Acclaimed actress Miranda Richardson and legendary film director Bill Forsyth will be at Shetland Arts’ sixth Screenplay film festival, which will be at Mareel for the first time.
The festival from 31st August to 9th September has also attracted documentary maker Alexandre O Philippe from Denver, Colorado, and as ever will feature a wide variety of films.
The festival is once again curated by film critic Mark Kermode and film historian Linda Ruth Williams.
There is a lot to squeeze in over 10 days, including music, screenings and Q&A sessions with Miranda Richardson and Bill Forsyth, and some terrific documentaries, including Patricio Guzmán’s Nostalgia for the Light, which brings together cosmology and human rights, and Anthony Baxter’s You’ve Been Trumped, about the US billionaire Donald Trump’s golf course development north of Aberdeen.
This year’s themed series is “It’s Dark Up North” in homage to Scandinavian film makers who do darkness better than anyone else. This will include André Øvredal’s Trollhunter, the Ingmar Bergman classic The Seventh Seal, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, Magnus Martens’ Jo Nesbø’s Jackpot, The King of Devil’s Island with the fantastic Stellan Skarsgård and Timo Vuorensola’s weird Iron Sky, much admired by Kermode.
But it’s not all darkness up north – Bent Hamer’s Kitchen Stories is a wry and humorous offering from Norway and Sweden, an excellent antidote to all that gloom.
For children Screenplay offers Ice Age – Continental Drift. And as a rare treat there’s a special double bill: The Itch of the Golden Nit is the result of collaboration between Aardman Animation and the Tate Movie Project, involving children between the ages of five and 13. This will be playing alongside a Wallace and Gromit favourite, A Matter of Loaf and Death. Following its popularity at last year’s festival, the London International Animation Festival is sending programmes of short films for children and young people from 0-14.
A spokeswoman said the festival was incredibly fortunate to be hosting Mr Philippe, who will present “two of the funniest films you are likely to see in a long time”: The People vs George Lucas is a hymn to Star Wars fans and film geeks everywhere, while The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus looks at the fuss that surrounded the hapless cephalopod who correctly predicted the outcome of the final eight games of the 2010 Football World Cup.
Screenplay will open with the 30th anniversary release of Chariots of Fire, a chance to re-live the emotion generated by the 2012 Olympic Games. Continuing this theme, Screenplay finishes on 9th September, the last day of the Paralympic Games.
The spokeswoman said: “To celebrate, we will be screening the finale of Shetland Arts’ nationwide Cultural Olympiad project, Hansel of Film – Shetland to Southampton and Back. We’ll be screening short films made by Shetlanders and by people and groups from all over the UK – there is immense variety and masses of creativity on show here, so don’t miss it.”
Shetland Arts development manager Kathy Hubbard said: “With school screenings and outreach activities going on over the whole period, this will be 10 days in which to glue your eyes to the big screen and celebrate film making and cinema in all its glorious diversity. Come and join us at Mareel!”
The full programme will be available on the Shetland Arts website www.shetlandarts.org soon and tickets for events at Screenplay and Wordplay, Shetland Arts’ annual book festival which runs alongside Screenplay, will go on sale via Shetland Box Office, Islesburgh Community Centre, (01595) 745555, www.shetlandboxoffice.org, in the coming weeks.