Actor David Morrissey among guests as book and film festival line-ups unveiled

David Morrissey
David Morrissey will be a special guest at Screenplay 2013.

Esteemed actor David Morrissey will be the special guest at Shetland’s annual film festival Screenplay this year.

The week-long festival, now in its seventh year, gets underway on 31st August. Kathy Hubbard of organisers Shetland Arts described Morrissey as “amazing and multi-talented”: as well as acting, he writes, directs and produces.

Thanks to the wonders of digital technology, distinguished film industry figures Joshua Oppenheim (who directed The Act of Killing) and actor Toby Jones will be joining festival-goers in cyberspace to discuss their work too.

Ms Hubbard said: “After a packed year of regular cinema at Mareel, we really felt that Screenplay would have to be extra special this year, and we think we’ve cracked it.”

Screenplay’s mini-theme this year is “a matter of life and death”. Recent films including the intimate and moving I Am Breathing and Don Herzfeldt’s animated trilogy It’s Such a Beautiful Day, questioning what it means to be human, will be screened.

There will be “sock-puppet horror spoof”, and a special Screenplay/Wordplay film quiz with the theme “film of the book” will be hosted by curators, BBC film critic Mark Kermode and Linda Ruth Williams.

Initial details of this year’s Wordplay have also been unveiled. David Knopfler, of Dire Straits fame, will present two workshops: one in songwriting and one in how to survive as an artist in the business world.

Literature development officer Donald Anderson said the curators had “done a great job in pulling together an exceptional programme of events… with a rich mix of writers from a variety of genres from Shetland and farther afield”.

Dire Straits man David Knopfler.
Ex-Dire Straits man David Knopfler.

The first of two weekends of Wordplay events will see a reading by poet Tom Pow, who also writes travel books. He will share poems about the map of Treasure Island, and about the 1983 Soviet map of Edinburgh.

Mr Anderson said a “renowned” performance poet, Lemn Sisay, would also provide a highlight. He is the author of several critically acclaimed poetry collections, including Rebel Without Applause and, most recently, The Listener.

Music journalists Mark Ellen and David Hepworth will present an event entitled “The Entire History of Rock and Roll in 60 Minutes”. Between then they have presented the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test, anchored TV coverage of Live Aid, edited magazines such as Smash Hits, Mojo and Q, and interviewed “everyone from Bob Dylan through Bananarama to Rihanna”.

A post-event Q&A session the tantalising promise of “indiscreet comments about internationally famous rock stars”.

There will also be a host of poetry readings and workshops featuring local names. Those include Voe-based Laureen Johnston and multiple award-winning poet Jen Hadfield, while artist Dianne Garrick will lead a workshop on the use of maps in art.

* For more details on the Screenplay and Wordplay 2013 line-ups, see this week’s Shetland Times


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