television and media practitioners, providing a vital point of contact through which we can share our experiences. Enjoy the magazine, and let’s hope for a prosperous 2010 for us all. Eddie Harrison Editor.

The outlook for 2010 is substantially less grim than my profile picture would suggest! This year saw substantial feature film-making activity in Scotland including David Mackenzie’s The Last Word, Kevin Macdonald’s The Eagle of the Ninth and Neil Marshall‘s Centurion. Scottish Screen has already allocated the £1.7m of National Lottery funds it has at its disposal for film production for 2009/10, and the Content Production Fund will

Published by: SCOTTISH SCREEN | 249 West George Street | Glasgow | G2 4QE | UK e: | w: | t: + 44 (0)141 302 1700


contents 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10-11 12-13 14-15 16-17 18 19 20-21 22 23 24-25 26-27 28-29 30-31 32 33 34-35 36-37 38-39 40-41 42-43 44-45 46 47

Investment Awards Call For Entries Media News BAFTA Scotland Awards Crying With Laughter TIFF by Martin Smith and Britt Crowley Valhalla Rising by Karen Smyth Cheltenham Screenwriters Festival Sheffield Documentary Festival Bird’s Eye View Africa In Motion Wasted One Day Removals by Mike Clark Fast Romance by Coleen Willoughby Book of Blood by Micky MacPherson Clarity by Carina Wilson Arctic Ring at Cartoon Forum mediaco-op at Baltic Sea Forum Silverdocs by Peter Gerard Southwest Screen Commission Report Coming Out of the Tunnel by Chris Young Scottish Screen Collection by Ann MacDonald 30 Years of the New Entrants Training Programme Colin And Cumberland by Richard Scott Location(s) of the Month Calendar Encounters by Jennifer Armitage

investment awards

Between Sept and November Scottish Screen has made the following investment awards.

INVESTMENT AWARDS OPPORTUNITIES FUND Project - Colin & Cumberland Company - Axis Animation Ltd Amount - £1,500 Meeting Date - 08/09/2009 After successfully presenting Children’s TV show Colin & Cumberland at the Cartoon Forum in Germany last year, Axis Animation was awarded funding to take the project to the Ludwisgburg Lounge at Cartoon Forum 2009 to secure the remaining funds for production. Project - Reykjavik Talent Campus and Nordic Panorama Company - Imagine Pictures Ltd Amount - £1,285.50 Meeting Date - 08/09/2009 Adrian McDowell and Finlay Pretsell were selected to attend the Talent Campus of Reykjavik International Film Festival. A programme packed with workshops, films and master classes, to further their careers as filmmakers. Project - Market Visit to MIPcom 2009 Company - Visible Ink TV Ltd Amount - £1,500 Meeting Date - 30/09/2009 The newly enhanced development team at Visible Ink TV were awarded funding to renew, explore and discuss their codevelopment and co-production potential and partnerships with existing foreign production companies, and to network with broadcasters and distributors worldwide. Project - Venus As A Boy Applicant - Morag McKinnon Amount - £375 Meeting Date - 06/10/2009 Morag McKinnon was awarded funding to attend the New Cinema Network Production Market at Roma International Film Festival with feature film project Venus As A Boy.

Project - Screen International Film Summit Company - Sigma Films Ltd Amount - £468 Meeting Date – 06/10/2009 Anna Duffield was awarded funding to attend the Screen International’s Film Summit in October 2009. Project - Sheffield Doc/Fest and MeetMarket Company - True TV & Film Ltd    Amount - £517     Meeting Date - 20/10/2009 Barbara Orton was awarded funding to attend Sheffield Doc/Fest to progress her company’s projects, especially the new I Nearly Died Laughing TV Series. Project - Sheffield Doc/Fest Company - Scottish Documentary Institute Amount -  £1,500     Meeting Date - 20/10/2009 Scottish Documentary Institute was awarded funding to attend Sheffield Doc/ Fest to represent Scottish documentary and the Institute. SDI hosted a Scottish breakfast event as well as representing the work of Scottish filmmakers. Project - Sheffield Doc/Fest and MeetMarket Company - Autonomi Ltd     Amount - £825   Meeting Date - 20/10/2009 Autonomi Ltd’s director and producer were awarded funding to attend Sheffield Doc/Fest MeetMarket 2009 to meet several broadcasters to discuss Autonomi’s work-in-progress, War and Football and other projects on their slate. Project - Encounters Film Festival Applicant - Julia McLean   Amount - £509 Meeting Date - 03/11/2009 Julia McLean was awarded funding to attend Encounters Film Festival in Bristol where her short animation, The Finger Trap was in competition.

Project - Encounters Film Festival 2009 Attendance   Applicant - Sam Firth    Amount - £500 Meeting Date - 03/11/2009 Sam Firth was given funding to attend the Encounters Film Festival where her short film ID was selected for official competition in the festival and in the Depict strand. Project - Alasdair Gray: A Life in Pictures Company - Hopscotch Films Ltd Amount -  £984 Meeting Date - 03/11/2009 Hopscotch Films was awarded funding to attend MeetMarket at Sheffield Doc/ Fest to engage with potential funders for feature documentary, Alasdair Gray: A Life in Pictures. The film is a portrait of Scotland’s greatest living writer filmed over the past ten years as he enjoys a late blossoming of his fortunes and critical success. Project - Kling Klang Company - Synchronicity Films Ltd Amount - £700 Meeting Date - 03/11/2009 Synchronicity Films was awarded funding to attend MeetMarket at Sheffield Doc/ Fest to engage with potential funders for feature music documentary Kling Klang. Project - Encounters Film Festival Company - Digicult Ltd Amount - £1,478   Meeting Date - 10/11/2009 Funding was awarded to Scottish Digital Shorts 2009 Filmmakers and Digicult’s Ciara Barry to attend Encounters Film Festival from 17-21 November 2009.

Cont over...


investment awards

INVESTMENT AWARDS cont AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT FUND Project - Diversions: A Festival of Experimental Film and Video Company - Edinburgh University Dept of Film / National Galleries of Scotland Amount - £7,155 Meeting Date - 01/09/2009 Diversions is a short festival of experimental film held in Edinburgh, including a study day on the subject of Film as Art, in partnership with the National Galleries of Scotland. Project - Cruel Weather: Recent Film/Video from the Arab Middle East Company - Peacock Visual Arts Amount - £6,085 Meeting Date - 22/09/2009 Cruel Weather showcases recent film from the Arab Middle East in a series of screenings, panel discussions and two workshops for young people led by two filmmakers from the region. A complimentary exhibition will be held at Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen. ‘Identities in Motion’ is a series of works by Ayah Bdeir that look to contemporise images of Arab identity, reinterpreting often archaic, frozen and homogenous imagery. Project - Bird's Eye View: Glasgow Programme   Company - Bird's Eye View   Amount - £5,000 Meeting Date - 22/09/2009 Bird's Eye View was awarded funding for a season of unique screenings, panel discussions, live musical performances to classic silent films and training opportunities that celebrate women filmmakers, support Scottish talent and create a forum for discussion and networking. Project - French Film Festival    Company - French Film Festival Ltd   Amount - £5,000 Meeting Date - 22/09/2009 The French Film Festival UK has for nearly two decades been the only festival dedicated to French Cinema in Scotland. It achieves its aim by screening new French films in local cinemas and supports the festival’s impact by inviting film professionals from France to meet the general public.


Project - Document 7 Company - Document Festival Amount - £6,000 Meeting Date - 06/10/2009 Document 7 Festival was awarded funding to screen over 60 outstanding national and international documentaries dealing with human rights issues bringing people from the widest possible demographic to a unique and vibrant event. Project - The Magic Lantern    Company - The Magic Lantern   Amount - £15,050    Meeting Date – 20/10/2009 The Magic Lantern was awarded funding to continue to exhibit the very best in Scottish short films, whilst working with a range of like minded partner organisations and to continue presenting thematic programmes and retrospectives, as well as curating the shorts weekend at Glasgow Film Festival in 2010. Project - Kill Your Timid Notion   Company - Arika Ltd      Amount - £15,000 Meeting Date - 03/11/2009 Kill Your Timid Notion is a leading international festival exploring the nexus of experimental approaches to moving image, sound and art via screenings, performances, installation and a broad range of engagement activities.

CONTENT PRODUCTION FUND (SHORT FILMS) Project - Believe Company - Young Films Ltd   Amount -  £450 Meeting Date - 21/10/2009 Young Films Ltd was awarded supplementary funding to create a subtitled show print of their short film Believe for international film festivals.

CONTENT DEVELOPMENT FUND Project - The Boy From Georgia   Company - Media Co-Op Ltd    Amount - £8,651   Meeting Date - 22/09/2009 Funds were awarded to further develop the international co-production The Boy From Georgia, a creative feature length documentary intended for international markets. The film is based on an emotional human journey, filmed in Scotland and the Republic of Georgia, that investigates the ‘charitable impulse’.

TALENT DEVELOPMENT FUND Project - Entertainment Master Class   Company - Entertainment Master Class    Amount - £15,000 Meeting Date - 22/09/2009 Module 4 Reality, Documentary and Factual Entertainment Formats is the fourth of four modules of the Entertainment Master Class, the Format Academy for Entertainment Television. Funding was awarded for three applicants who will attend the EMC Module in Norwich.    Project - Scottish Digital Shorts 2010     Company - DigiCult Ltd Amount - £75,000 Meeting Date - 21/10/2009 DigiCult will run the digital filmmaking initiative Scottish Digital Shorts for a second year. With an open call for submissions, SDS 2010 will bring together 12 new and emerging writer/directors to form a talent pool from which four short form projects will be commissioned for production and delivery in 2010.

call for entries

CALL for ENTRIES DIGICULT SCOTTISH DIGITAL SHORTS 2010 DEADLINE: 14 DECEMBER 2009 DigiCult is now open for submissions to Scottish Digital Shorts 2010. Application and guidelines are now available for Scotland’s short film initiative for live action drama and animation. To download these please visit: W: Scottish Digital Shorts 2010 will gather together a group of new and emerging writers and writer/ directors with the vision required to develop a strong range of short films that can surprise, delight and mesmerise film audiences in Scotland and internationally. They’re looking for strong ideas with potential as short live-action dramas or animation. Scottish Digital Shorts 2010 will identify up to 10 individuals from a range of backgrounds all sharing a passion for film. The 10 successful applicants will enter a period of intense development and training, working with producers and script developers. From this pool of filmmaking talent, up to four short films will be commissioned and go into production in 2010. The short films will be completed by August 2010. Each film will have a budget of between £14,000 and £20,000. For further information, please visit: W:

EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2010 EARLYBIRD DEADLINE: 14 DECEMBER 2009 REGULAR DEADLINE: 1 FEBRUARY 2010 LATE DEADLINE: 15 FEBRUARY 2010 The 64th Edinburgh International Film Festival will take place from 16-27 June 2010. The Festival is internationally regarded as a focus for discovery, a celebration of cinema, a centre of debate and a catalyst for new films. EIFF is committed to screening high quality new short and feature film and video work in all genres from around the world.

HOT DOCS 2010 EARLY BIRD DEADLINE: 18 DECEMBER 2009 FINAL DEADLINE: 15 JANUARY 2010 Submissions for Hot Docs 2010 are now being accepted. The Hot Docs 2010 Festival takes place from 29 April - 9 May 2010 in Toronto, Canada. For further information and guidelines, please visit: W: festival/submission/

There are three ways to submit your entry: Online through the EIFF website at: W: Download a form from the EIFF website and post it, or via Withoutabox at: W: Please note all submitted films should be no more than 12 months old by June 2010 and EIFF requires at least UK premiere status. For further information on EIFF rules and regulations, submission fees and FAQs, please visit the website: W:

PANAMINT CINEMA Now available from Panamint Cinema, two great new DVDs for Christmas and New Year. An Edinburgh Christmas (PDC2016) filmed at St Mary's Cathedral Hogmanay with the Whistlebinkies (PDC2044) as seen on Channel 4


MEDIA NEWS media news

MEDIA Funding I2i Audiovisual The i2i Audiovisual scheme supports production companies that bear the costs of bank financing and/or associated insurance and completion bonds costs. It offers a grant to cover up to 50% of the following costs, capped at €50,000 per project: • Module 1 - Insurance Costs 
 • Module 2 - Completion Guarantee Costs • Module 3 - Financial Costs (the interest on a loan) In order to be eligible companies must present a signed credit agreement, insurance contract or completion guarantee for the project. Companies can apply for more than one module for the same film, unless it is possible to obtain the maximum of €50,000 under one module. The minimum allocation is €5,000 per project. The following categories of programmes are eligible, for theatrical release or television, one off or series: • Fiction with a minimum duration of 50 minutes • Animation with a minimum duration of 24 minutes • Creative documentary with a minimum duration of 25 minutes. To be eligible a film or programme must be European. Deadline of 5 February 2010 - for projects that have started between 1 July 2009 and 5 February 2010 i.e. the credit agreement with the bank or financial institution has been signed within that period and the first day of principal photography has not taken place before 1 July 2009. Deadline of 7 July 2010 - for projects that have started between 1 January 2010 and 7 July 2010 i.e. the credit agreement with the bank of financial institution has been signed within that period and the first day of principal photography has not taken place before 1 January 2010.  Development – Single Project Single Project Development funding is aimed at companies who have produced at least one previous project which has been distributed recently, and who now wish to invest in the development of another project. The applicant company must have been registered for at least a year. The company must be able to provide evidence that they have completed, as the majority producer, a previous work in one of MEDIA’s eligible project categories (see below). This work must have been commercially distributed since 1 January 2007. MEDIA’s eligible project categories: • Fiction (one-off and series, minimum duration 50 minutes) 
 • Creative documentary (one-off and series, minimum duration 25 minutes) • Animation (one-off or series, minimum duration 24 minutes)  Up to 50% of the development budget submitted with the application is offered as a non-repay-


able grant
. Matching funds (in cash) are the responsibility of the applicant. Grants of €10,000 to €60,000 are available, with the exception of animation feature-length projects for cinema release for which a maximum of €80,000 is available. Deadline: 12 April 2010 Development – Slate Funding Slate Funding is aimed at medium-sized companies which have experience at an international level and the financial capacity to contemplate and support the simultaneous development of several projects. The applicant company must have been registered for at least three years. The company must be able to provide evidence that in the five years prior to submission they have completed and internationally distributed, as the majority producer, two previous works in one of MEDIA’s eligible project categories. MEDIA’s eligible project categories: • Fiction (one-off and series, minimum duration 50 minutes) 
 • Creative documentary (one-off and series, minimum duration 25 minutes) • Animation (one-off or series, minimum duration 24 minutes)  Up to 50% of the development budget submitted with the application is offered as a non-repayable grant
. Matching funds (in cash) are the responsibility of the applicant. Slate funding supports three to six projects. Grants of €10,000 to €60,000 are available for each project. The total amount of support per slate is from €70,000 to €190,000. Deadline: 12 April 2010 Development – Interactive Projects Interactive Projects Development funding is aimed at companies who have produced at least one previous interactive project which has been distributed recently, and who now wish to invest in the development of another interactive project which complements an audiovisual project. Digital interactive content specifically developed for at least one of the following platforms: • Internet • PC • Console • Handheld device • Interactive television. The digital content must complement another audiovisual project in one of MEDIA’s eligible categories. MEDIA’s eligible project categories: • Fiction (one-off and series, minimum duration 50 minutes) 
 • Creative documentary (one-off and series, minimum duration 25 minutes) • Animation (one-off or series, minimum duration 24 minutes) This digital content must also present: • Substantial interactivity with a narrative component
 • Originality, creativity and innovation against existing works. A company can submit up to two projects per Call for Proposals. Up to 50% of the develop-

ment budget submitted with the application is offered as a non-repayable grant
. Matching funds (in cash) are the responsibility of the applicant. Grants of €10,000 to €150,000 are available. Deadline: 12 April 2010 TV Broadcasting The TV Broadcasting scheme aims to help European independent production companies produce a television programme (in principle not intended for theatrical release) with at least three European broadcasters attached. Television programmes, must belong to one of these eligible MEDIA categories: • Fiction, minimum duration 50 minutes
 • Creative documentary, minimum duration 25 minutes (per episode)
 • Animation, minimum duration 24 minutes  A grant of up to 12.5% of the production budget, capped at €500,000 is available for fiction and animation projects and up to 20% of the budget, capped at €300,000 for creative documentaries. Deadlines: 5 March 2010 and 28 June 2010 Audiovisual Festivals This scheme is designed to support film festivals that programme at least 70% European content, and can be used for support towards costs such as subtitling, translation, catalogue printing and travel costs for professionals accompanying a film at the festival. Festivals starting between 1 November 2010 and 30 April 2011 should apply for the deadline on 30 April 2010. Access to Markets This scheme supports organisations that propose events and activities (including computerbased information tools) designed to promote European audiovisual works and facilitate access to markets for European professionals. Promotional events and activities applying for funding must address one of the following topics: • Action 1: Access to markets for European professionals • Action 2: Promotion of European audiovisual and/or cinematographic works before and / or during the production phase • Action 3: Computer-based information tools on the audiovisual and cinematographic industry, intended for professionals • Action 4: Common European promotional activities. First deadline of this Call for Proposals on 7 December 2009 is for events (Actions 1, 2 and 4) starting between 1 June 2010 and 31 December 2010.  The second deadline on 30 June 2010 is for annual activities in 2011 relating to computerbased information tools on the audiovisual and cinematographic industry (Action 3), and for events (Actions 1, 2 and 4) starting between 1 January 2011 and 31 May 2011.

Selective Scheme This scheme is designed to facilitate the transnational distribution of European films. It aims to encourage distributors to release films that might be a challenge were they to be supported by market forces alone. Distributors wishing to distribute one or more non-national European films must form a grouping, co-coordinated by the film’s sales agent or the producer, which will set out to release the film in several European territories. Deadlines: 1 April 2010 and 1 July 2010

MEDIA Networking IndieLisboa 22 April-2 May 2010, Lisbon, Portugal IndieLisboa is a prestigious event where the public and industry guests are introduced to the most recent and interesting works of independent cinema from all over the world. The main aim is to discover new films and new directors of independent cinema. Keeping its attention on the author’s creativity and independence, IndieLIsboa has become the most important Portuguese festival. Deadline to submit a film: 22 January 2010 Stockholm International Film Festival Junior 19-24 April 2010, Stockholm, Sweden Stockholm International Film Festival Junior aims to give young audiences from 6-16 years old an opportunity to see films which are not available through mainstream distribution, and to inspire youngsters to use film to express themselves. The programme is rounded off with a series of film workshops for youngsters as well as meetings and seminars for professionals. Deadline to submit a film: 23 January 2010

MEDIA Training Script&Pitch Workshops 2010 Script&Pitch is an advanced development course for European scriptwriters and story editors. It lasts ten months, and can accommodate 20 participants from all over the world (15 scriptwriters and 5 story editors) who will follow the whole scriptwriting process, from the generation of ideas and structuring of the material through a first and second draft up to a final pitch in front of a group of international producers and sales agents. Deadline: 15 December 2009 Dates and Sessions: various workshops during 2010 in various European locations Participation fee: ∈2000 For further info please contact or visit the website at www.

media news

INSIGHT OUT/HFF Academy 2010 The media market is developing at such a rapid rate that it is increasingly difficult for professionals to keep up-to-date with the development of new digital tools.  INSIGHT OUT offers a yearly update on the latest technology equipment.  It provides practical examples of the workflows employed in recent digital productions and gives insight into creative choices filmmakers are facing in a world of bits, bytes and pixels. Deadline: 7 January 2010 for scholarship applications Dates and sessions: 22-26 March 2010 in Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany Participation fee: 5 days: before 31 January 2010 €950, thereafter €1200 3 days: before 31 January 2010 €650, thereafter €800 One-day Workshop: €120 / students €80 For further information please contact contact@ or visit MEDIA Salles DigiTraining Plus 2010 The course is a blend of lectures on burning issues, such as the present position with regard to standards and the availability of digital content, the identification of business models that have already been tried out or are being adopted in Europe and the prospects for 3D, with visits to cinemas that use digital projection and talks by well-known international professional players.

SOURCES 2 Script Development Workshop 2010 SOURCES 2 is advanced training for European Film professionals working in the field of script and story development. Workshops consist of a seven-day session followed up by either a small group session or an individual consultation of one day per project. The workshops focus on feature-length film projects for both cinema and television which address a broad international audience. During the workshops, experienced script advisors provide professionals with a range of tools to improve their writing skills and to develop their projects to their best potential. Deadline: 1 March 2010 Dates and Sessions: 2nd Workshop: June 2010, FilmCamp, Northern Norway Participation fee: €1,800 per writer/project and €900 for each additional person committed to the project (cowriter, director, producer) Fees include accommodation and meals during seven-day residential workshop For information please contact info@sources2. de or visit the website at

Deadline: 12 January 2010 Dates and sessions: 17-21 February 2010, Helsinki, Finland Participation fee: ∈750 and covers tuition, teaching material, accommodation and meals For further information please contact or visit ETMA: Postgraduate Diploma in Media Management ETMA covers a variety of topics ranging from an introductory module on media business (market analysis), corporate finance, media law and regulation to leadership and international management, giving participants the opportunity to view the media from the perspectives of business administration and economics. It lasts for 13 months, offering four one-week seminars in Strasbourg, France, each of which is followed by a three months distance-learning phase. Deadline: 15 January 2010 Sessions and Dates: all sessions in Strasbourg, France Seminar 1: 13 to 17 February 2010
 Seminar 2: 15 to 19 May 2010
 Seminar 3: 4 to 8 September 2010
 Seminar 4: 4 to 8 December 2010 Participation fee: ∈15,000 plus VAT For further information please contact or visit

For any further information, please do not hesitate to contact MEDIA Antenna Scotland on 0141 302 1776.

Alternatively, you can also email us at or visit our website: MEDIA Antenna Scotland operates with the kind support of Scottish Screen and the MEDIA Programme of the European Union.



Joe Tree, Blip foto

Bill Forsyth Crying With Laughter

Terry Pratchett Team

Robert Carlyle

Sir Jeremy Isaacs with Jon Snow

Gray O'Brien with Darren Hercher, Sighthill Stories

Life of a Pigeon

Patrick Doyle

BAFTA Scotland Awards The stars of Scotland’s film, TV and digital industries were out in force on Sunday 8 November for one of the biggest events of the year, the BAFTA Scotland Awards. The 2009 Awards saw political satire In The Loop win for Acting Performance in Film for its star Peter Capaldi, the directing prize went to Armando Ianucci and the writing in film award went to In The Loop’s team of Ianucci, Jesse Armstrong and Simon Blackwell. Lorraine Kelly hosted the ceremony which also saw Hollywood actor and current Stargate Universe star Robert Carlyle take to the stage to collect his prize for Acting Performance in Television for his work in The Unloved. Comic revenge thriller Crying with Laughter won the award for feature film while New Town took the prize for Entertainment Programme, with New Town star Daniela Nardini collecting

the female prize for Acting Performance in Television. Other winners included Flock! for new for 2009 category best game. Special awards this year were given to Bill Forsyth for Outstanding Contribution to Film and Sir Jeremy Isaacs who was honoured for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting. David Jones, co-founder of Rockstar North and founder of Realtime Worlds, won Outstanding International Achievement in Digital Media, while composer Patrick Doyle was awarded the Robert McCann prize for craft.

Helen Anderson

By Helen Anderson Faces from film and TV graced the red carpet, with guests at the glitzy bash including Robert Carlyle, Gregor Fisher, Kevin MacDonald, Stella Gonet, Muriel Gray, Isla Traquair, Daniela Nardini, David Hayman, Aggie McKenzie, Kirsty Wark and Jon Snow. Taking place in the Glasgow Science Centre and with an audience of over 500, the award ceremony was broadcast live on the internet, allowing people all over Scotland, the UK and indeed across the globe, the opportunity to catch all the action and all the glamour!


David Jones

Gary Marshall and Matthew Marster, KNTV

Jeff Gunning and Robbie Zincheak, Flock

Patrick Doyle with Barbara Rafferty

Gregor Fisher, Rab C Nesbitt

This year’s awards saw the multimedia category split out into three new digital awards, sponsored by Scottish Enterprise and presented by its chief executive, Lena Wilson. This year there were three new awards for digital media-sponsored by Scottish Enterprise- reflecting the growing integration of new technologies into the moving image industries. Separate awards were given in Game, Web and Interactive categories, with Flock!, Blipfoto and Cybraphon winning respectively. Dundeebased Proper Games took the Game award with multi-platform herding game Flock!, photo journal website Blipfoto scored in the Web category, and the Edinburgh-

Armando Iannucci

Daniela Nardini with Muriel Gray and Neil Oliver

Gili Dolev with Mick Cooke, The Happy Duckling

Cybraphon, Simon Kirby and Ziggy Campbell

based Found Collective was awarded the Interactive award for their on-line, emotionally responsive robot installation, Cybraphon. Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise said “Scotland’s digital media sector has delivered success after success, with new and existing businesses demonstrating our country’s creative talent around the world," she said. "We have a lot to be proud of and a fantastic foundation of achievements to build on for the future.”

Panorama team

Annie Griffin

We had a wonderful evening at the Glasgow Science Centre. This has been a great night for the industry coming together and demonstrating the breadth of talent the country has. I hope tonight’s awards have inspired the winners, nominees and indeed new talent to continue making excellent work. To view this year’s awards log on to www.

Photography by Wattie Cheung. Except images of Annie Griffin - Michelle Dillon


inning the BAFTA Scotland award for Best Film turned out not only to be a wonderful surprise, but also a case of getting lucky after several attempts.

Crying With Laughter, the debut film from writer/ director Justin Molotnikov and our joint production company Synchronicity Films, has played at a number of festivals across the year enjoying nominations for Best Film at Dinard, best soundtrack at the World Soundtrack Awards and Best Film at London’s Raindance. Though critically well received every time, and superbly reviewed in The Hollywood Reporter, Empire and Little White Lies, the winning of ‘gongs’ had, until last week, eluded us. Indeed, so adept had we become at displaying our collective ‘cheerful but worthy loser’ expression, that when Lorraine Kelly declared the winning film as one exploring the ‘the seedy underbelly of standup comedy’, Team CWL assumed a mistake in the judges’ citation. I think that’s called, ‘not getting above your station’…

But it turned out not to be a night for hiding our light, and we were delighted to see the film recognised by our peers in Scotland. For a debut feature film, shot on a budget of less than £500,000 and in only 20 days, we felt confident from our first test screening that we’d made a film capable of delivering to an audience the very experience we’d set out to achieve - a film that could genuinely make you laugh one minute, and cry the next. Coating the contentious subject matter of paedophilia in black comedy, and kicking the film off with a foul-mouthed rant from acerbic character Joey Frisk (played by the talented Stephen McCole) were just two of several risks that we wanted to take with this film. And though not an easy watch in places, the film has consistently captured the imagination and attention of every

media film news

HLAUGHTER By Claire Mundell, producer

audience it has so far played to, including the enthusiastic French audiences in Dinard and no less than the festival’s special guest herself- Charlotte Rampling. The appeal of the film is in no small part due to the performances from McCole and fellow cast members Malcolm Shields, Andrew Neil, Jo Hartley, Laura Keenan and Michaiah Dring, but it is also undoubtedly down to Justin’s chosen method of immersive collaboration and the work-shopping of the story with cast, early on in the process. Moloters (as I mostly affectionately call him) cannot claim complete innovation for this technique, but he stands proudly next to more famous proponents, such as Mike Leigh and Robert Altman. The cast were always safe in his hands as he moulded the story, involving them in a way uncommon to most actors’ experiences of film-making and

making it a truly collaborative event for all. We have confidence in the process and we’ll be further exploring and refining it as we embark on another feature project with McCole –this time a dark mystery thriller about disconnected family called Blood or Water, in early stages of development, written and directed by Justin. And though the rest of our slate - a romantic comedy from David Solomons; an adaptation of Helen Fitzgerald’s best selling novel The Devil’s Staircase, and a landmark music feature doc – will use more conventional approaches, all of our feature projects have gained the benefit of our own increased confidence from the success of Crying With Laughter. This time last year, we were in our last week of prep before a three 6-day week shoot in

darkest winter; now we’re finalising UK and US distribution deals which will see Crying With Laughter released in the spring of 2010. Next on the festival circuit is the Rotterdam Film Festival in January. Thereafter we look forward to the selling of other territories around the world. It will be fun to see how translators across the globe reflect Joey’s colourful language in their respective native tongues…we’re wondering whether the phrase ‘Granny Fanny’ really translate into Greek?!

Toronto TIFF Talent Lab

Martin Smith with Karen Smyth

Martin Smith (right) with Danny Bolye

by writer/director Martin Smith In August 2009 I was told I had been selected for Talent Lab at the Toronto International Film Festival. My first assignment was to make a short film for it. Not something I had prepared myself for, as my next production was, I hoped, to be my first feature Fires. But this was Toronto, so who could say no? I banged together a script and managed to rope in the team from La Belle Allee and cinematographer George Geddes. Just Enough Doubt was shot over a two days with a young non-actor found 3 blocks from where I live. Within 2 weeks of being selected it screened in Toronto in front of my fellow Lab participants and our governors Danny Boyle, John Collee, Don McKeller, Miranda July and the TIFF Talent Lab Team. Our governors were to spend the next four days with us, morning noon and night, comparing notes, sharing stories, offering insights into their journey and hearing about ours. One of the most beautiful things about the Talent Lab experience is that it is a two-way dialogue. It isn’t just a stream of workshops or master-classes. The TIFF team are as keen to hear about the experiences of the Lab participants, to see what we are taking from the experience, and if it will inform our practice. It is pretty much impossible to describe the Labs in any depth in such a short space, but intense is probably the simplest way. Over the course of 4 days we had dialogues and classes from film-makers including Gaspar


Noe, Jane Campion and Jan Chapman, James Schamus, Niki Caro, Christine Vachon, Atom Egoyan and Ivan Reitman, Brian de Palma and Tilda Swinton. These were all really inspirational. But another huge part of the Lab experience is the bond you get to form with your fellow participants. Comparing notes, heated discussions on which film-makers inspired most; the debate went long into the night. My take on the classes was this: about a third of what you heard was genius, about a third was interesting, and a third I completely didn’t agree with. But to me the stuff that I radically disagreed with was just as important as the genius, because we were all there to form our own language and take from the Lab what was to inform our own film making. Then once the Labs were done we were unleashed on the rest of the festival. There was something of the superstar treatment for the Lab participants; TIFF had really taken us under their wing and seemed really proud of us, giving us the best possible chance to meet and greet the cream of the Toronto production talent. Highlights for me include hooking up with Harmony Korine, and his producer subsequently grilling me for a copy of my work, parties with the Valhalla Rising team, taking the red carpet in my kilt with my producer Karen Smyth, and endless meet and greets with potential coproducers for our feature. On our final day a press conference was held to introduce

the 25 Lab participants to the press where we were commissioned to make a further short film for the RBC Emerging Filmmakers Competition. The exciting part about that was it continues our relationship with Toronto, something we were all keen to hold on to. Talent Lab was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. Once I got back to Scotland, I took a week to type up my notes from the Lab. There really were too many positive experiences to describe. It was one of the most intense, exciting and informative experiences I have been through. It was like being hit by a tsunami of talent. I had a number of epiphanies, struck up some strong bonds and gleaned a lot of information that will become part of my film making language. Talent Lab really is the kind of experience that money couldn’t buy. Following the Labs I returned to Scotland and continued work on my debut feature Fires and looked forward to sorting through the mountain of cards and emails that I had from exciting and friendly producers and Lab participants. And then, there’s the small matter of another short film to make. Martin would like to thank Scottish Screen and the team at TIFF and the Talent Lab for making his trip possible.

film festival

Britt Cowley (left) with Tilda Swinton

by film-maker Britt Crowley Seeing your own film in a cinema for the first time can be really nerve wracking. But knowing that the likes of Danny Boyle, Miranda July, Don McKellar and Canada’s finest new filmmaking talent are also watching made me really nervous. I cringed as they watched the film I had made to introduce myself to the other Talent Lab participants. The Toronto International Film Festival Talent Lab 2009 consisted of 23 Canadians and two international filmmakers. I am proud to say that Scottish talent (Martin Smith and I) took both international places. As participants, we spent four days being mentored by writers, directors, producers and actors who were attending the festival with their own films.

I listened carefully as filmmakers shared their wisdom. The trouble was, each time I got an answer for the way to make a great film, the next person would contradict the person who spoke before them. For example, some directors use storyboards, some don’t. Some work with composers, some don’t. Some think actors should do what they want, others believe an actor’s every movement should be structured. The great thing is, all of these methods are obviously successful. So we learned there is a right way to make a film, but that right way depends on you. I was proud to be a part of the Scottish contingent at the festival. Valhalla Rising premiered to a packed cinema and it was well received by the audience. Several Scottish producers were also at the festival

seeking co-production. The Toronto Film Festival is well organised, friendly and prestigious. I hope next year more Scottish films and Scottish Talent Lab participants apply to continue Scotland’s presence at the festival. By the end of the Lab I wasn’t nervous like I had been in the cinema on the first day. I felt inspired by the Talent Lab and very fortunate to have been selected to take part. I’ve made some great Canadian contacts and I hope I will be able to work with some of them in the future. I’ve learned there are many ways to be a filmmaker and to make a great film.


talent development

Valhalla Rising Mads Mikkelsen, Marco Mueller and Nicolas Winding

Karen Smyth with Mads Mikkelsen

Karen Smyth with Roy

By Co-Producer Karen Smyth As far as fall season film-festivals go, Venice and Toronto couldn’t be more different. Attending them in quick succession for both the world and then the North American premiere screenings of Valhalla Rising, I was struck by the differences in the approach of both festivals and their fans. Set on the Lido, Venice is draped in style and old world romance; contained and formal. The tented film village alongside the beach where Dirk Bogarde sat dying to the strains of Mahler in Death in Venice, sits directly in front of the Hotel Excelsior where the festival’s stars descended the marbled staircase to sit on the terrace with their Aperol spritz’s. There’s a joyous old-style glamour to this festival, one of the longest established film events in the world. Toronto


on the other hand, represents everything the new world has to offer – modern, hip, grungy and desperate to give the finger to patronizing movie biz neighbours by doing things on a much greater scale than the Europe offers. Venice screens a mere 60 films to Toronto’s 250, with the latter containing a serious market vibe and a number of side events which recall the frenzied buyers’ atmosphere of Cannes and Berlin. This, as they say, is where the sharks swim. Valhalla Rising’s director Nicolas Winding Refn and our star Mads Mikkelsen were able to join me in attend both festivals. Mads was annoyed that he was shoehorned into a suit while Nicolas wore his auteur’s uniform of long shorts and socks at the red

carpet premier in Venice, so Mads took his revenge by wearing chinos to Toronto, which worked perfectly for me and most of the women there! The response to the film was also quite different – Venice screened late at 12.30am in the main theatre on the Lido… and failed to gain much buzz from a tired audience who struggled to get into the film given the last Vaparetto back to the main island was at 1am! It still didn’t stop the organizers treating it like a full blown premiere – and marching us down a red carpet as long as a supermarket aisle after having driven us from the hotel – which was a mere 100 metres away! We were all incredibly well treated – both by the PR agency and the festival – it’s a great experience to be picked up by Vaparretto

and sail to the airport – particularly after queuing patiently behind Viggo Mortensen as he and The Road director John Hillcoat waited behind Werner Herzog for their rides! We joked that there’s a glut of apocalyptic movies starring gorgeous Scandinavians this season. Must be something in the ether…. I had barely enough time to change my borrowed frocks before jumping on a plane to Canada for the North American premiere of the film. While Venice had the feel of a vanity screening, (our sales agents had already sold most of Europe even before the movie was complete), Toronto was all about that elusive America sale. Our screening took place on the first Sunday of the festival at the Ryerson Theatre, a 1000 seater, which

was packed out for the occasion. Nicolas and Mads introduced the film this time, and were rewarded with a huge round of applause. The film went down incredibly well and as we moved on to our after party – generously supported by Scottish Screen - we were delighted to see that our two key distributor targets were both in attendance, eyeing each other nervously over the canapés, but otherwise remaining tightlipped and cautious. Signs of the recession and the banking failure were everywhere – even big titles by well established directors weren’t moving and it wasn’t until the next day my coproducers from Nimbus were able to say that Wildbunch had effected a sale – IFC had bought the movie for an asking price which

delighted all of us! The icing on the cake was the fact that we were able to use the UKFC brunch the next day to announce that a film shot entirely in Scotland, with a majority Scottish cast and crew, a Scottish production company, and generously supported by Scottish Screen, was the first movie to sell at TIFF – four days after the start of the festival! Life doesn’t get much better than that, but the real icing for me was that a director I’ve been working with for three years, Martin Smith, was selected for the TIFF Directors lab, and after being mentored by some of the biggest names in the industry, vowed to come back with me next year – hopefully with another movie in the can.


screen writing festival

Screenwriters Festival in Cheltenham By Tim Nunn, co-founder of Reeling and Writhing ‘Welcome Wizards and Heroes!’ – so says Chris Jones, author of The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook and filmmaker, in his welcoming address to the 2009 Screenwriters’ Festival in Cheltenham. David Pearson, founder of the festival, had introduced him with the comment that Chris was the antidote to the credit crunch blues. And Jones’ just-do-it up-beat attitude certainly is enlivening. The moral of his address was echoed constantly through the next four days; however much money there is to spend it’s always about the story, dummy! Jones’ reference to wizards is part of his description of the roles we all take in the process of creating films. Coincidentally it seemed particurlarly appropriate they we were in the Cheltenham Ladies College venue for the festival. The Princess Hall in which we were all sitting has a stunning resemblance to the dining hall in the Harry Potter films. Oak lined with finely carved details, I expected to see candles floating down from the head table any second and for the roof to transform into a field of stars. But I managed to stop day-dreaming and listen to the speakers. Next up was Doug Chamberlain, who gets a special mention because I could barely stop myself storming the stage and giving him the biggest thank you hug ever. Why? Because he is one of writers of Toy Story 2 and therefore someone who has given me great joy. Sigh. Oh, and he gave a very entertaining description of the Hollywood machine and how decisions and careers are made. Having been officially welcomed we were now in festival proper. I should say that I was at the festival as part of a group of eight writers supported by Scottish Screen and the Scottish Arts Council. We’d been exchanging notes about different interests and at this point we all started to go our own ways to classrooms, lecture halls, cafes or smoking areas to absorb countless different forms of wisdom and advice. Over the four days I went into all


manner of sessions and I don’t think there were any that I didn’t come away with something from, especially from my position as newbie with ambition in screenwriting rather than actual experience. Particularly useful sessions were the full workshop with Chris Jones. As someone with experience as a producer in theatre, it was useful to hear about Jones’ process for producing short films and promoting his work internationally. For similar reasons a session with Robin Gutch (WarpX) and Mark Tonderai (writer/director) that charted Tonderai’s Hush from pitch to distribution was illuminating. For script development I enjoyed sitting in on a feedback session for applicants and participants in the Script Market of the festival. This seemed more applied than other sessions about the actual writing, and I certainly wish I had been in a position to go through the whole process with a script. Lastly I should mention the 'speed dating'. Five minutes each with three producers (or agents) to pitch film ideas and exchange business cards. My main memory of the experience was of sympathy for the producers - a big room with rows of tables and a bell followed by a jostling mass every five minutes. It was surreal and, I’m sure, eventually there will be a project or two come from it, but it felt a bit too much of a cattle market to me. The Festival is a great event, very productive and industry lead, and I would certainly recommend it. Hopefully Creative Scotland will continue support for visits from Scottish writers.

