Film Interview Online YouTube

Interview with actress Melissa George

It was in June 2010 that I headed north to Muir of Ord, just outside Inverness, to interview the cast and crew of new British action thriller, A Lonely Place to Die.

Star Melissa George was there alongside director Julian Gilbey and co-stars Ed Speleers and Stephen McCole, but it was George who I managed to get a 15-minute chat with about her career – including Mulholland Drive, The Limey, In Treatment and Alias – and her Scottish roots.

The full interview is now up on the ReelScotland YouTube Channel and, although it is a lengthy one, it was preferable to a cut down version that you could find anywhere else. There’s also more on the film over at ReelScotland.

Film Filming Online YouTube

Edinburgh Fringe interviews

It’s been a few years since I covered the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival for the Edinburgh Evening News or my own blog, but I still try to keep an eye out for something that might interest fellow film and TV fans.

This year I got in touch with the team behind Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut, a loving homage to the 1941 film, and asked for an interview with two of its stars, Gavin Mitchell and Jimmy Chisholm, for ReelScotland. I took along my video camera and set it up in the noisy bar at the Pleasance to film a short chat for YouTube, and the guys couldn’t have been nicer.

Then, as a vintage television fan (to clarify, it’s the TV programmes that are vintage, not me), I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to interview Clive Mantle, one of the stars of 1980s TV show, Robin of Sherwood. He’s in town playing Tommy Cooper in the brilliant Jus’ Like That.

This time I decided on recording short audioboos, one about the show and one about Clive’s TV work, which also includes The Vicar of Dibley, Casualty and Holby City. During the interview it emerged the cast and crew of Robin had attempted to revive the show with ITV a few years back, only for the channel to turn the idea down.

I blogged about it and it generated hundreds of page views and a number of comments, including one from another star of the show, Mark Ryan. I’ve now had interest from fans and press around the globe and it’ll be interesting to see if the story goes any further.

Broadcasting Film Interview

ReelScotland and Screen Machine on BBC Radio Scotland

Senior Screen Machine operator, Iain MacColl, in action
Senior Screen Machine operator, Iain MacColl, in action

The team at BBC Radio Scotland invited me back on the Movie Cafe today to discuss a couple of my current projects, Screen Machine and ReelScotland.

First we talked about Scotland’s mobile cinema, Screen Machine, a project I’m currently working on for Creative Scotland. The cinema’s senior operator, Iain MacColl, was on the line to Janice Forsyth to talk about his long-time involvement with the cinema, before some interviews I took on Arran a few weeks back were broadcast. I  then added some thoughts on the importance of cinema to communities in rural areas.

Part of the Arran visit was to shoot some video of the Screen Machine for the YouTube channel, but while that continues to be edited here’s a shorter version I cut for ReelScotland’s YouTube channel:


The other reason for me being there was to talk about ReelScotland’s recent placement in The List magazine’s Best Scottish Websites feature, coming 10th out 30 sites, more recognition for the site which is doing well in its second year and which I’m developing some new ideas for.

The show is available on BBC iPlayer until Thursday 18 August and the above segments begin at around the 26 minute mark.


Film Online Writing

Classic film blogging for Park Circus

Park Circus blog
Park Circus blog

I don’t think I’ve mentioned my work for classic movie distributor, Park Circus, here on the blog before, probably because I’ve been too busy actually working on the project to discuss it.

Based in Glasgow, Park Circus represent the back catalogue of film distributors such as Walt Disney and MGM, ensuring they’re seen in cinemas around the globe every day of the week. At present they have around 12,000 titles on their books, and at any time dozens of those are being shown from the UK to Australia via the USA, Sweden and dozens of other countries.

For the last few months my role has been to commission and coordinate the publication of numerous blog posts which discuss some of those 12,000 films, usually focusing on titles which are being re-released in the UK and around the world. In the last few months we’ve had The African Queen, Taxi Driver, The Last Picture Show and a number of classic DVDs.

Content has included Q&A’s with those restoring the films, a blog post from silent film pianist Neil Brand on a Douglas Fairbanks DVD, a feature on cult movies and a weekly round-up of some of the most interesting screenings taking place.

With far less new content to promote than those discussing 3D blockbusters, it’s a challenge to make these films relevant to modern audiences, but a resurgence of interest in classic cinema and the increase of digital projection making it easier to get these films out to cinemas helps. Add to the mix some promotion on Twitter and Facebook and you’ve got a fantastic project to work on.

Currently I’m working on a Film Noir Blogathon to tie into the July 22 re-release of 1946’s Gilda, starring Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth, and after launching it last week we had some fantastic coverage from other film blogs around the world, including Cinemart and

All this ties into my personal love of classic cinema, which I try to cover on my Edinburgh Evening News blog regularly and which I savoured on my recent trip to the TCM Classic Film Festival.

Film Interview

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2011 round-up

Col Needham at the Edinburgh International Film Festival
Col Needham at the Edinburgh International Film Festival

It may have finished a week ago, but the memory of this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) still lingers around these parts.

That mainly has something do to with the fact that my most recent Edinburgh Evening News column was published in Thursday’s paper but took another 24 hours to make it online, so my thoughts, for what their worth, seem to be some of the last to be published on the EIFF.

Although it’s been a tough few years for the Festival, I think they had been on the right track and that scrapping everything for 2011 was a very bad move. I think there’s a chance that 2012 could see things revert to normal, hopefully with some fresh new ideas from an experienced Artistic Director, but if the current regime stick with this year’s vision then I suspect any goodwill will vanish from distributors, critics and anyone buying tickets.

On a happier note, part of my EIFF interview with IMDB CEO, Col Needham, is now online. I don’t actually say anything in this five minute excerpt, but did manage to get a few questions in there over the 90 minute chat. Click on the image below to take you through to the video:

Film Filming Online Writing YouTube

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2011 coverage

Covering subtlemob on STV

In 2011 I’m celebrating my fourth year of attendance at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) in a professional capacity, and it’s the year that my involvement in the Festival has changed the most.

Wheras in the past I’ve turned up to press screenings and written opening and closing night reviews for the Edinburgh Evening News and my own blogs or websites, this year I’ve found myself looking at the bigger picture for a number of outlets as freelance opportunities come my way.

As well as commenting on the controversial changes to the EIFF in the paper, I’ve been covering the Festival for local news website, STV Edinburgh, mainly focusing on the special events that make up roughly half of this year’s programme. This is a return to STV for me following some work at the end of 2010 on their YouTube/archive service.

My first piece, in conjunction with local writer Claire Connachan, saw me filming an interview with the creators of a subtlemob, Our Broken Voice. The first feature went live last Thursday and within a few hours had rocketed to the top of Google News results for the Festival and remained there for 24 hours, with more articles to come in the next few days:

subtlemob feature in Google News
subtlemob feature in Google News

As well as commenting on the EIFF from a critical perspective I’m looking after the blog for a new Creative Scotland-funded website, The site has existed as an online videotheque for a few years now, showcasing some of the best Scottish filmmaking talent in a password protected area, but last week saw the launch of phase one of a new blog, part of which I’ll be looking after.

With the EIFF the place where many filmmakers are congregating I’m trying to make contact with some of them for future site content while working with the behind-the-scenes team to ensure some footage from the any industry events can be seen on The site will get another facelift soon and I hope to build it into an important resource for Scottish filmmakers.

Finally, as well as being asked to interview the charming and self-effacing CEO of IMDb, Col Needham, on stage on Sunday, my other involvement this year comes in running Scottish film website, ReelScotland, which I launched just over a year ago. Although the above work makes it impossible to attend as many films as in previous years, a small team of writers are currently taking the strain, providing a high quality range of reviews and interviews. I’m merely the editor for much of this, though I do hope to see at least a handful of films alongside the special events.

All-in-all it’s been a pretty exhausting EIFF already, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.


Film Interview

EIFF 2011 interview with IMDb founder Col Needham

IMDbIt’s a big week here in Edinburgh, one which sees the launch of the 65th Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) and some major changes for the old girl in her 65th year. As part of the Festival, I’ll be carrying out an on-stage interview with the founder of the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), Col Needham, on Sunday.

As the EIFF’s focus shifts from being a showcase of films and filmmakers to being a celebration of film (at least I think that’s what’s happening, I raised a few questions in the Edinburgh Evening News on this very subject a few weeks ago), one side effect is that we have some of the great and the good of the online film world making their way to the city.

Col Needham founded IMDb over 20 years ago as a resource for a few film fans, before Amazon bought the site and helped turn it into something most of us have visited at least once – it now receives over 100 million unique visitors per month.

We’ll be discussing the rise of IMDb and how new technologies are helping film fans and filmmakers online, plus a few other topics suggested by the audience. If you have any questions you’d like me to ask Col, let me know in the comments below or via Twitter.

The event takes place on Sunday 19 June at 14.30 in the Teviot Row House Debating Hall.

Film Filming Interview Online YouTube

Green with Envy in the Edinburgh Evening News

Kermit the Frog

Following my Muppet weekend back in April, when I was given the opportunity to interview Muppet producer Martin G Baker, I was also lucky enough to be allowed behind-the-scenes of The Jim Henson Company during my recent trip to Los Angeles.

Although I did film the tour I sadly wasn’t allowed to upload it to my YouTube channel, but my exterior shots of the building are on Flickr.

This week, as a reaction to the release of a new trailer for the next Muppet movie, cunningly disguised as a romantic comedy, I wrote about Green with Envy for today’s Edinburgh Evening News column. Although The Muppets is out in the US in November, it won’t be seen in the UK until February 2012, something I reacted to on my TV blog, with an open letter to Jason Segel.

Jason’s still not been in touch, but I’d still like to see the film before 2012 so if anyone needs some coverage of the film’s US premiere from a UK perspective, perhaps with some red carpet video interviews, I’m free for commission.

In the meantime, here’s that trailer for Green with Envy that’s been garnering so much attention:


Film Talk

In conversation with Peter Mullan

A quick thanks to the team at Creative Loop, the organisation developing talent for Scotland’s creative industries, who invited me along to their Student Media Festival in Glasgow this morning.

I was asked to interview one of Scotland’s most important creative talents, Peter Mullan, in front of an audience of up-and-coming talent. We discussed his career to date, with a particular focus on NEDS, his most recent film, and the students had a chance to question him.

His main piece of advice was that people need to enjoy making films in the first instance, particularly if they’re directing, as riches don’t necessarily come their way. We only had an hour and I’m sure there was a lot more to be discussed, but hopefully the audience gained something from it.

My second interview of the week will be this Saturday at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse, where I’ll be discussing Jim Henson and his career with producer, Martin Baker.

Film Talk TV

Talking TV history at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse

Same and Friends

I felt honoured this week to be asked along to introduce an upcoming event at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse as part of the cinema’s mini-festival celebrating the life and work of Jim Henson, Muppets, Music and Magic.

Between Monday 18 and Thursday 28 April, fans of Henson and the Muppets will be able to see eight films and nine compilations of Henson’s work, from his earliest attempts at making commercials right up to the productions he was working on before he passed away in 1990.

I’m a huge fan of Henson and think he created some of the most innovative television ever made, leaving the entertainment industry a much duller place when he died at an early age. His legacy is continued by his friends and colleagues, including Muppet producer, Martin Baker, whom I interviewed for both the Edinburgh Evening News and ReelScotland ahead of his appearance at Filmhouse over the Easter weekend.

I’ll be doing a Q&A with Martin at the screening of Muppet History 101, an impressive 100 minutes look through the Henson vaults at how his brand of humour became a global success. The talk takes place on Saturday 23 April at 18.15.

Here’s a clip from an early Henson production, Sam and Friends:


© Photography courtesy of The Jim Henson Company, The Muppets Studio, LLC, and Sesame Workshop