The programme for Shetland Arts’ 13th Screenplay film festival has been announced, with the promise of “10 days of exciting, poignant, funny [and] action packed cinema”.
The festival, set to run from 30th August to 8th September, is the first since Kathy Hubbard stood down as a director of the festival.
Stepping in is Shetland Arts’ film programmer Jenny Leask, who will slot in alongside the festival’s co-curators critic Mark Kermode and film academic Linda Ruth Williams.
Ms Leask, who already programmes the cinemas at Mareel year-round, said: “Taking on Screenplay has been a challenge but also very exciting and an absolute privilege. I’m thrilled to be involved in such a vibrant and successful festival, and look forward to sharing outstanding films from all over the world with our wonderful audiences.”
This year, as well as family films for all ages and the popular Look North section showcasing films from Nordic countries and the North in general, a Look South strand has been added, featuring four films from Australia and New Zealand.
Also new to the festival is Women’s Work, a collection of films directed by women. With other festivals attracting mounting criticism for not screening enough female-directed films Ms Leask said that Shetland Arts’ was “proud” to announce a bill where around 50 per cent of films directed or co-directed by women
“And this isn’t just about tokenism – these are brilliant, risk-taking, entertaining pieces of cinema”, she added.
Jeanie Finlay, who has been directing thoughtful and intimate documentaries since 2007, will attend with not one but two brand new films – Seahorse and Game of Thrones: The Last Watch – as well as one from earlier in her career, Sound It Out.
Harry Wootliff will attend the festival’s closing night with her debut feature Only You, a romantic drama set in Glasgow and described as “nuanced and moving”.
Actor and writer Sanjeev Bhaskar, best known for hit BBC series Goodness Gracious Me, is also making the trip north, to talk about his turn in Danny Boyle’s Yesterday as well as his long career in television, film and theatre.
Composer and multi-instrumentalist David Allison will be providing live musical accompaniment to 1922 silent historical drama Rob Roy, a touring production from the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival in Bo’ness.
Home Made, a programme of sub-4-minute films made by local filmmakers also returns, accompanied by a bonus screening of Shetland actress Marnie Baxter’s directorial debut, Bad Mother.
And, to get audiences started on making their own contribution to next year’s festival, there will be two filmmaking workshops, one on documentary and the other on stop-motion animation.
This year also sees a new Screenplay Audience Award, with audiences being asked to rate the films they’re seeing, so look out for voting forms at screenings and a daily leader board in the foyer and on the Screenplay Facebook page.