Andrea Gibb

by screenwriter Katy McAulay Film pitch fashion, the power of knowing thyself and how to get a complete stranger to give you 50 quid: things every aspiring screenwriter should know It started with a call to adventure. Earlier this year, Scottish Screen and the Scottish Arts Council offered support to send 10 writers to the Cheltenham Screenwriters’ Festival. I was one of those writers. Events kicked off in August with a workshop hosted by Scottish Screen in Glasgow. Festival Director David Pearson offered a range of preparation tips to ensure we’d get the most out of our time in Cheltenham, while producer Kevin Loader and screenwriter Andrea Gibb were also on hand to listen in and give sound advice as we discussed our projects. Ideas were honed, pitches polished, and then we were sent forth to prepare ourselves for the networking opportunities that lay ahead… The festival itself, which ran from the 26-29 October, also began with a call to adventure from writer/director Chris Jones, who should seriously consider a career in life coaching. Delivering his speech at breakneck speed and with enviable enthusiasm, he described how one simple aim – to make a short that would win an Oscar – helped him not only to engage the services of actors Devon Murray and Bill Patterson for his film Gone Fishing, but also to persuade more than 250 people to give him £50 in order to help finance it. His theory was that employing a similar level of determination could allow any one of us to be on the road to winning an Oscar within a year; an inspiring thought.

his first pitch meeting dressed to impress in a suit, he described how he quickly learned that while ‘normal logic’ had suggested to him that a writer should look professional, ‘Hollywood logic’ dictated that writers were, in fact, creative mavericks, and should dress accordingly. A baseball cap was particularly recommended. With a 'speed-dating' session lined up in which I’d be discussing my script with three producers the following day, I wondered if I should radically re-think my wardrobe. But there was little time to ponder such matters as the hours were easily filled with sessions featuring names such as Christine Langan from BBC Films, Simon Beaufoy and Peter Bloore, Film 4’s Tessa Ross, Armando Iannucci, and Kevin Loader and Matt Greenhalgh, who showed clips from his forthcoming John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy.

Bill Paterson

Of course, the methods discussed as possible keys to screenwriting superstardom – from writing around a low budget, to possessing the people skills vital to keeping multiple funding partners on side, to dabbling in novel writing, to choosing one very specific specialism and aiming to become an expert in it – were many and varied. But perhaps the best advice came from writer Simon Van Der Borgh, who suggested that the easiest route to success was to ‘know thyself’. After all, writing – as he very eloquently pointed out – is time consuming, it’s hard work and it’s immeasurably better when it’s done as a labour of love. If that’s the kind of adventure I’m being offered, then sign me up.

Moving from the possibilities of do-it-yourself filmmaking to the potential for making it big in Hollywood, another great session was that of Toy Story 2 writer, Doug Chamberlain, who gave valuable and amusing insights into the occasionally illogical world of the movie industry stateside. Speaking about how he turned up for


festival report


by Bridging The Gap’s Finlay Pretsell


his year it was a full turn out for Scottish Documentary Institute at Sheffield Docfest with Sonja Henrici, Noe Mendelle, Rebecca Day and myself in attendance. We had 3 short documentaries in competition this year: Peter in Radioland by Johanna Wagner, Unearthing the Pen by Carol Salter and The Space You Leave by James Newton, all screening before feature docs. After an incredibly successful run at international film festivals, Steel Homes was also screened this year. The biggest thing we noticed this year about Sheffield Docfest is that it’s grown so much over the past few years with over 1800 delegates in attendance from across the world. Every workshop, panel discussion and master-class was packed and overflowing. The films were very well attended too with fascinating Q&A’s. Docfest also had a record number of submissions for the annual MeetMarket where doc makers have the chance to pitch in individual 15 minute meetings with commissioning editors. Selections were made largely based on 1 min trailers, which form part of the application process. 61 projects and teams in total were selected out of over 660 submissions for the MeetMarket. The great thing about the MeetMarket is that it means there is a whole host of commissioning editors in town, easily accessible to make contact with for our very own forum, The Edinburgh Pitch, in June next year. Sheffield is an ideal place to network, catch

up on the changing television landscape for documentaries, and engage in the latest industry debate. It continues to champion newcomers who can easily mix with professionals, and all levels are being catered for. Docfest is renowned for its parties and this year was no exception! When you get the chance to roller skate in a roller disco and slurp vodka and oysters with the likes of Nick Broomfield and Kim Longinotto amongst a host of commissioning editors, it’s tempting to do this instead of watching the vast array of films in the programme; it is an excellent opportunity to mix with your heroes, while pursuing people with money to help make your next film in a very relaxed atmosphere. The highlight for me was seeing the acclaimed Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky for the first time on the big screen, and the makingof documentary Rerberg and Tarkovsky: The Reverse Side of Stalker. This is a filmmaker who gets constantly referenced and so far I had only ever managed to watch half of one of his films on DVD. I will definitely be making the effort to sit through more of them in the future! The film definitely stays with you, although it’s 3 hours long which didn't exactly fly by. The documentary gave a unique insight into what went on behind the camera in making Stalker and the massive conflicts behind it; Georgi Rerberg, a celebrated Russian director of photography, shot the whole of Stalker but was mysteriously left off the credits, (due to Tarkovsky


Another highlight for me was the Audience Award winning Junior by Jenna Rosher about a 98 year old mother and her 70-odd year old son Eddie who is facing blindness, living in New York. While starting off completely hilarious, it soon descends into a heart-wrenching story as the filmmaker follows the pair over six years. If there was a dry eye in the house before the director brought one of the main protagonists on stage for the Q and A, then surely the sight of Eddie would have started everyone off! It’s a hugely emotional film with massive heart and warmth. Other films which come highly recommended were: October Country, Winnebago Man, and opening film Moving to Mars. All this aside, our primary goal this year was to promote our latest Bridging the Gap call for entries more widely through our joint Scottish Breakfast with Scottish Screen. Although the breakfast didn’t have any haggis, black pudding or potato scones, the croissants, local sausages and bacon rolls went down a treat and we had a constant flow of people through the door of the spacious Yorkshire Arts Space. We screened the latest Bridging the Gap films and met plenty of potential applicants. Applications are available on

es Steel Hom

Peter in Radiolan d

Pen Unearthing the

reshooting the entire film), leaving his career in tatters.

The Space you Leave


bird’s eye view By Eddie Harrison, editor.

Rachel Millward

Annie Griffin

The Bird's Eye View festival returned to Glasgow in November with a fresh programme of special screenings and events, celebrating and supporting international women filmmakers. The UK festival’s CEO and Creative Director, Rachel Millward, founded Bird’s Eye as a short film event in 2002, and is now developing year-round activity including a national touring programme. Bird's Eye View is a dynamic, fast growing organisation determined to make a difference to the perception of women in the media, and in film specifically. With women comprising only 7 percent of

film directors, the festival is a welcome step to redress the balance. ‘One particularly interesting event is the screening of a silent feature, made back in the 1920’s, called My Best Friend, and starring Mary Pickford, who could be described as the Julia Roberts of her day,’ says Millward. ‘It’s a lovely romcom, and was accompanied by a live soundtrack, played by Jane Gardener on piano. We’d discovered the film as part of a BFI comedy retrospective, and took special interest because it’s a comedy led by a woman’ ‘In that period, there were lots more women, on screen and behind the camera, They had much more power in the industry until the coming of sound, which made film into much more of a big business,

and excluded women until quite recently, when directors like Jane Campion, Kathryn Bigelow, or Nora Ephron have brought about a small revival. This film is a reminder of how funny women can be on-screen, and a timely one too; the male domination doesn’t reflect that the majority of the audience are actually female.’ Millward has taken action about the lack of female comedy on-screen through the Bird’s Eye View Lab’s Last Laugh programme, which aims to create comedy writing partnerships, with three funded films in development from Judy Davies, Sally Phillips and the Green Wing writers teaming up with Lucy Porter. It may not quite re-create the heyday of Katherine Hepburn or Rosalind Russell, but it’s a start.

‘Glasgow’s programme at the CCA began with our short film showcase, which is the same one we used in London, and features a great selection of new international talent. There’s also a Q&A session with New Town creator and director Annie Griffin, a documentary filmmakers’ master-class multi award winning filmmaker Xiaolu Guo and a producers’ panel discussion on opportunities for women in film with top industry experts like Claire Mundell, and Karen Smyth.’ says Millward. ‘There was a real decline in women’s power as film-makers from the 1920’s onwards, and it’s only since the 1980’s that things are starting to improve. We want to do all we can to encourage that improvement, developing and promoting the best female talent.’

festival report

AiMing High While Africa in Motion is still very young, this fourth edition, which took place between 22 October and 1 November at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse Cinema and other venues, demonstrated the maturity the festival has reached within a short time. Run by a team of volunteers consisting of people passionate about the films, the continent and its people, AiM has grown consistently with an expanded programme and bigger audiences every year. Attendance figures were up with 50% this year, and feedback was invariably and overwhelmingly positive. This mirrors not only the growing interest worldwide in African arts and cultures, but also the quality and accessibility of African artists ‘shooting back’ at the West with creative selfrepresentations. Being an audience-based festival, AiM has always attempted to bring the diversity of African cinema to Scottish audiences, increasing access to and raising awareness of the richness of films from Africa. The need to update media stereotypes through the eyes of African artists confronts us with our own tendency to view Africa with


despondency while the films we screen at AiM tend to promote both realistic and idealistic images of hope for Africa’s future. The diversity of cultural production in Africa is clearly reflected in AiM’s programme: 55 films – including features, documentaries, shorts, animation and experimental work – from as many as 22 African countries, illustrating their amazing output. In the past three editions of the festival, a lot of attention was given to the classics of African cinema, to acquaint audiences with the incredible quality of the stories told, and helping to form a basis from which to move on to more contemporary and experimental genres. AiM09 did just that as most of the screenings this year were recent films, contemporary documentaries and new, inventive films from previously underrepresented regions. The festival opened on Thursday 22 October with a completely sold-out screening of the South Africa film My Secret Sky. There was a red carpet, drummers and dancers at the entrance of Filmhouse and goodie bags filled with African gifts. The film received a lot of attention as it was not only a UK

By Festival Co-directors Lizelle Bisschoff and

premiere, but has been hailed as South Africa’s answer to Slumdog Millionaire. The child actors, untrained and from an impoverished background, are astonishing, and the audience was clearly impressed with the story and the sheer beauty of the film. The screening was followed by a lively party in Filmhouse café bar, where we served South African wine, baskets of African snacks and a selection of township jazz curated by DJs from Soweto. The main thread running through the first half of the festival was cinematic representations of trauma and reconciliation in a pan-African context. As dealing with (post)colonial conflict and atrocities is a very recent psychological journey for many nations in Africa, films addressing the truth and reconciliation commissions and other ways towards peacemaking in Africa demonstrates a new and cutting-edge. A number of films and documentaries from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Liberia and Rwanda showed us the shocking truths but also managed to emphasise the ultimate optimism and possibilities towards peace and forgiveness that the directors see for the future.

cannes film festival

Tanzanian director Furaha Levilal

Mara Menzies entertained children at an African storytelling event

Africa in Motion's core team, from left to right: Kirsty Dickson, Jen Wood, Director & Founder Lizelle Bisschoff, Co-director Stefanie Van de Peer, Kari Ann Shiff

South African director Esdon Frost with Kari Ann Shiff (left) and festival director Lizelle Bisschoff

d Stefanie Van de Peer

The second half of the festival was devoted to contemporary dramas, comedy, biopics, sci-fi, thrillers, and a few amazing West African classics from Senegal and Burkina Faso. It was also the second year of our short film competition, our late night screenings over Halloween and screenings of African animation which all add to our off-kilter approach to African cinema and the ways in which we are introducing it to Scottish audiences. Screenings were, as always, accompanied by a variety of complementary events such as discussions, master-classes, Q&As, music performances and exhibitions. Highlights included the presence of Tanzanian director Furaha (meaning ‘happiness’ in Swahili) Levilal, who screened his documentary on President Nyerere, as well as South African directors Esdon Frost’s Q&A after the screening of his 1960 anti-apartheid film Notice to Quit! A few days after the closing of the festival we left on our Africa in Motion Rural Scotland Tour. This is an exciting new addition to the festival that aims to bring African films to audiences in the Scottish highlands and islands that do not otherwise have access to these films. We plan to expand this hugely successful experiment in future years, bringing more films to more rural

areas all over the country. The varied audiences in New Galloway, Isle of Skye, Drumnadrochit and the Shetland Islands have all shown tremendous support and expressed the wish that we expand the tour and return next year. We believe AiM’s aim of bringing the best of African cinema to Scottish audiences, initiated four years ago, is being fulfilled and substantiated. The relationship created with Filmhouse cinema is becoming stronger and the audience’s trust in the quality of the programme seems to grow each year.

background: Sold-out audience at AiM09 opening night


festival report

By Eddie Harrison, editor Having co-directed her first feature, Wasted with Stuart Davids, Caroline Paterson has been on a whistle-stop tour of Europe, bringing her back in time to celebrate a best director nomination at the 2009 Scottish BAFTAS. Catching her breath after a trip to Seville’s film festival, Paterson took time out to reflect on her journey with Wasted, which was co-financed by Scottish Screen, The Glasgow Film Office and the BBC. ‘It’s been great to fly to other countries and be respected for what we’ve done. At Seville, we were part of the New Brits strand, and had a gala screening there. They even asked me to make a speech,’ says Paterson. ‘There was the most fantastic buzz about the festival. John Hurt told me that he enjoyed what I had to say, and was looking forward to seeing the film. It’s all been fantastically chaotic, screenings and photo-calls from the moment we stepped off the plane. At one point, I saw someone with a hat on, and jokingly said, ‘that must be the Spanish Colin Farrell’. It actually turned out to be the real Colin Farrell!’ Rubbing shoulders with the glitterati of cinema’s elite was clearly a pleasure, but one which was achieved through the adversity of low-budget film-making. ‘It’s difficult to do these things on a small budget, we were even scrabbling for the cash to get posters to take over to Spain. And we also took the film to the Karlovy Vari festival in Prague, which was absolutely huge, like a rock concert for films, with audiences staying in an enormous camp-site and going to see five films a day,’ she says. ‘There were all these kids outside the screening, lying on carpets as they waited to get in, putting pen-marks on their arms to mark down the number of films that they’d seen. And we were overwhelmed to get to the box-office and find out that the film had sold out. The screenings turned out to be packed out, and with people who were really


interested in the film, the actors, and the whole story behind making it.’ Wasted is no overnight sensation; Paterson has been involved in a long process which as seen the piece evolve from the stage to shooting in an abandoned denim jeans factory in Glasgow. ‘I’m part of the company Raindog Theatre and a long time ago, about 15 years ago; we did a play about the underdogs of society. We decided to re-visit that sadness – we thought nothing much had changed. There were two characters in the original theatre show that were very interesting, two of the young characters, so we decided to make a film about them. We did a lot of research and found that, sadly, the situation in society is still the same, and in some ways worse.’ she says. ‘We got great help from some former addicts and also a lot of the people you see at The Mission and the Team Challenge Bus and from a lot of homeless people who are living on the streets. They were so kind and really opened up their lives to us, told us their stories. Some of the ex-addicts went into great detail with what they did with their foil and the basics of using drugs. Also, the people are based on real people and true stories we were told. It was heartbreaking to hear some of the young people who were there and what was important to us was that there was real human story behind it. We had the most fantastic support from The Mission and from the homeless addicts and the prostitutes, they were fantastic with us.’ Paterson is now taking a rest from the publicity tour for Wasted, and looking forward to future projects. But as the search for the elusive distribution deal goes on, Wasted’s festival appearances give the film a fighting chance to reach an international audience.

