Hugely entertaining

As a member of the audience at Screenplay, I would like to comment on Colin Hunter’s assertion in “Cloud cuckoo land” (<i>Readers’ Views</i>, 8th September) that Shetland’s film festival is “a non event”.

As well as being hugely entertaining with something for all age groups, Screenplay has earned the enthusiastic support of professional filmmakers and commentators none of whom would take time out of their busy lives for “a non event”.

Each year so far, the festival has been curated by one of the UK’s foremost film critics and broadcasters, Mark Kermode, and his wife Linda Ruth Williams, who teaches film studies at Southampton University. Dr Kermode’s devotion to Screenplay was made plain in an article he wrote in The Observer of Sunday 29th August, an article which can be found at:

It is also important to remember that Dr Kermode has been particularly supportive of Shetland’s young filmmakers, Maddrim Media, to whom he also refers in The Observer.

While most of the Screenplay 2010 events took place in the Garrison Theatre, there were also outreach, care centre and educational screenings outwith Lerwick.

Everyone who attended will have had their own favourites, but I feel I must mention two documentaries made in America by British filmmakers – Young @ Heart, the unsentimental telling of the story of a Massachusetts choir of singers with an average age of 80; and Requiem for Detroit, the story of the decline of America’s third largest city which words alone could not describe – as well as a talk by Irish film-maker Ken Wardrop who showed the audience several of his own short films.

For youngsters, there was the thrill of meeting Jason Isaacs, star of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but at that point I was in Islesburgh attending Screenplay’s sister festival, Wordplay.

This year, participants in Wordplay included Shetlanders Christine De Luca, Christie Williamson and Robert Alan Jamieson, each of whom had taken the time to travel here in order to be involved.

Neither festival was “a non event” then.

Catherine Emslie


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