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:
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.
I received some fantastic news tonight via the medium of Twitter: my film website, ReelScotland, has been placed at number 10 in The List magazine’s round-up of Scotland’s Best Websites.
According to the magazine, “ReelScotland gives the kind of dedicated independent view on Scotland’s film and TV industry that was surprisingly lacking when the site launched last year”.
The idea for the site stretches back to the end of the 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival, in the city’s Filmhouse bar, when various thoughts and theories about the state of film journalism in Scotland finally coalesced in my mind. Though there was a lot going on in the country in the area of film production and exhibition, it wasn’t easy to find information about it all in one place.
While I didn’t ever think I could cover everything, and I was already writing about film each week in the Edinburgh Evening News, I wanted to at least feature some of the lesser discussed areas, such as the work of new filmmakers, smaller festivals running in rural parts of the country and news about how Scotland’s talent is reaching out to the rest of the world. Most importantly, I didn’t want it to be parochial.
After a soft launch in March 2010, with some fine contributions from two other local film fans and writers, Ross Maclean and Richard Bodsworth, ReelScotland was born, with the intention of featuring some of the best film-related content in the country.
With plans for a redesign and some new features, plus an increase in the use of video and audio, it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next 12 months.
Right, that’s enough self-congratulating for one night, now I’ve got to go and have a closer look at the other 29 on the list…
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.
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 was invited back onto BBC Radio Scotland’s weekly Movie Café programme this week (I was last on in January when I covered Bristol’s silent film festival, Slapstick 2010) to discuss the re-release of James Cameron’s Avatar and Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist.
While I was based in the Edinburgh studio, host Janice Forsyth and fellow critic Paul Gallagher were over in Glasgow, and we discussed our generally negative reactions to Avatar returning to cinemas, with around eight more minutes of footage weaved into the narrative, and our love of the more traditional, Scottish made, The Illusionist.
I’d strolled along to the BBC Studios through the Grassmarket and up Victoria Street, the latter playing a prominent part of the stunning film which makes the city appear almost fairytale-esque. I’d already covered The Illusionist premiere back in June for the Edinburgh Evening News, and ReelScotland, but it was nice to air those views on the radio with fellow enthusiasts.