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Film Interview

A monster masterclass

Grabbers masterclass in Bo'ness with Kevin Lehane
Grabbers masterclass in Bo’ness with Kevin Lehane

The nice folk at Scotland’s oldest cinema, the Bo’ness Hippodrome, recently asked me to be part of their first Monster Day, a celebration of nasty creatures on the big screen featuring King Kong (who’s really just misunderstood) and screenwriter Kevin Lehane (who’s not nasty at all).

I was there to interview Kevin about his career in the film industry and his low budget Irish sci-fi feature, Grabbers, which I saw at the 2012 Edinburgh International Film Industry. Kevin managed to entice a few budding screenwriters along on the day and it was fascinating to hear how he’d left Ireland for Hollywood and returned home, only to have his script snapped up by a production company.

At the Hippodrome Grabbers masterclass
At the Hippodrome Grabbers masterclass

The event was organised by a group of local youth ambassadors for the cinema and I was put to shame by their film knowledge. I also had a lovely moment when Kevin mentioned a short review of Grabbers I’d written online which wasn’t as in-depth or well argued as it could have been, though he seemed to forgive me after we discussed our mutual love of 1990’s Tremors.

Watch the Grabbers trailer and try and track down a copy on DVD, it really is an entertaining way to spend an evening:

Photos courtesy Falkirk Community Trust

Categories
Broadcasting Film Interview

Explaining the Film Explainer

I was back on the BBC Radio Scotland Movie Cafe again today, this time interviewing Andy Cannon, Scotland’s only Film Explainer, ahead of a performance at the Inverness Film Festival this weekend.

The Film Explainer was a common sight in cinemas in early part of the 20th Century, when the literacy skills of film-goers meant they often couldn’t read the intertitles of silent films. In Japan, the Explainers helped patrons understand cultural differences in films made in the West.

Although I spoke to Andy for ReelScotland earlier this year, this new interview also included his collaborators, Wendy Weatherby and Frank McLaughlin.

The item starts at around 24 minutes in to this week’s show and will be on iPlayer for 7 days.

The Lost Art of the Film Explainer can be seen at the Inverness Film Festival this Sunday at 5pm.

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Interview Newspaper Writing

Scottish indie filmmakers in the spotlight

I’ve been writing a lot about Scottish independent filmmaking this week, ending it with an invitation to be part of a panel discussion at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse next Saturday.

At the start of the week I published a new blog post on ReelScotland from Neil Rolland, the organiser of a monthly Edinburgh film evening called Write Shoot Cut. The event features short films from around the country and I’m hoping to get along to Edinburgh’s Banshee Labyrinth next Monday to see what it’s like.

Then in Thursday’s Edinburgh Evening News I mentioned the same event, along with coverage of another film event on Saturday 15 September, this time at Filmhouse. Shoot First Scotland will feature screenings, an interactive panel discussion and professional insights into low-budget filmmaking in Scotland.

I’ve now been invited along to discuss short films alongside some much more qualified people, including some BAFTA-award winners. One of the films being shown at Shoot First Scotland will be Finlay Pretsell’s Ma Bar:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WjPhcntYKM

Categories
Interview Magazine Writing

Tremors interview free on SFX app

This is verging on old news but it impressed me…

The article I wrote for the October 2011 issue of SFX Magazine on the 1990 sci-fi/horror film, Tremors, is currently available for free on the magazine’s iPad/iPhone app.

It appears to be the only freebie on there so it’s a good opportunity to sample the magazine, which I’ve been subscribing to for around 17 years.

Tremors co-creator SS Wilson and franchise star Michael Gross (Burt Gummer) discuss each of the films, the unmade fifth movie, Thunder from Down Under, and the TV series.

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Film Interview Online

Bravely visiting the Highlands with Screen Machine

It’s been a while since I got to spend some time at my favourite cinema, the Screen Machine, the UK’s only mobile cinema, but it happened last week when I headed up to Eilean Donan Castle for a special screening of Disney-Pixar’s Brave.

Creative Scotland and VisitScotland wanted to take Brave to the village of Dornie following the LA, Edinburgh and Inverness premieres, offering local schoolchildren the opportunity to see the film a week before its Scottish release.

