Categories
Interview Online TV

Young James Herriot week on ReelScotland

As well as covering a large amount Scottish films on ReelScotland, I also try to feature as much new television as I can.

Following articles on BBC Scotland’s The Field of Blood and Burnistoun, I was on the set of All Creatures Great and Small prequel, Young James Herriot, in July.

Starring Iain De Caestecker, Amy Manson and Ben Lloyd-Hughes, the series is set in the 1930s and follows a young James Herriot as he becomes the accomplished vet we know from the books and original TV series.

I’ve decided to run interviews with the three leads and their co-star, Tony Curran, from Tuesday until Friday, with episode one showing on BBC One on Sunday evening.

I’m also dropping in some audio clips from the interviews alongside the text, making the interviews more interesting for fans. I’ll add links to the interviews on here during the week and also embed the audio below:

‘It’s about James Herriot becoming the character everyone knows’: Iain De Caestecker on Young James Herriot

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‘She just breezes through life’: Amy Manson on Young James Herriot

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Categories
Film Filming Online Writing YouTube

The future of film criticism is in the past

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.

This past year has found me immersed in cinema history, through my visit to the TCM Classic Film Festival (TCMFF), my work running the Park Circus blog and my weekly Edinburgh Evening News column.

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.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8K9AZcSQJE]

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.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=W9MIKcPObSI]

Categories
Interview Online

Craig Armstrong interview for Park Circus

He’s written scores for films as diverse as Moulin Rouge, Plunkett and Macleane and The Incredible Hulk, but Glasgow-based composer, Craig Armstrong, has also collaborated with director Peter Mullan on all of his films since 1993’s Close.

To celebrate the release of Mullan’s first feature on DVD, 1998’s Orphans, I interviewed Armstrong for Park Circus’ blog. We discussed his close working relationship with Mullan and some of his other projects, including the latest Justin Timberlake sci-fi, In Time.

I was also recently able to interview film director/critic/scholar, Pierre Rissient, for the Park Circus blog, when we discussed his work on 1969’s La Piscine and his recommendations for forgotten classic films.

Here’s one of Armstrong’s best known tracks, ‘Escape’.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhP6F-vxeZI]

Categories
Film Online Talk Twitter

Talk at Dundee Discovery Film Festival

http://www.getambition.com/2010/10/webinar-6-now-youre-talking/

Last week was a bit of a busy one around these parts, meaning I didn’t have time to mention the talk I gave at the Discovery Film Festival on Saturday 22 October, held at Dundee’s DCA.

As part of a workshop entitled From Tweets To Blogs: Online Film Writing, I offered some of my thoughts on film reviewing today and the role of the blogger/film journalist to an audience of young film fans.

With anyone now able to set up a blog and start telling the world their views on the latest movies, I strongly believe there are some basics that everyone should at least attempt to heed if they want to appear semi-professional to their readers. Having a wide frame of reference and not simply discussing the latest Hollywood movies were two of the points I offered up, as well as advising them to enjoy what they’re doing.

Writing this post also reminded me that it’s been a year since my AmbITion talk was put online. I discussed how arts organisations can use social media to help promote themselves and the tone of voice required for online audiences – click through on the image below for the full talk.

Online seminar

Categories
Facebook Filming Online

Screen Machine behind-the-scenes videos

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.

Categories
Facebook Film Online Twitter

Screen Machine + classic films = success Galore

Whisky Galore

Back in July I wrote about some of my work with Scotland’s mobile cinema, The Screen Machine, which sees me managing the Machine’s social media presence and PR. With the promotion of an upcoming tour of 1940s film, Whisky Galore, the cinema is back in the news again.

We may have over 2000 Facebook fans and a growing Twitter presence, but nothing beats the traditional press release to generate some buzz around a project, particularly one as exciting as Screen Machine taking Whisky Galore back to Barra, where it was filmed in 1948.

Within a day we had news items on the BBC, STV and Stornoway Gazette websites, plus news items in the Daily Mail and other print publications. I also started some discussion on Twitter, inviting film fans to suggest other famous Scottish films that should be taken to locations around the country.

The response was fast and good fun, with some interesting ideas coming from all over the Twittersphere.

Screen Machine locations
Screen Machine locations

The buzz has continued over subsequent weeks, with a new competition recently added to the main website, offering a tour of the Scotch Whisky Experience and DVDs of the film.

Most importantly ticket sales are strong and the response from attendees positive, hopefully ensuring more special screenings in the coming year.

Listen to the BBC Film Programme’s trip to see Screen Machine on Barra on the BBC iPlayer.

Categories
Film Filming Interview Online

Interviewing Scottish documentary filmmakers

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.

Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Categories
Interview Newspaper Online Writing

Yuki 7 infiltrates the UK

Before I go any further, please turn your speakers up and press play on the trailer below – I’ll see you in 2 minutes 22 seconds:

How cool was that? As a spy fan, and someone who appreciates a decent homage, I was bowled over by Yuki 7 when I first heard about her. She’s the creation of US illustrator Kevin Dart, a man with a love of the movies and a finely tuned sense of humour (he likes Jim Henson, who I may have mentioned on this blog a few times).

After watching the trailer I got in touch with Kevin regarding the possibility of running a feature in my Edinburgh Evening News column, with an associated interview on the Reel Time blog. I’ve not read about Yuki 7 in any UK press up to know, so I’m not sure how widespread her fame is on this side of the pond.

For someone working on the release of his second high profile book, Looks That Kill, Kevin was generous with his time. The feature ran today in the paper and I duly tweeted about it, but it’s impossible to get across just how gorgeous this book is until you see it. With a bonkers, Avengers-ish, plot and some truly eye and mouthwatering illustrations, this is a book for anyone who misses those 60s spy movies that jumped on the Bondwagon back in the day.

Looks That Kill cover, courtesy Kevin Dart
Looks That Kill cover, courtesy Kevin Dart
Inside the pages of Looks That Kill, courtesy Kevin Dart
Inside the pages of Looks That Kill, courtesy Kevin Dart

I’m hoping a few more people now sample the world of Yuki 7 and the Gadget Girls and I can’t wait for the promised short film he mentions in the interview and the third book in the series. In the meantime, head over to the Yuki 7 website and find out what all the fuss is about.