23rd November 2017

Film crew needs help to finish Skerries production

A Belgian film crew has launched a crowdfunding appeal to help them put the finishing touches on a documentary about Skerries.

The film, titled Vaarheim (or “Our Home”), was shot during 2015 and concentrates on one family’s attempts to grapple with the closure of the Skerries secondary school and their efforts to remain united.

Director Victor Ridley said the project, which was initially funded out of his own pocket, now required financial assistance to see it to its conclusion – the eventual release of the documentary.

He said: “My team and I financed the documentary with our funding, the shooting took almost a year and I only started editing almost a year later as I wanted to work with my editor.

“There isn’t any money and it’s hard work to edit a documentary. It takes time and we have to work alongside each other as well.

“I wanted to be as much ahead in the editing to start a crowdfunding because we need money to pay people for the colour editing, the sound mixing, the sound editing, the end of the editing, to make copies of the movie and to be able to send the documentary to festivals which costs some money as well.”

The crew are asking for €4,000 (around £3,500) to complete their film and according to their crowdfunding page this will allow €1,000 for editing, €700 for sound editing, €700 for a composer, €380 for grading, €900 for extra post-production costs and an eight per cent commission for the crowdfunding platform.

Mr Ridley said that he hopes to have the project finished by June of next year, but added that the film could be completed sooner depending on the success of the appeal.

The film centres on 12-year-old Ethan Arthur as he prepares for life at school in Lerwick. During the filming Mr Ridley was present for news of the secondary school closure and also news that Skerries organic salmon farm was to close, documenting on camera a turbulent period for the residents.

Explaining his inspiration for the film Mr Ridley said: “I discovered Out Skerries three years ago when doing some researches for my next documentary and I found an article on the internet about the possible closure of the secondary school and the consequences this closure would have on the small community.

“I got in touch with the people of the island, Julie Arthur was one of them. We emailed each other for a few weeks then I decided to go there to meet them. After three weeks on Skerries I came back home with the desire to make a documentary about the situation.

“When I came back with my shooting team in January 2015 I decided I would tell the story of Julie, mother of three and wife of Ryan. I wanted to tell the story of a wife and mother who is trying to keep her family together even though the members were going away.

“I went back to Skerries three times in a row during the year 2015 to shoot the documentary, watching this community being torn apart.”

The director said he developed a fondness for the island and its people, experiencing with them not just the bad days but also good ones such as New Year’s Eve.

“Out Skerries is a place unique in the world from my point of view,” Mr Ridley said. “It’s harsh life but there is this atmosphere that you cannot find in a lot of places.

“It’s hard to describe it but when the wind is falling you can hear a footstep from someone walking 100 metres away and it seems like he is walking next to you.

“People over there are like family to me. Even though I didn’t stay all year, I was with them when they heard the secondary school was going to be shut, I was there when they got the news that the fishing company was going to be closed, I was there when their boats almost went away and sank during a big storm and I was also there to live with them happy moments as well.”

• The crowdfunding appeal for Vaarheim can be found at: https://www.kisskissbankbank.com/en/projects/vaarheim

About Keegan Murray

Reporter for The Shetland Times. Interested in politics, literature and music. Born and bred Shetlander. Long suffering Newcastle United supporter.

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