film production

by producer Mike Clark

‘Get in the back of the van’ The story of Stirton Productions and One Day Removals Comedy films are uniquely vulnerable at film festival screenings. If they don’t laugh – you ain’t got much of a comedy. So premiering One Day Removals at the Raindance International festival was risky. This was after all a very Scottish film, with very broad Scottish accents throughout. Would this, largely London based audience, understand a word of it? Elliot Grove, Raindance organiser had named One Day Removals one of his ‘top five’ of the festival and because of that there was a good sized crowd in attendance to watch this Doric feature. However, One Day Removals didn’t start as a feature film, it started as a short. In 2001 Mark Stirton made a short comedy called Removals, about a pair of bumbling removal men, who find themselves with a van full of dead bodies. The film was made in Aberdeen, with local crew and local talent. As anyone who has ever tried to make a movie north of Perth knows, even getting equipment and crew is nearly impossible. So just finishing a short film was hard enough. The 25 minute short premiered at Glasgow’s In the Cut festival in 2003 and was well received. Representatives from Scottish Screen were there and commended the team on their work. But Mark knew if he, and his company, were to be taken seriously, they’d have to do something much bigger. In 2004, Mark, producer Michael Clark and co-producer Kerwin Robertson, started work

on an ambitious science fiction / horror feature called The Planet. Released in 2007, The Planet became the company’s most successful production to date, receiving an award at Manchester’s prestigious Festival of Fantastic Film. It was quickly picked up for a Sky TV release in the UK and later DVD distribution in the USA and Japan. News of the movie’s success reached an Aberdeen businessman, Ken Fraser, who attempted to buy the movie online. After several failed attempts, he contacted Stirton Productions directly for a copy. Producer Kerwin Robertson hand-delivered a DVD as the office was near where he was working. It was while Robertson was handing over the movie that he ‘clocked’ the Rolex on Fraser’s wrist. He then did what any good producer does and asked Fraser if he’d ever thought about funding a movie? In a short space of time, Mark Stirton was in the room with them and a deal was made. Tied to a specific budget (do not spend more than 63 grand!) and production start date, Mark dropped the movie he had intended to make (a romantic comedy about a group of 30-something friends and a Viking burial) and started on a re-invention of his Removals script. The full-length feature re-named One Day Removals, was completed in November 2008. Filmed in Aberdeenshire on high definition digital format, the film is the first to be made entirely in the Doric dialect. It stars local comic Patrick Wight and classically trained actor Scott Ironside (pictured above) , as the accident-prone removal men.

Mark Stirton

Which takes us back to the Raindance premiere in London, and to our relief, the film did get plenty of laughs. In fact it went down so well it went on to receive a nomination for the British Independent Film Awards. Since then it has played to full houses in every festival it has entered and received several glowing reviews, including being described as “Laurel and Hardy on drugs” by the Monsters and Critics site and getting a 4 star rating from Filmstalker. Not bad for a 60 thousand pound budget and a 14 day shooting schedule. One Day Removals screened at the Inverness Film Festival in November, and is also available as an online download from Raindance TV while awaiting international DVD distribution. For further information about Stirton Productions and Mark Stirton, visit www.


Jo Freer and Michael Howell

From Top Right: Barrie Hunter, Vince Friel, Derek Munn, William Ruane, Fergus John McCann and Dominic Watters

Lynne McKelvey, Lesley Hart and Jo Freer

Love, Life & FAS I

n August 2008, Ickleflix released The Rage, a 28 Days Later fan film which has now received over 300,000 hits on You Tube. The Glasgow-based film company has since made five short films and completed principal photography on its first feature film, Fast Romance. Their latest venture follows the interweaving stories of seven very different people who decide to try something new. Little do they know that after one night of speed-dating, their lives will take dramatic new twists. This roller-coaster ride will leave viewers in no doubt that just three minutes with a complete stranger can change your life forever. Set in contemporary Glasgow, with a soundtrack from Scotland’s vibrant live music scene and a very talented cast, including William Ruane, Barbara Rafferty, Rab Buchanan, Vince Friell and Dave Anderson, Fast Romance is aimed at an international audience through a worldwide cinema release.


I spoke to director Carter Ferguson about the project, starting with his decision to choose a rom-com as Ickleflix’s first feature and the challenges of producing on a micro budget… ‘I’d been working as a fight director and actor and had been developing theatre work. In January 2006 I applied techniques from the theatre to workshop an idea on the theme “All about love” with a group of actor friends. We had fun generating ideas and exploring characters and found the theme of speed dating particularly interesting. I moulded these concepts into a rough story and in October 2008 husband and wife writing team James McCreadie and Debbie May came on board. At that point, we decided that the material was strong enough, and we decided to produce a feature length film.’ he says. ‘Departing from the darker subjects of drugs, suicides and murders for a vibrant, romantic and light-hearted theme was risky but has been

a successful selling point for investors who want to escape the doom and gloom. Scotland can do romantic comedies. The films that resonate with my childhood are Gregory’s Girl, Local Hero and Restless Natives. Fast Romance won’t replicate these iconic films but we’d like to think that its making is perhaps a contemporary return to a bygone era for Scottish filmmaking.’ Ickleflix invited Amanda Verlaque who had been working as a producer for River City to come on board. Amanda loved the script and wanted to undertake an independent film project. Amanda brought a wealth of story and production experience to the table, which helped consolidate our efforts. Together we worked closely with the writers to get Fast Romance up and running. Making our first feature film on a shoestring budget during a recession


Carter Ferguson director and Lawrence Crawford

Suzanne Bonnar

Rab Buchanan

William Ruane, Tom Urie and Derek Munn

Photographys by Iain G Farrell

ST ROMANCE has been undoubtedly challenging, but we have managed to take advantage of the disadvantages. It has forced us to be more innovative, unorthodox and efficient in our approaches to financing and producing the film. Having completed our shooting script and pre-production, and with casting on-going, we filmed only on weekends throughout the summer of 2009 allowing breathing room between locations and plotlines, which were filmed in three blocks. This worked well and we completed filming on time in September. If required, some re-shoot and pick up time is scheduled for January 2010. Our approach inspired cast and crew to contribute their passion, energy and talent with minimum up front compensation, which has created a real sense of ownership, commitment and camaraderie. Fast Romance really is being made on generous goodwill, abundant faith and innovative solutions, with cast and crew investing their

time and effort because they are confident Fast Romance will have universal appeal. Financing has been a major challenge. The feature needed money, and with that came the serious trappings of contracts, lawyers, investors, etc. We decided not to go down the typical funding routes because of the amount of time this would involve. Instead we raised private investment to pay cast and crew minimum wages, with enough on top to pay for equipment, legal fees, insurance, etc. We also aim to split percentages of the producers’ share of the picture with the main cast and crew in addition to their deferred payments. This has created a feeling of mutual ownership and personal investment in the film. Improvements in technology ensured cost effective, high production values, which helped us secure investment. We produced an investment package which allows investors to buy shares as small as £1000 with the least possible risk to their money. It’s an astoundingly good deal, and

By Coleen Willoughby

to prove our confidence in it, Amanda and I were the first to invest, demonstrating our commitment to the film’s success. We are now releasing a last tranche of 10 x £1,000 investment packages to assist with post production costs, so please contact us if you want to hear more about opportunities to invest in what we believe is going to be an international box office hit. 25

film production

By co-producer Micky MacPherson

It’s now just over a year since we completed Clive Barker’s Book of Blood (affectionately known as it BOB). If memory serves me correctly, this is how happened: Early 2006 I produced the horror film Senseless, directed and shot in Scotland by Simon Hynd.  This was my first foray into feature filmmaking and it was probably the trickiest shoot I have ever been called upon to produce, partly because of the demands on the t budget and schedule and partly because of the subjec matter.  Although the demands were high on the film, we still managed to fly in a Hollywood actor, Jason Behr (The Shipping News, The Grudge). Once he got a over the initial shock that we were shooting in derelict warehouse (rather than the purpose built job sync studios he was used to), he did a fantastic who led, assemb we team whole the fact, for us. In were nearly all Scottish based, were brilliant in ment not only their work ethic, but also their commit to the cause.  Special recognition must go to head of make-up Meg Speirs who helped create one of my man favourite images in Scottish film; an image of a who has had his eye removed and replaced with an ill-fitting glass one; a truly great piece of work. And thanks to the commitment of our HoD’s and crew we completed the film on time and budget and the financiers were delighted.

May 2007 On the basis of Senseless we were asked to produce BOB, (our first American co-production) on the understanding that it would also be shot in Scotland. The original script is set in the US so the first job was to re-write it for Scotland. This was a surprisingly painless process despite the fact there were now six producers feeding into the creative process alongside the writer and direct or. Locations Clive had spent many childhood days in Glasgow and was keen to locate there.  We suggested Edinburgh would be more appropriate given the unique architecture and haunted house premise of the script.  Both cities were recce’d and Edinburgh was chosen. Casting This area can become very contentious due to sales.   After all, pre-sales on a budget of this scale are crucial to get the film made.  Directors can have one opinion, producers another, sales another, but the principal objective must be that the director can work with the artists and that they in turn will engage with the target market.  The AD department did a great job filling the minor roles with local talent. Pre-production I would love to say that this process was seamle ss, but as many of the team would admit, it was nip and tuck for a few days (it felt like weeks) to fully close the finance (note to self, closing finance before the actual prep begins may be less stress ful next time).  Massive thank you to Scottish Screen for all their support at this tricky time. Dec 2007 – Shoot We shot for seven weeks (four in the studio – 3 on location) and only 1 hour’s overtime! Delighted bond, delighted co-producers, delighted Execs, delighted Crew (11 day fortnights.) Felt far too


easy! The crew did a fantastic job. A big thank-you here to sound-recordist Ricky Paterson who was able to fix the main camera units on two occasions during his lunch to keep us from losing time. Post The tricky part, a million choices to be made and agreed between all those involved in the creative process.  Reality sets in, I’ve just spent 8 months on the project and there are still 6 to go.  Nowadays post can be tricky due to the variety of workflows that can exist. Ours was complicated further by the fact that the off-lines were happening in LA. My tip? Hire a very competent post-producer who understands where all the extra monies will be spent; this will save you in the long run. Also, allow for a couple of economy tickets to screen assemblies with director and co-producers present. Summer 2008 - Finishing Stages The on-line and dub takes place in London. We soon realise that this is going to take a bit longer than anticipated as notes arrive from the sales agent and Clive Barker himself. Later, I find that sitting in De Lane Lea studio watching the film projected for the first produces mixed emotions; like that bit, not so sure of that bit,

sales requested this bit, other coproducers like this bit, I liked that better, director swears by this bit – quite a lot to take in. Still it feels like an achievement; the film looks good and all principal parties are happy. Nov 2008 Gala screening for cast and crew in Glasgow ...  Suddenly the whole team is there including Scottish Screen who supported us.  I’ve never been so terrified. How will the film hold up and will the audience enjoy it? I make a small speech and the film begins. I go the bar for tequila. I go back in to watch the final 10 minutes. I return to the bar and buy all the team a drink to thank them for their hard work, commitment and for making a film that has broad international appeal. What does the future hold? As mentioned previously it’s now over a year since we delivered the film to all parties. The film has been sold to Lionsgate in the UK and Lightning Entertainment in the USA as well as distributors in France, Germany and other countries. Plum Films are currently finalising co production deals on two other feature films to locate in Scotland, whilst simultaneously developing relationships with contacts in LA with a view to producing a heist thriller set in Philadelphia to be directed by Simon Hynd.  And at the same time as taking full advantage of the platform that BOB has given us, we continue to work primarily in the advertising industry making TV commercials for leading agencies up and down the country. 




The Walking Wounded (Director: Stephen Bennett)


by assistant producer Carina Wilson

“Clarity are the real deal. They take on important, difficult subjects in tricky places and display a calm but gritty determination to overcome the hurdles and get the job done”, says Jess Search, director of the Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation. Founded by Oscar-nominated Scottish producer Sarah Tierney in 2004, BAFTA-winning Clarity Productions has fought to establish itself as a specialist, niche producer of issuedriven factual programmes for UK and international broadcast. Celebrating its fifth birthday in 2009, this conviction and passion for its projects means that Clarity continues to go from strength-to-strength… Clarity began the year by completing work on two short documentaries for the Bridging the Gap talent initiative funded by Scottish Screen, Skillset Film Skills Fund, BBC Scotland and run by the Scottish Documentary Institute. Pollphail, directed by Matthew Lloyd and my first film as producer, is the remarkable story of the imagined future for a west-coast village, built to great acclaim and expense during the 1970s oil boom, but which has lain empty and uninhabited for nearly 40 years. The documentary premiered at The Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival, and was selected for other festivals including CPH:DOX,


Encounters and the World Film Festival of Bangkok. The second, At Home with the Jedi tells the equally remarkable story of the founders of the UK’s Church of Jediism, whose galactic ambitions reach far beyond their small town existence. Directed by R F Simpson, this quirky documentary was nominated for the SHORT:DOX Award at CPH:DOX 2009 and will transmit on BBC Scotland in December. The summer saw completion of twenty short films for Channel 4, including Art Against the Odds also by director R F Simpson. Seeking to understand the creative impulse of artists, the series gained access to the 241st Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Art Against the Odds has been nominated for the Temps D’images Film Award. Next to be completed was The Estate, an ambitious and ground-breaking month-long series of 3 Minute Wonder documentaries. Filming took place over a year by new director Ruth Carslaw, presenting an intimate portrait of Glasgow’s Sighthill community as its tower-blocks were demolished. Dealing with issues of community, family, identity and diversity, The Estate was reviewed as “one of the most compelling, fascinating television programmes onscreen this year...a series that finds

visual and social beauty in an area where almost no-one else would think to look” (The List). The series was also screened as a ‘highlight’ of the Document 7: International Human Rights Film Festival programme in October. In late summer, Clarity was named by the BBC as one of 25 successful production companies from around the UK to have gained a place on its XM25 creative network initiative. Independents’ executive Krishan Arora remarked: “we were looking for innovative and creative ideas, as well as sound business acumen, and we found it in the companies taking part”. Clarity joins three other Scottish indies on the scheme - Comedy Unit, AngelEye and Fine Stripe. September saw the completion and transmission of The Walking Wounded, an emotionally charged and uncompromising documentary revealing the experiences of young Scottish veterans as they adapt to civilian life. Filmed and directed by Stephen Bennett, The Walking Wounded received Critics Choice and Pick of the Day across-the-board, and was reviewed as “a heartbreaking, troubling documentary…a powerful depiction of despair and neglect” (The Scotsman).

Christmas with Dad (Director: Conor McCormack)

At Home with the Jedi (Director: R F Simpson) The Estate (Director: Ruth Carslaw)

The Walking Wounded (Director: Stephen Bennett)

September also saw Clarity selected to the Good Pitch: a partnership between the Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation and Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program for “ground-breaking, socialjustice films”. The project selected was After the Apocalypse, directed by Antony Butts, exposing the legacy of the largest, most secretive and most sustained nuclear experiment in history. After the Apocalypse has now been commissioned by More4’s True Stories and will transmit in early 2010. November 2009 saw the completion of documentary Shelter in Place, a compelling portrait of Texan communities living on the fenceline of big industry, reflecting issues of civil rights, environmental pollution and a battle against corporate power. Funded by the Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation, Shelter in Place is the first film by renowned photographer Zed Nelson, the film premiered at the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2009 to a sold-out audience, where it was nominated for the Green Doc Award. And the year is capped off by a nomination for documentary Christmas

with Dad as Best British Short Film in the 12th British Independent Film Awards 2009, the only documentary in a historically drama-strong category. Directed by Conor McCormack, Christmas with Dad was funded through last year’s Bridging the Gap and premiered at the 62nd Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2008, where it won Best Scottish Short and has now screened at over 20 festivals with highlights including the Sheffield Doc/Fest, Hot Docs, Stranger Than Fiction, Galway Film Fleadh (awarded ‘Best Short Documentary’) and Starz Denver Film Festival. The BIFAs take place on the 6th December.

Pollphail (Director: Matthew Lloyd)

After the Apocalypse (Director: Antony Butts)

Company director Sarah Tierney comments: “Clarity Productions is delighted to have been recognised for our commitment to promoting new British directing talent, and this nomination by BIFA comes at the end of a fantastic year for the Company”.

Shelter in Place (Director: Zed Nelson)


festival report


by Leslie MacKenzie

The Mecca of animation TV Series is the Cartoon Forum. It is held in a different location every year and this September it was in Stavanger, Norway. I was there, thanks to Scottish Screen funding, to promote the Arctic Ring animation series with co-production partners from Finland and Estonia. I had become interested in the extraordinary Arctic stories after trying to find out more about Scotland’s first peoples, the Picts. Estonia’s Nukufilm had an interest since they themselves had been part of the Soviet bloc; and Finland’s award-winning and controversy-creating director, Katariina Lillqvist’s interest in the Sami, the indigenous peoples of Northern Finland and Scandinavia, had brought her into the Arctic Ring fold. Media money had made it possible for us to develop the Series.


61 projects from 19 European countries had been accepted into the Forum itself. Then there were the many journalists, representatives from national film bodies and most importantly the 725 broadcasters and distributors who we were there to woo. The standards of accommodation and food were superlative. There’s great sea-food in Stavanger! The dinners were held in beautiful old restaurants with wooden beams and floors. The weather was mild and the port area where we were staying was attractive with autumn colours and old boats. I was one of the people who had travelled least to get there – just a quick hop over from Aberdeen. Our presentation was at the forefront of our agenda. Each project had a chairman whose job it was to help us. Mike Robinson, exCosgrove Hall, was our appointed chairman. Although we thought we had everything ready , with our trailer, show-reels and our power point presentation, we quickly discovered at the first rehearsal that we were no way near snappy enough. “You have half an hour,” said Mike, “Count that as twenty minutes.” Since we were unique in that we were a partnership made up of three companies who had quite independently found their way to the same series, we each had our part to play in telling our story. In addition I was to talk about the creative issues of the project and the Finnish producer, Jyrki, about production issues – the budget and so on . By the time our presentation slot came round we felt very well prepared and were therefore not so nervous. In total we had 50 people at our presentation. Of these 5 were investors; 3 were press; 10 were broadcasters and 28 were producers or members of various film organisations.

attentions of Finnish, Estonian, Norwegian and Dutch broadcasters and some German distributors. After the presentation was over we continued our discussions with Mike Robinson who was very ready to give us a mountain of advice on how to keep the momentum we had created going and set up a successful co-production. We listened eagerly and agreed to everything – even to a euro bank account in Estonia. And then there was the final dinner. Unlike the first night, everyone was SO relaxed. Katariina and Kerdi led rousing Finno-Ugric choruses from our table and we made lots of new friends. At other events I have attended since then I been able to discuss this series with broadcasters from the USA. A network of smaller indigenous channels is developing there and, indeed, world-wide. In North America they term “First Peoples” as aboriginals and assume that they are all naturally interested in each other - but that no-one else is. So where does that put us, the Scots and the Gaels, not to mention the other European “aboriginals,” as we strive to communicate with each other in the new Euro-speak English of the world of European co-produced children’s animation? Does this mean that we must add in global warming and ice melt to the Arctic Ring in order to attract majority European interest? Our broadcasters told us so and advised us to add a strong linkstory incorporating these themes. So it’s back to the drawing board. Hopefully we’ll be ready for the next Cartoon Forum -Hungary 2010.

The most gratifying part of the presentation was the spontaneous applause for our How The Bear Came To Earth story. Edinburghbased script writer Zinnie Harris and her team had put considerable effort into this so we were most pleased at the excellent reception. In addition many people congratulated us on the series. Prisca Geissler, MIM distribution, Germany, told us that Arctic Ring was “the most beautiful and ambitious project of this Forum”. Afterwards we spoke with interested broadcasters who also filled in forms with comments. Our friendly Finnish broadcaster had warned us that nowadays it is estimated that at least twelve broadcasters are needed to get anything made since each broadcaster contributes little. We certainly didn’t make it to twelve but were gratified by the



Lucinda Broadbent

ve Sklair

Aimara Reques with Ste

Mediaco-op’s passports stamped by co-producer Aimara Reques For all at mediaco-op, there is nothing more gratifying that an international gathering of people who live documentaries, work documentaries and aim to create documentaries for excellence and change. And from day one, mediaco-op have been committed to developing documentaries with an international appeal. Thus, it is not surprising that two of its active members, Lucinda Broadbent and myself, have gone international. Recently, while I was in Latvia at the Baltic Sea Forum for Docs pitching mediaco-op’s latest film The Boy From Georgia, Lucinda was in South Africa attending the African premiere screening of Red Oil. I was greeted by one of the organisers of the Baltic Sea Forum at Riga airport. When arriving at the main venue, the geographic of the Forum countries became very clear. There were producers from across Europe, from the farthest country to the East, Georgia, to the farthest west, Scotland! I love when I go to international events and somehow I become a fine representation of what it means to be international...’Hello, I’m from Venezuela, I live in Scotland, my project is in Georgia….' I’m convinced- with all modesty- that I’m one of Scotland’s best ambassadors because people always ask how it is possible that a Venezuelan can say she is living happily in Scotland? They assume something good is going on up here… better to come and find out… The Baltic Forum For Documentaries has been taking place for the past 13 years and is one of the most prestigious for pitching projects related to Eastern Europe. The Forum itself is one of the best I have attended. The quality of the training and preparation before the pitch was super, there was a chance to


mingle and meet everyone involved including the commissioning editors, and my pitch was attended by representatives from major European and American television companies and film foundations including, Sundance Institute, ITVS, ARTE, MDR, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Estonian, Belgium, Lithuanian and Latvian state televisions. We were pleased that mediaco-op’s project The Boy From Georgia was selected amongst many other respected and established production companies in Europe. The film follows the controversial journey of a former street child from Georgia who is being brought to Scotland for a life saving operation. The film aims to open a debate on the ethical and moral dilemmas involved in the charitable rescue operation of vulnerable children from poor countries. The project has been developed with support from Scottish Screen’s content development fund and is scheduled to be completed next year. Meanwhile on another part of the planet, mediaco-op’s Lucinda Broadbent was in South Africa, invited by the Tri-Continental Film Festival to speak at festival screenings of Red Oil, mediaco-op’s international co-pro broadcast earlier this year on More4’s True Stories. Red Oil screened eleven times across South Africa during the festival, in Soweto, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban. South African audiences were hooked by the film’s dramatic story of Venezuela’s battle over who controls the country’s oil wealth. The parallels were clear with South Africa’s own disputes about who should control the gold, diamonds and platinum under South African soil. Should South Africa

go down Venezuela’s revolutionary road? Q&A sessions with Lucinda, the film’s director, quickly turned into passionate debates that continued in the multiplex corridors and lobbies long after the audience was turfed out of the cinema. Seats sold out at Lucinda’s masterclass on Red Oil at the three-day ‘People to People’ documentary conference running alongside the Festival. Lucinda also appeared on panels about Public Broadcasting and Media Uprising. It wasn’t just documentary fanatics who wanted to delve deeper into the Caracas case: SABC television ran a halfhour interview with Lucinda on the politics of Red Oil, including a grilling by South Africa’s former Ambassador to Brazil. “It was Red Oil’s African premiere,” commented Lucinda, “and my first visit to South Africa - what a spectacular welcome! I was fascinated to hear South Africans tell me of their disillusionment with the promises made here at the end of apartheid. They related totally to the voices critical of Hugo Chavez in Red Oil. The reactions here gave me a new perspective on our documentary: it’s true what they say that the audience makes the film”. These international events are crucial for the health of the film industry, as there are major challenges facing today’s filmmakers brought on by economic pressure, changes in media platforms and the ways we distribute and exhibit films. It is therefore vitally important that Scottish filmmakers are sharing and debating these issues with their international counterparts.


Adam Stafford and Peter Gerard

Adam Stafford photo by Peter Gerard

SILVERDOCS photo by Danielle Beverly

film festival by documentary maker Peter Gerard

The AFI/Discovery Silverdocs Film Festival has grown to be one of the key events for documentary film in the USA, known for hosting important premieres and for the excellent Silverdocs Documentary Conference and Silver Sessions that run alongside the film programme. In June this year, Silverdocs and Edinburgh International Film Festival both invited Accidental Media’s short documentary The Shutdown to premiere in competition in the same week. The Shutdown is a new short film written and narrated by Scottish author Alan Bissett, known for his novels and plays. Adam Stafford, front-man of the band Y’All is Fantasy Island, directed the film and wrote the music. The film was produced by myself and Leo Bruges from Edinburgh-based Accidental Media; we are developing several film collaborations with these two talents from Central Scotland. Thanks to Scottish Screen’s Opportunities Fund, Adam Stafford and myself arrived in Silver Spring, Maryland in time for an informal gathering of producers and directors from The D-Word - the online international documentary community ( The D-Word organised its fourth international Face2Face event to coincide with the Silverdocs festival. These events provide an excellent forum for practice-pitching and project development in an intense, yet comfortable atmosphere. The Face2Face was hosted by Docs in Progress, a Silver Spring-based non-profit organisation focussed on helping Washington DC-area documentary-makers complete their films and engage with audiences. The Shutdown screened in a programme of four shorts that were, coincidentally, all made by UK-based filmmakers. The other films were Solitary Life of Cranes by Eva Weber (who made Steel Homes for the Scottish Documentary Institute), Plane Days by Ewan McNicol and Benjamin Kracun (graduates from Edinburgh College of Art and Napier University), and Jean-Louis Schuller’s Chunking Dreams. Another Scottish short, Ma Bar (by Adrian McDowell and Finlay Pretsell) was also screening during the festival.

screening Adam and I were interviewed by a DC-based reporter, and thanks to the growing buzz, the next day’s screening was even more popular. The parties at the festival stayed lively despite Silver Spring’s difficult licensing laws (outside of the festival parties it is almost impossible to get a drink after 11.30pm). Sheffield Doc/Fest was in town to host one of the parties, and another featured an outdoor hip-hop party between the Discovery Communications towers. The event has become an important place for the documentary industry. Beyond Silverdocs, the DC-suburb of Silver Spring is home to the Discovery Channel and Docs in Progress. As a result, the festival has an excellent Conference and the Silver Sessions, which provide opportunities to meet funders, distributors, broadcasters, and other key players in the documentary marketplace. The Silver Sessions are small enough that attendees can meet directly with people who are otherwise hard to track down, and the conference events are well-organised with excellent speakers. Britdoc was in attendance, running The Good Pitch, a pitching forum targeted at documentaries as tools for social change. The film line-up was excellent, no doubt thanks to Sky Sitney, who moved up from programmer to Artistic Director this year. She collected a broad range of top-quality docs, including the audiencepleaser October Country, the controversial Episode 3: Enjoy Poverty, and the impressive multi-director Convention. Silverdocs has a growing reputation in the industry. It is an excellent platform for feature-documentaries as well as for shorts. The screening venues are huge beautiful cinemas and they draw a full audience of locals, filmmakers, and industry professionals. The only downside is that the Edinburgh International Film Festival now overlaps in June and it is difficult to be on both sides of the pond at the same time.

