Last month I made my way to the Isle of Mull with Scotland’s mobile cinema, the Screen Machine, to capture its arrival on video at the small ferry of Fishnish and hear what local residents had to say about its regular visits.
February found me putting together a handful of new video interviews for ReelScotland to promote a new film and a new Scottish play based on a film.
The 2012 Glasgow Film Festival finished tonight and one of the new films screened was Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy starring Scottish actor, Adam Sinclair. I was approached by the PR team behind the film in 2011 about interviewing Sinclair atop Edinburgh’s Oloroso restaurant which resulted in a video on Sinclair’s entry into acting and a second on Ecstasy:
The second pair of videos were created to promote new play An Appointment with the Wicker Man, based on the classic British horror film, The Wicker Man. I met with the play’s co-writer and star, Greg Hemphill, along with co-star Jimmy Chisholm during rehearsals, with both interviews now on YouTube:
Being a classic film fan can be a lonely experience, one of those people who regularly scans the TV listings for 1am repeats of Clarence Brown films or documentaries about RKO.
A few weeks ago I wrote in the paper about the arrival of Scorsese’s Hugo and new silent film, The Artist, both of which celebrate the early days of film, while on Thursday I noted the arrival of Edinburgh’s IMAX screen and the need to keep an eye on some of the smaller films in the city.
As I’ve discovered through working with Park Circus, the world is increasingly looking to the past for its entertainment, something I’m more than happy to be a part of.
I’ll be visiting the IMAX for Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol in a few weeks, and appreciate the need to promote quality new cinema via sites like my own www.reelscotland.com, but I also think it’s my responsibility to tell readers about our rich cinematic heritage, as I did back in September for the Evening News.
It’s also the reason I recently started another blog in the shape of Holyrood or Bust. With the huge volume of DVDs and Blu-rays currently being released, not to mention cinema re-releases and films such as The Artist, it’s a golden period for those wanting to write about classic film.
My most recent post was requested by a friend in New York, Will McKinley, who is a viewer and fan of the US TCM channel. Though I’m unable to watch the channel, I did become a convert to TCM during the TCMFF and used their recent Buster Keaton season to launch the site in October. This time, Will asked if I could write a post to celebrate the return of TCM host, Robert Osborne, to the screen after a short absence.
I obliged by using an excerpt from an interview I carried out with Osborne in LA earlier in the year:
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I’m now gearing up for a 2012 filled with even more classic films, including another trip to Bristol’s Slapstick Festival, the second Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema here in Scotland (see my video interview below), a return to Los Angeles and a few other projects that are in the early stages.
Through my work I’ve discovered a vibrant community of classic film fans it’s been a privilege to engage with them on various websites, via Twitter and, most importantly, in cinemas around the world.
Here’s to another classic year of film coverage in 2012.
Last week saw the second of my new Screen Machine videos go live on Vimeo, both of them filmed recently on Arran during the cinemas visit.
The brief here was to both interview senior operator, Iain MacColl, about his work on the cinema and to show how Screen Machine is set up, a question often asked by the 25,000 visitors who attend each year.
Both videos have had a positive response, mainly on Facebook from some of our 2,000+ followers. Let me know what you think.
I’ve been focusing on documentaries over the past few weeks, spending some time looking at the work of Scottish filmmakers who are doing interesting things away from the multiplexes.
One part of the Creative Scotland project I’m producing is scottishfilms.com, a resource for Scottish filmmakers which allows them to have their short films uploaded to a password protected section and watched by film festivals around the world.
The blog is a recent addition to the site and I’m carrying out a series of interviews with filmmakers, finding out more about their work and giving an overview of the talent working in Scotland today.
As well as talking to the organiser of documentary festival, Edindocs, my first two video interviews are now online, one with documentary filmmaker, Martin Smith, and the second with You’ve Been Trumped director, Anthony Baxter.
For last week’s Edinburgh Evening News column, I spoke to the Scottish Documentary Institute, the Edinburgh-based research centre specialising in documentary training, production and distribution, about their work, while this week was the turn of Edindocs.
I have further videos waiting to be published, with more in the pipeline, and I’m hoping it builds into a useful resource for other filmmakers and anyone interested in Scottish cinema.
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.
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:
As well as commenting on the EIFF from a critical perspective I’m looking after the blog for a new Creative Scotland-funded website, ScottishFilms.com. 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 ScottishFilms.com. 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.
I first met the team at Volunteer Centre Edinburgh (VCE) a couple of years ago while putting together an article for the now-defunct Scottish Government website, scotlandistheplace.com. The article discussed how new arrivals in Edinburgh from abroad could make connections and build their CV by volunteering in the city.
I was struck by the fantastic work they did with few resources and it wasn’t too long after this that the digital agency I worked for took them on as a client.
Then, in January 2011, I spoke to VCE again for an article on also now-defunct (there’s a theme here) Guardian Edinburgh website and realised that there was a lot of potential for online promotion that wasn’t being tapped. This made me want to do more when I heard that Volunteers’ Week was coming up, running from 1 – 7 June.
On 17 May I headed along to Edinburgh City Chambers for the Inspiring Volunteering Awards ceremony, filming various award winners for some short videos. For the last few days I’ve been editing the clips and publishing them on the VCE website, teaming up with an ex-colleague, Scott Langley, to ensure the copy complements the videos.
I’ll embed all the videos on here: they’re also available on the VCE YouTube Channel.
The biggest interview of the lot was with the actor Anthony LaPaglia, who was in town to promote a film which he starred in and executive produced, Balibo. A second clip from that interview has now appeared on the Glasgow Cinema City website, in which LaPaglia discusses his love of Scotland.
I should say that I seem to remember asking a fair few questions in the full interview, which I suspect will be online sometime soon, but here I let LaPaglia have his say:
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.
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, adventuresinprimetime.com 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: