It’s been a while since I had a chance to review a theatre production, so I was delighted when The National Theatre of Scotland got in touch to commission me for an article for a tour of David Greig’s Dunsinane.
Dunsinane is Greig’s sequel to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, so the NTS team were keen to feature a piece on sequels in various media, focusing mainly on films and books. A bit of research dug up the fact that there aren’t too many sequels to theatre productions in existence, something I ponder in the article.
The play has now finished its most recent tour but hopefully it’ll be back soon with a reprint of the rather lovely programme.
Earlier this year, I headed up to Skye to start work on issue two of the magazine, interviewing a number of local filmmakers and educators. I visited Sabhal Mòr Ostaig college to speak to staff, while Chris Young, producer of The Inbetweeners, discussed his base on Skye.
The app also features a look around Skye’s best filming locations and a few other features of interest to production teams planning to shoot in the area.
Alongside the written content, this issue includes some short video interviews I filmed/edited during the trip.
As a long time fan of Joss Whedon’s work, be it Buffy, Angel, Firefly or any number of other projects, I was delighted to get the chance to interview him for this week’s Culture Studio on BBC Radio Scotland.
He was in Scotland to promote his latest film, Much Ado About Nothing, and he explained how he came to make the Shakespeare adaptatation with a group of friends from his numerous films and TV series.
I spent last Thursday beside the Scottish Parliament with Screen Machine, Scotland’s mobile cinema, as it made a rare visit to the capital for its 15th anniversary launch.
As Project Coordinator for the anniversary, I’ve been working for the last few months on a programme of activities around the Highlands, Argyll & Bute, North Ayrshire and Western Isles, with a series of special screenings and one day film festivals currently being prepared.
As well as showing some independent and short films, the cinema will visit a number of new islands, including Eigg and Rum, and will make a return visit to the Orkney islands of Sanday, Stronsay, Westray and Hoy.
News of our first anniversary film, We Are Northern Lights, the crowdsourced documentary, hit the papers at the start of last week, while our Parliament visit saw Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, help launch our new programme. Children from Bruntsfield Primary came along to watch some short films on the cinema.
I was on the BBC Culture Studio today to discuss the project and there should be more in the national and local press as the year goes on.
Last November I was sent by BBC Radio Scotland to North Queensferry, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, to attend filming of the second season of detective drama, Case Histories.
My interview with actor Jason Isaacs was transmitted today on the BBC Culture Studio – you can hear the segment from around 1 hour and two minutes in.
I was also on the show yesterday with a report from the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, the building where the great and the good gather each year for the Cannes Film Festival. You can hear my interview with Philippe Octo from around 9 minutes in.
Back in January I mentioned that I’d just returned from a 10-day trip to the Côte d’Azur as a guest of the local tourist board, who were keen to highlight the region’s film connections to potential visitors.
Since then I’ve been putting together a new blog, www.filmtravellercotedazur.com, which will see me cover the trip via blog posts, photos and video content over the next few months.
A quick plug for my appearance on last week’s BBC Movie Café, in which I interview members of an Edinburgh adult education course who attend a monthly film screening at the city’s Cameo cinema.
The group, mainly comprised of retired film fans, have been meeting for the last 15 years and after featuring the story on my own site, ReelScotland, I pitched the story to BBC Radio Scotland, who sent me along to a screening of Argo.
The 2013 Glasgow Film Festival finished a week ago, eleven days of premieres and special events which brought filmmakers and film fans to the Glasgow Film Theatre and other venues around the city.
This year found me covering the event for the BBC Movie Café, interviewing actors such as James D’Arcy for Cloud Atlas and Gemma Arteron and Saoirse Ronan for Byzantium, while writer/director Joss Whedon was in town to promote his low-budget adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
I also visited the brand new BFI Mediatheque at Bridgeton Library, a resource which houses thousands of hours of film and TV which would otherwise be unavailable. I took my iPhone along and recorded a video interview with Mediatheque curator, Simon McCallum for ReelScotland.
The world has once more gone Middle Earth mad, with the release this week of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit in cinemas, nine years after his last visit to The Shire.
I was asked by the BBC Movie Cafe and the Edinburgh Evening News to head along to Edinburgh’s Cameo Cinema last weekend for a special screening of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a 10 hour endurance test involving Orcs, Dwarves and people dressed as Hobbits.
The radio segment can be heard over on BBC iPlayer for another few days, while I’ve reproduced the Evening News column below:
With The Hobbit arriving in cinemas tomorrow, it seemed like a good idea last Sunday to head to the Cameo to watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy on the big screen.
At around 10 hours in duration, this was no ordinary film screening, meaning I had to be prepared for all eventualities. Forget the lembas bread wrapped in leaves favoured by Frodo and Sam, I went for some ham sandwiches and too much coffee.
The films were a joy to revisit, with Peter Jackson’s vision of Middle Earth, a dark and brooding place with the occasional glimpse of light as our heroes made their way to Mordor, looking suitably epic in the original 35mm prints.
Leaving the screening on a high, I hoped The Hobbit would prove to be as exhilarating, as Jackson returned to his world with a new Bilbo Baggins in the shape of Martin Freeman alongside Sir Ian McKellan as Gandalf.
The director has embraced a pioneering new technology which doubles the normal frame rate of the film, 48 fps (frames per second) instead of 24. Jackson claims this is a more immersive experience and that all films will go this way.
Rather than looking as big and bold as Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit looks more like it’s shot on the set of a 1980s soap opera. While landscapes look lush and rich, close-ups of the actors bring you closer to them, making the heavy prosthetics and make-up more obvious.
Most importantly, the thin story doesn’t justify the three-hour length, with not much really happening apart from some fights, lots of running around and the appearance of Gollum.
With two more films to come, it looks like it’s going to be a slog to get to the end of this particular journey.