The audience rewarded visiting filmmakers almost instantly with reviews and praise on websites, blogs, twitter, and even personal emails. Early reviews appeared to have a consensus that The Shutdown was the favourite of the programme, despite Alan’s thick Scottish accent that one reviewer claimed made “Sean Connery and Ewan McGregor sound like cupcakes”. By the evening after the first

Accidental Media attended Silverdocs with support from Scottish Screen National Lottery through the Opportunities Fund.



Hope Springs

Dark Nature

Dark Nature The Bedfords


Idris Elba & Clarke Peters star in Black Camel Pitures' Legacy

Southern Comfort

by editor Eddie Harrison


usiness is booming for Mark Geddes, the Screen Commissioner for South-West Scotland. The Dumfries and Galloway region is probably best remembered for providing the backdrop to Robin Hardy’s original The Wicker Man, starring the late Edward Woodward, but recent activity in the area suggests that there’s a bountiful harvest in prospect. ‘In 2004, there were seven projects which were shot here, last year, there were 63. This year we’ve had a further 63, and the year’s not over yet,’ says Geddes. ‘We aim to provide a suitable filming location for inward investment, helping production companies who come to shoot here whether for film, television, music videos; our job is to bring people into the area and spend money here. I think the boom really got started when Brian de Palma shot the train sequence for Mission Impossible here, doubling for the run up to the Channel tunnel. That showed that the region has a real versatility to it, and we’ve had increasing numbers of productions shooting here ever since.’ Such is the activity that Geddes was involved with Visit Scotland in the production of a movie-map of the area, guiding tourists to the sites used in recent films, such as The Dead Outside, Black Camel’s Outpost and the forthcoming Legacy, and Mandragora’s Dark Nature, all of which made imaginative use of local locations.

‘I’m originally from the Highlands, and started out doing a degree in animation at Edinburgh College of Art, and then with promotional films in the private sector, moving towards working in sales and marketing in the hospitality trade. I’d met my wife in Edinburgh, and we decided to move to Dumfries. When this Screen Commissioner post came up in 2005, I felt that I was in a good position to use my knowledge of the private sector, which can be much more different than the public sector, but also use my film-making background. I was surprised and impressed that the area I came to had such a diverse landscape, with lochs, glens, and 200 miles of coastline. And only being 10 minutes from the M74, it was also accessible, a vital element when persuading productions to come here. That’s a key factor, in that an area can have the best landscapes in the world, but if you can’t accommodate the crew, the location won’t work. It’s about a whole package.’ Geddes is currently working on the arrangements for House of Berlin, a German feature about to shoot in the area, and also points proudly to shorts like Little Red Hoodie, The Bedfords, River Child and more which have made full use of the service he provides. A recent Budweiser advert for La Belle Allee was shown during the Superbowl (‘It cost 100,000 dollars a second to air, and lasted nearly a minute!’ he says). And Dumfries’ and Galloway’s ability to double up for other areas has continued since Mission Impossible.

‘We can offer areas which, while only twenty minutes apart, can look like completely different countries, so whether that is Two Thousand Acres of Sky or Hope Springs, we’re able to locate either a sparsely populated area or a bustling little village without much difficulty. And shooting parts of Peter Mullan’s The Magdalene Sisters shows that we can venture back into the past and recreate something like rural Ireland in the 1950’s with great success, and without a huge spend; ultimately, we want to create the right look and feel, while increasing the chances of the production making its money back.’ ‘What’s particularly good right now is that we’re getting great word of mouth; while we’ve got a small production budget, the important thing is working with the production budget, or preparing an effective location breakdown. So with Dark Nature, director Marc De Launay wanted a really forboding atmosphere, and I’d suggested The House on the Shore, which was slightly different from what he’d first asked for, but actually turned out to be even better for his purposes. And we recently secured the filming for Ty’s Great British Adventure, where there was a national search for an area to be economically regenerated for a US extreme make-over show. These projects are very different, but that versatility is central to the ethos of what we do.’


Chris Young

The Inbetweeners

Coming out of By Chris Young of Young Films and SEALLADH

I’ve feel like I’ve spent the last two or three years in something of a tunnel, which started for me on the back of Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle, when I was approached by Caroline Leddy. At that time, she was the head of comedy at Channel Four, and had been involved with Annie Griffin’s film Festival, as an executive producer. The first thing she asked me why I hadn’t done any TV, and I said, ‘No-one’s asked me and actually, I don’t really watch it. I’m much more of a film or DVD person.' So with The Inbetweeners, I think it was distinguished by the fact that we made it with the same care that you would make a film, mainly on location with occasional one-off sets and the same attention to detail. Our ambition was to be funny and authentic; Channel Four had wanted an antidote to Skins, but something which wasn’t a drama and would actually be much more faithful to the adolescent experience, because actually most 15 year olds don’t have sex or take designer drugs, like the kids in Skins. So the tunnel really started for me doing a pilot for Caroline in April two years ago, but when we went and shot the prototype in September, we didn’t know what we were getting into because nobody knew how successful it would be. We changed the


director and cast members from the pilot for the first series, but then had a long postproduction, leading up to a transmission date in May. By the time it came out, the channel immediately wanted another one to go out before the next series of Big Brother, so suddenly we were starting preproduction for the next series immediately. It’s a myth that tv producers can go on holiday and make three films while the series shoot, I wanted to be right on-top of it and make sure the second series was up to the standards we’d set ourselves on the first. So it’s only in the last few months I’ve been able to come up for air. So the bottom line is that I’ll do series three in a more controlled fashion, because I want to make sure that I’m finally going to be able to take advantage of the platform that the success of The Inbetweeners has provided. Funnily enough, the first project up is, of course, that we’ve just signed a development deal with Film 4 to do a feature of The Inbetweeners. I suppose it’s because the audience we connected with is very much the audience that film distributors want to connect with. When we brought The Inbetweeners cast up to Skye, we found ourselves mobbed by 500 kids keen to get the autographs of our ‘four useless virgins’ So making The Inbetweeners feature will be

a good way to put it to bed, because series three is still set firmly in school, the movie is about the big summer holiday after you’ve left. In the meantime, I’ve set up another office in London with Rhianna Andrews, I have been very lucky to find someone who was able to carry the production of Seachd through its life-cycle, so I was delighted to be able to set her up in London as a development producer. I’ve been a producer for 20 years, but now I can allow her to work in a less hand-to-mouth way than I’ve had to, allowing her time and resources to go out and find the best talent, which led to the short Believe and winning a Golden Leopard for best international short in Locarno. All of these developments help in terms of my strategy, because at last I’ve got a secure place to revive pet projects I’d parked or buried. I met the director Jim Sheridan two years ago; he’s now going into a film with Daniel Craig, and there’s be a January release for his remake of Dogme film Brothers, which he’s filmed with Tobey McGuire, Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal. Our project with Jim is like a riff, or even a reversal of It’s A Wonderful Life, but set in Scotland; our version is about the angel of death coming down to a Highland village two days before Xmas. It’s dark but

Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle

The Inbetweeners

the Tunnel there’s also a redemptive theme inside. And there’s also a co-production with Portuguese company called Rosa Filmes being shot at the moment in Lisbon, on a very low budget, and with a tiny crew, but one which we’re very pleased to be doing.’ Closer to home, I’ve set up another company, called Sealladh, which is Gaelic for ‘vision’. After Seachd, I didn’t want to push the Gaelic connection too hard. We’ve got a great studio up in Skye, and we’ve got a few commissions, but its slim pickings so far. I’m a film-maker, but I hate when people talk blandly about content as if it's a small part of the equation, the truth is I love the actual content of what I make, and I would love to make more Gaelic drama. I’ve four Gaelic speaking children, and am aware that Gaelic speaking is working it’s way through the education system, so although we’ve just opened an office in London’s Greek Street, that doesn’t mean I’m any less committed to Gaelic content. It’s taking a while to make that dream a reality, but I’d love to apply the skills I learned before and during The Inbetweeners to Gaelic programmes up here. As always, it’s a case of longevity and perseverance, but I live in hope… Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle


Scottish Screen Collection at the National Library of Scotland By the Scottish Screen Archive’s Ann MacDonald


n April 1997, the Scottish Film Council, Scottish Screen Locations, Scottish Broadcast and Film Training and the Scottish Film Production Fund merged to form the nondepartmental government body Scottish Screen. Creating a ‘one stop shop’ for the screen industries was important and built on the momentum of success stories such as Braveheart (1995), Rob Roy (1995) and Trainspotting (1996).

Scottish Screen had an ambitious remit - concerned with cultural and educational access to screen heritage as well as the business and resourcing of film-making in Scotland. As the parent body of the Scottish Screen Archive, Scottish Screen had an obligation to preserve films funded from the public purse, particularly relevant now distribution of Lottery funds was its responsibility. Although funding arrangements existed between its predecessor bodies and other organisations (eg. broadcasters), Scottish Screen also introduced a clause in production agreements that provided for a copy of the finished work to be deposited for archival preservation. In 2007, the Scottish Screen Archive transferred to the National Library of Scotland, and with it, the responsibility to continue collecting film, video and born digital work. Scottish Screen also transferred their former distribution collection and back catalogue to the Archive, much of which was earlier work not covered by the new arrangements. This diverse collection of modern Scottish film production now promises to grow in partnership with Creative Scotland from 2010 and far into Scotland’s digital future. The collection’s scope is incredibly varied reflecting the many different genres of film produced in Scotland. It contains creative and factual documentary work, experimental film, video, dance, animation, comedy, horror,


That Old One with Kevin McKidd

Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life

Dead Sea Reels

and drama. There are films made by people of all ages, some featuring Scottish actors ‘before they were famous’, and there are plenty of lesser-known titles to explore, such as The Evanescent Herb Garden of Death (1993). Dating from the early 1980s onwards, such works have generally been made through a variety of funding and training initiatives. Scottish Screen and its predecessor bodies ran such schemes mostly in collaboration with partners, ensuring vital broadcast and theatrical exposure for new filmmaking talent. First Reels (1991 - 1999), in collaboration with Scottish Television, offered small financial incentives (£50 - £2000) but more importantly, hands-on experience and exposure. The scheme proved a springboard to greater things for talent such as Peter Mullan, David Tennant and Hannah Robinson, yet supported community groups (such as Pilton Video, or Castlemilk Elderly Forum), individual animators, dancers, students and video artists. Prime Cuts (1996 - 1998) followed, encouraging innovative films on 16mm between 5 – 7 min, from documentary to experimental. Graduates of this scheme include acclaimed video dance artist, Katrina McPherson and directors Morag McKinnon, Justin Molotnikov and Elly M. Taylor. Tartan Shorts (1993 - 1996), Tartan Smalls (2002 - 2005) and the Gaelic language Geur Ghearr (1996 - 1998) schemes working with with BBC Scotland and Comataidh Craolaidh Gaidhlig - led to short films shown on family television sets across the country, and those same titles distributed to festivals across the world. Amongst this collection is the Oscarwinning Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life (1993), This Scotland (2002 - 2005) and New Found Land (2000 - 2004), all examples of schemes co-funded by STV and Grampian that produced a variety of productions with longer running times of up to 25 min and a

strong emphasis on quality documentary. Around 2002, a slight shift away from shorts to predominantly Scottish-funded features as well as international co-productions is evident. These range from the hardhitting 16 Years of Alcohol (2003), to the light-hearted The Stone of Destiny (2008). Seachd-The Inaccessible Pinnicle (2007) is the first feature film in the language of Scottish Gaelic to achieve mainstream cinematic distribution. (The archive holds deposit copies on 35mm as well as HD). International co-productions include Skagerrak (2004) and the animated The Three Musketeers (2006). Aside from the funded schemes, there is much to enjoy. Music video 4 Minute Wonders (2001 - 2003) feature Scottish bands and record labels (including Soma and Chemikal Underground). Bridging the Gap (since 2004) remains an intelligent, GamerZ force in Scottish film-making. creative Scottish Students on Screen (started c. 1999) material ranges from Guid Man of Ballengeich (2001), made by schoolchildren in Stirlingshire, to Cold Tape (2000), which was shown at Tate Britain. Interviews, stills, scripts, and other supporting documentation relating to the films are all kept. Cataloguing is now complete with publication on the Scottish Screen Archive’s website ( planned early 2010. There are just under 700 titles recorded to date. As well as basic content information, much of which has been taken from secondary sources (title, release date, synopsis, director, producer, production company and sponsor), full cast and credits are transcribed directly from viewing the source material. For the first time, the full scope, range and amount of Scottish publicly funded film in the last three decades has been brought together in one searchable set of data – with open public access worldwide. Due to rights and

The Pen


conditions of deposit, viewings for research and reference are available only on National Library of Scotland premises. Requests for a loan, to screen, duplicate or otherwise distribute material in the collection should be directed initially to Market Development at Scottish Screen. Permission for such uses will only be given subject by consultation with rights holders. This is a work in progress - a constantly evolving collection, and the growth of this collection reflects the creativity and talent of those working the screen industries in Scotland. We hope it will continue to flourish in the future, with whatever new work is produced under Creative Scotland. Gaps in the collection have been identified, and it would be invaluable to find this material and preserve it in the national collection. Representation of earlier work, such as First Reels, is patchy (eg. an interview with the director of one film exists on Betacam SP tape, but the 16mm completed film is nowhere to be seen!) Some films are incomplete or in poor condition and there may still be surviving material somewhere. The Archive is always happy to hear from film-makers whose films are missing from this collection and who would like to discuss preservation of their work, in whatever format. Please contact our Acquisitions curator Kay Foubister in the first instance. ( Explore the Archive’s online catalogue at


Mark Thom


training and education

Ken Hay, Dinah Caine, Kay Sheridan and Lord Puttman

30 Years of the New Entrants Training Programme By Kay Sheridan and Mark Thomas

This year, we’re celebrating 30 years of NETS, Scottish Screen’s New Entrants Programme, and we took some time out during this year’s Edinburgh international Film Festival to gather together all those who have come through the ranks. It was not only to celebrate NETS but also the talented industry practitioners who continue to support and invest their time and skills in our trainees. Our 30-year celebratory brunch was a great day of catching up with industry friends and colleagues from past and more recent


times. Freelance practitioners rarely get the opportunity to gather and share their experiences outside of work and everyone enjoyed the day. It was heartening to see how the industry has grown in the last 30 years and with many alumni of the course now heads of department, we were recognising what part NETS plays within our industry. Through NETS, trainees get the valuable opportunity to work alongside those who supply the solid technical lifeblood of film and TV production activity week in, week out

throughout Scotland. This country boasts a strong, talented freelance workforce of technicians, crafts people, designers, production personnel and creative talent, who have chosen to base themselves here while working nationally and internationally. It’s no secret that this has been a difficult year for many in the industry, yet we’re truly grateful that so many have remained committed to supporting and mentoring our trainees. So thank you to you all.

training and education “Training that took me to the heart and soul of the industry - its people and their professionalism. A scheme that was devised, developed and monitored by technicians of all disciplines inevitably succeeds. It directly connects the trainee to every aspect of the business.” – David Brown, Production Trainee (1981-1982) DAVID BROWN


Selected Professional Credits: Nanny McPhee, Star Wars Episode1, Flyboys, Enigma, Local Hero


“In a nutshell, the tra scheme was great. I’m ining Production Sound for myHead of Harry Potter film now 3rd wouldn’t be here withouand start.” – Stuart Wilson t that , Sound Trainee (1986-1987)


Selected Professional Credits: Harry Potter, The Road to Guantanamo, The Constant Gardener, A Cock and Bull Story, 24 Hour Party People



Selected Professional Credits: Waybaloo, Clive Barker’s Book of Blood; Focus Puller - Doomsday, Rebus, The Last King of Scotland, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Stone of Destiny, Festival, On a Clear Day, The Book Group; Clapper Loader Skaggerak, Sweet Sixteen, The Little Vampire, Ratcatcher, Queer as Folk

“We have a trainee in the camera department on every job. Everyone is responsible for their training and sharing their knowledge with them. As a Clapper Loader, I trained trainees to load, and as a focus puller I trained Clapper Loaders to focus pull.” – Julie Bills, Camera Trainee (1996-1997)



Selected Professional Credits: Monarch Of The Glen, Wire In The Blood, PA’s, Holby City, Zig Zag Love

“I usually try and get a trainee out even for a few days on most jobs I do. I really enjoy passing on my experience and skills. I remember what it feels like when I was a trainee how important it is to get on the job experience.” – Marion McCormack, Make Up Trainee (1997-1999)

Kieran Hannigan

An ex-NETS trainee recalls his experience and thoughts. When I arrived at the NETS brunch in Edinburgh, someone said they weren’t sure if I was on the list. This was akin to a family reunion and I wanted to get in. Happily, after some searching my name was found. Taking the lift up to the suite in the Point Hotel overlooking the castle on a glorious sunny day, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Usually, these things have me frozen rigid, with a beer bottle glued to my left hand and an awkward smile painted on that is enough to scare children at fifty paces. I needn’t have worried. First, I saw Linda Fraser’s wonderful smiling face. It was the same smiling face that had welcomed me as a sheepish trainee on my first NETS placement some years earlier. I was already twenty-seven when I began the scheme, having worked in marketing for bank since leaving university, so I was no spring chicken. But I was raw and a little intimidated. Linda, one of the many wellrespected graduates of NETS I met who were now training a new crop, understood and selflessly gave her time. Everywhere I went, the door was open because people had gone before me and excelled, cementing NETS as Scotland’s premier training programme. As I tucked into my second bottle of beer (and a bacon roll served by a man in a waistcoat from a silver tray), we gathered politely to listen to the keynote address. Without doubt, NETS was best training programme I have ever heard of – let alone been lucky enough to go through – but I was still mightily impressed that they had pulled in a man who ran Columbia Pictures. Of course, Lord Puttnam is also one of the founders of Skillset and longtime advocate of training. The changing face of the business was discussed with alacrity; again and again, we heard that central to our industry’s ability to change and adapt would be the highest quality training. That notion needed to be the cornerstone of any attempt to adapt to, or indeed lead, the changes that technology might bring. As Dinah Caine said, there is no shame in taking good people with lots of potential and giving them the best training there is. And she is right. NETS has validated this model for over thirty years. It is the same ‘No Compromise’ strategy that has now been adopted by UK Sport in the run up to 2012 Olympics having made British cycling the best in the world. It is brilliantly simple. We gathered to celebrate thirty years of success of NETS in finding good motivated people and giving them the best training. The earnest hope is that in thirty years we can congratulate ourselves on keeping this brilliant and simple idea going.

Colin & Cumberland By

Animation Executive Producer Richard Scott

Colin & Cumberland is a children’s TV series in development by Axis Animation. The show follows the comical misadventures of a sneaky sausage dog called Cumberland, and his blissfully innocent and enthusiastic owner, Colin.


Last year, we presented Colin & Cumberland at Cartoon Forum in Ludwigsburg Germany. The presentation proved to be one of the most popular at the forum and generated a significant amount of interest from coproducers and broadcasters. Based on the feedback from Ludwigsburg, the Axis team, led by development producer Anke Hilt and director Dana Dorian, worked on focusing the series to better fit the needs of interested broadcasters. The format of the series was adapted making changes to the characters, their world and simplifying the back-story without compromising on the slapstick humour seen in Dana’s Scottish BAFTA winning short film Fetch, which also starred the duo. To ensure continued interest from international broadcasters some of the art direction was also changed, brightening up the look of the show and losing some of its more British eccentricities.

During this process there was a change in the proposed target age group from 8-12 year olds to 6-9 year olds. This was an important decision for many of the broadcasters and was heavily influenced by CBBC who had negotiated a first refusal deal for the series. The change in target age group resulted in further changes to design and story style. It was important to keep the slapstick and the comedy, but in addition there was a goal to make the show more aspirational for children. Colin & Cumberland were then given an exciting new house to live in which felt more like a playground than like a home. Interest from the BBC increased when Steven Andrew was appointed Head of Drama and Acquisitions for CBBC. The Axis team met with Steven and he gave more excellent feedback that saw the running time of the show changed to 52 x 2 minute episodes. New scripts were written and I, together with Dana Dorian attended Cartoon Forum 2009 in Stavanger Norway where they had a series

of successful meetings with broadcasters, distributors and co-producers. The reaction to Colin & Cumberland’s new format was excellent and Axis are currently negotiating with CBBC regarding a pre-buy for the UK and are looking to add other broadcasters and co-producers. The developments with the BBC have been fantastic and we’re all looking forward to the challenge of putting in place the rest of the funding to get the show into production during 2010.


LOCATION(S) OF THE MONTH The Highlands and Islands can offer a vast range of locations, not just dramatic rural and coastal, but also a unique and interesting range of historical and urban/industrial locations. Two new locations have recently been added to the database of over 60,000 images run by the Scottish Highlands and Islands Film Commission. One is the recently refurbished Aldourie Castle on the banks of Loch Ness and the other is an ex RAF Communications building located at Fort George, not far from Inverness Airport. Aldourie Castle is a Grade A-listed fairytale concoction of turrets and towers on its own 500 acre estate on Loch Ness’s quiet southern shore. Dating back to 1626 and much altered

in Victorian and Edwardian times, Aldourie’s interior features numerous spiral galleries and towers, with every bedroom affording views of Loch Ness, the rolling parkland or the mature woodland. A recent two-year restoration programme is now complete and, having been awarded 5 stars by VisitScotland, Aldourie Castle and its traditional estate cottages can be rented on an exclusive use basis for a range of purposes limited only by the imagination.

Aldourie Castle, LOCH NESS


As a film location the castle offers a diverse selection of woodland, including a Victorian arboretum, and an atmospheric burial ground, and hire of the building can be taken with or without caterers and facilities, services and staff can be added as desired. A mere 16 miles from Inverness Airport and 15 minutes from the centre of Inverness and its railway station, restaurants and night life, Aldourie is also close to the hub of the Highland road network and all corners of the area are within easy reach by car.

Contrasting sharply with the elegance of Aldourie, the nearby Uniter building at Fort George was designed during the Cold War as part of a nationwide communications system tasked with co-ordinating the RAF's response to a nuclear or biological attack, the personnel being able to survive for up to three months in an environment isolated from the outside world. Commissioned in 1993 the building was, fortunately, never tested in its design role, being decommissioned in 2003 and sold in 2008. Other than sensitive equipment,

locations the building is exactly as it was when in use, being in an excellent state of maintenance. The building is a single storey structure of 1300 sq meters (14000 sq ft) with walls of 600mm and roof of 1200mm reinforced concrete. It is centrally situated on a hard surfaced yard of some 2.65 acres, surrounded by a secure perimeter fence and accessed by electrically controlled gates. CCTV is connected via the internet to enable 24hr remote monitoring.

Access to the building is through a massive steel door with a unique locking system, which then leads to various decontamination rooms for use under nuclear or biological threat conditions, all controlled from an armour plated security room. Windowless and imposing, it’s a space which, for different reasons from Aldourie Castle, is likely to stimulate the imagination of film-makers.

The Uniter Communications Building, Fort George

For further information on both of these locations contact: The Scottish Highlands and islands Film Commission 44 (0) 1463 710221 | |











































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scottish shorts at encounters By Scottish Screen’s Jennifer Armitage

Scottish Screen has just returned from one of the biggest events in the UK short film calendar, Encounters Short Film Festival in Bristol, where the films and the filmmakers from Scotland were enthusiastically received. The Scottish delegation included representatives from Scottish Screen, DigiCult, Glasgow Short Film Festival, The Magic Lantern, plus filmmakers from across the country. Scottish Screen and DigiCult presented a curated programme of new Scottish shorts, while a number of other Scottish shorts appeared in Competition and Retrospective strands in the programme, ensuring the range of filmmaking talent in Scotland was very well represented. Nerves ran high before the Scottish Showcase on Friday afternoon, as some of the films were literally ‘hot off the tape deck’. Four of the seven films had never been screened to an audience before, so filmmakers and co-ordinators were anxious to see how Encounters’ delegates responded to them. Everyone involved was delighted, when the laughs, gasps, groans, and cheers arrived in all the right places! Encounters is an excellent showcase

for short films, attracting sales agents, producers, and festival programmers from around Europe. The team behind the festival ensured that the screening, and the reception that followed went incredibly smoothly, and made sure that the Scottish offering was one to remember. On Sunday evening, Sam Firth, director of one-minute film I.D. was awarded the DepicT! ‘09 British Special Mention Award, entitling her to a range of professional prizes, including mentoring, travel grants and industry support from BAFTA. All in all it was an energetic few days, where Scotland’s commitment to and passion for short film was apparent. Some forthcoming short film dates for short film lovers:

Scottish Films at Encounters 2009-11-25 Battenberg (d. Stewart Comrie, 2009) The Owl House (d. Jessica Cope, 2008) Paris/Sexy (d. Ruth Paxton, 2009) The Shutdown (d. Adam Stafford, 2009) I’ll Be Right Here (d. Gregor Johnstone, 2009) Pollphail (d. Matt Lloyd, 2009) The Finger Trap (d. Julia McLean, 2009) At The End Of The Sentence (d. Marisa Zanotti, 2005) I.D. (d. Sam Firth, 2009) Irene (d. Lindsay Goodall, 2008) Munro (d. Michael Keillor, 2009) This is JO3 (d. Once Were Farmers, 2008) Shell (d. Scott Graham, 2007) I Love Luci (d. Colin Kennedy, 2009) Island to Islay (d. Jem Garrard, 2008)

London Short Film Festival 8 -17 January 2010 Clermont-Ferrand international Short Film Festival & Market 29 Jan – 6 Feb 2010 Glasgow Shorts Film Festival 19-21 February 2010


seasons greetings from all at

scottish screen

Roughcuts Feb 2010  

Scottish Screen Industry magazine Feb 2010