I took my video camera and iPhone along to film the event and to spread the word on social media channels, resulting in the following short film and around 100 photos over on the Facebook page (and soon the Flickr account).

[vimeo 46742612 w=500 h=281]

Brave Premiere at Eilean Donan Castle from Screen Machine on Vimeo.

I also published some interviews from the recent Brave press junket on ReelScotland, with Robbie Coltrane and Kevin McKidd featured in one and Kelly Macdonald in the other. There’s some audio from the latter interview in there as well, in which she corrects my abysmal attempt at saying ‘jings, crivvens, help ma boab’…thanks Kelly…

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Categories
Film Filming Interview Magazine Writing

Getting animated about Brave

As the world slowly goes mad for Disney-Pixar’s Brave, the US release taking in over $65 million at the box office on opening weekend and the UK premiere taking place in Edinburgh last weekend, my coverage of the Scottish-set film has started to appear in a few places.

Last month I mentioned that I’d contributed an interview with Brave’s director, Mark Andrews, to the new Highlands of Scotland Film Commission’s iPad magazine, which is now available to download from the App store.

I also took part in a recent press junket, with stars of the film such as Kelly Macdonald and Robbie Coltrane in Edinburgh to discuss the film. The interviews will appear closer to the film’s Scottish release on 3 August (it’s out in England and Wales on 17 August).

As a result I reviewed Brave on my site, ReelScotland, before covering it for the Edinburgh Evening News on Thursday ahead of its Edinburgh International Film Festival screening.

As for that press junket I mentioned, Scotland’s tourism agency, VisitScotland, today published a new video from the trip we took to Dunkeld and I spotted myself 0.18 in, taking this photo on Instagram:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fcOFLX6TDY&w=560&h=315]

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Film Interview Online Writing

Cannes preview of Highlands of Scotland Film Commission iPad brochure

I may not be heading to Cannes in person this year but some of my work will be premiering there as part of the Highlands of Scotland Film Commission’s impressive new iPad brochure.

I’ve been working with the team on various projects for the last few months and the brochure is one of the most exciting ones. I’ll have a few interviews in there, one of which is with the director of Disney Pixar’s Brave, carried out at the recent London press screening.

The Creative Scotland website has more on the brochure, which will be launched at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June as an app, along with a gallery of images:

Categories
Film Interview Newspaper Online Writing

Brave coverage on ReelScotland

I was in London a few weeks ago to attend a screening of the first 30-minutes of Disney-Pixar’s upcoming animated movie, Brave, a film that Scottish tourism bosses hope will repeat the success of Braveheart in the mid-90s.

I wrote about the film’s European premiere in Edinburgh this June for the Evening News but had an opportunity to write a feature for my own site, ReelScotland, this week. I’ve also added a clip of my question to director Mark Andrews that has been repeated on many other sites, that of what other Scottish films the animators at Pixar watched while making the film.

Brave is out in the UK on 17 August.

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Interview Online Twitter Writing

Return to the TCM Classic Film Festival

It was just under year ago that I wrote about my visit to the TCM Classic Film Festival, something of a mecca for classic film fans around the globe.

Guest appearances from Kirk Douglas, Warren Beatty, Peter O’Toole and Eva Marie Saint were just the icing on the cake of a four day event which saw some of the finest films ever made screened in the heart of Hollywood on LA’s most historic screens.

I enjoyed the Festival so much that I’ve decided to head back again next week, this time covering it for the esteemed classic film magazine, Cinema Retro, who have commissioned me to see as many films as possible in the alloted time.

This year the decisions are as difficult as they were in 2011, with screenings of Rio Bravo and The Pink Panther (introduced by Angie Dickinson and Robert Wagner respectively) clashing, while Casablanca is shown at the same time as the 50th Anniversary screening of Dr No.

You can see a list of the full line-up on the TCM website and there’s more from my interview with TCM host, Robert Osborne, on my classic film blog, Holyrood or Bust.

I’ll be tweeting about my trip and recording my thoughts for Cinema Retro while trying to arrange a few interviews along the way.

Categories
Filming Interview Online YouTube

New ReelScotland video interviews

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: