Special things promised for 10th Screenplay

The Screenplay festival of film is celebrating its 10th Birthday in August with an impressive lineup of guests, screenings and special events, with organisers saying the festival is “shaping up to be a corker”.

The festival runs between 27th August and 4th September and will be curated by well-known film critic and festival perennial Mark Kermode, academic Linda Ruth Williams and Kathy Hubbard of Shetland Arts. The full programme will be announced early in August.

At a launch on Tuesday night, Mrs Hubbard said that she could hardly believe the festival had been around for 10 years, but “what fun we have had.”

As well as important funders like Screen Scotland and the Charitable Trust, Mrs Hubbard said that the “community groups” and organisations like Amnesty International, Alzheimer’s Scotland, Unison and J&G Rays which had been a constant support and were very close to her heart.

“For us that’s about the community buying into the festival and feeling that the festival is about their concerns, as well as my concerns, which is seeing loads of films.”

Shetland Arts general manager Graeme Howell said that Screenplay was “one of those wonderful things you hope you will find when you take over an organisation ……it’s already perfectly formed.”

Guests were treated to a number of previews of films to be shown including a fun selection of movies aimed at the younger audience, including one Viking comedy Wickie and the Treasure of the Gods which will be dubbed live by Mareel staff!

There was also the showing of an excellent short of highlights from past festivals produced by local film maker JJ Jamieson.

For its 10th year, Screenplay will be celebrating the work of the people behind the camera. Confirmed guests include directors Kim Longinotto (Dreamcatcher, Love Is All), Iain Softley (K-PAX), Amma Asante (Belle), and producer Sarah Curtis (Hysteria). Director of Amnesty International UK Kate Allen will also be present, taking part in a Q & A with Kim Longinotto following a screening of her film Dreamcatcher.

There will be a range of fun and unique events, including an improvised live beatbox soundtrack by voice artist Jason Singh, and of course, the ever popular Screenplay Film Quiz. Other events include a programme of seven outreach events (Screenplay will be visiting community halls in Scalloway, Baltasound and Vidlin, and care homes in Unst, Yell and Levenwick). There is also an extensive education programme for children of all ages which aims to introduce them to the wonders of world cinema.

Shetland Arts creative project manager Cara McDiarmid has been co-ordinating an education programme for the last three years. She said: “I think that we are trying to bring young people films that they would not generally get to see and show them that it is not just in Hollywood that great films are made.

She said that Shetland Arts’ own efforts to encourage local film-makers had grown exponentially. “It’s absolutely amazing how many film makers have been doing things this year.” As well as new films a selection of local films made over the last decade will also be shown.

This year the Home Made section will include some spectacular examples, including a Hirda: A New Opera for Shetland and Havera: The Story of an Island, both by J.J. Jamieson. It will also feature the first film by the newly formed Shetland Film Collective, Ragnar – a preview of which was shown in Mareel’s cinema 2 – some “stunning” work by local film-poet Roseanne Watt and the annual screening of short films by makers of all ages for the Home Made sessions (the deadline for submission of home made films is 1st August, so budding film makers still have time to submit!). There will be a special award by Shetland ForWirds for the most effective use of dialect in a home-made film, so local film makers should bear that in mind.

Sheffield’s “poet laureate”, singer, songwriter and “ridiculously talented” guitarist Richard Hawley, once of Pulp and The Longpigs, will be performing a one-off gig as part of the festival. Having recently produced the soundtrack to Kim Longinotto’s 2014 film Love is All he will take part in a Q&A session with the director before going on to play in the auditorium on 30th August.

And, as if that wasn’t enough – to celebrate Screenplay will be raffling off a very special, limited edition Burra Bear – Peerie Mark o’ Brockenhurst! A creative collaboration between Wendy Inkster of Burra Bear fame, her sister Rachel Robinson (the hairstyling), and Mike and Gill Finnie (spectacles, collar and tie), this unique bear ‘bears’ an uncanny resemblance to a certain internationally renowned film critic and Screenplay curator …

Once again film fans will be able to purchase unlimited access to all Screenplay screenings through the Screencard membership scheme, providing members with priority booking, access to the Screenplay Guest Reception, and exclusive discounts, including a special member rate for tickets to the Richard Hawley gig. On sale now!

Mrs Hubbard said “There is so much happening at Screenplay this year that we have had a real challenge fitting it all in! However, we know our audience to be a determined and dedicated lot, and they will find a way of seeing plenty. And as it’s our birthday, there may also be occasional cake”.


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