15th October 2019
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Screenplay film festival gets underway with packed schedule

The thirteenth iteration of the Screenplay film festival gets underway on Friday, with guests Sanjeev Bhaskar and Jeanie Finlay having made the trip north already.

Co-curators Mark Kermode and Linda Ruth Williams are also back, organising this year’s festival for the first time with Mareel cinema programmer Jenny Leask, who has taken the reins from Kathy Hubbard.

Mr Kermode admitted that Ms Leask had stepped into “very big shoes”, but Ms Ruth Williams said her contribution had been “absolutely fantastic”.

They praised the programme that Ms Leask had put together this year, which features documentaries, classic films and summer blockbusters amid the usual collection of lesser-known gems from around the world.

Danny Boyle’s latest film, Yesterday, about a failing musician who realises he is the only person who can remember the songs of The Beatles after a freak accident, will play out to a sold-out Screen 1 tonight, with star Sanjeev Bhaskar giving an on-stage Q+A afterwards.

Co-curators Mark Kermode and Linda Ruth Williams. Photo: Stephen Gordon.

Mr Bhaskar said that he was looking forward to screening the film tonight, a film he described as “feel-good” and “not cynical” in any way.

“Its a good old fashioned romance,” he added.

Ms Finlay is a documentary film-maker who will showcase three very different films in some unusual settings.

Sound It Out, her film about the last remaining record shop in Teesside, will feature on Saturday in Lerwick’s own record store, The Bop Shop.

She will then be taking part in a Q+A after Seahorse, a documentary that focuses on the struggles of Freddy, a gay transgender man, as he decides to carry his own baby and through the tribulations of pregnancy.

Her final documentary of the weekend is set within the confines of one of the largest TV shows of all time.

Game of Thrones: The Last Watch focuses on the people at the heart of one of TV’s biggest phenomenons, from the man behind the Night King to the person in charge of snow on the set.

“Its completely epic but also really human,” she said.

Describing working in the middle of a custom-built castle set, or filming from an Icelandic glacier, Ms Finlay said: “Its a scale of something that, as a documentary maker, is completely unfamiliar”.

Asked for what films cinema-goers should absolutely not forego across the next nine days, but without mentioning the entire programme,  Mr Kermode selected the screening of the 1922 silent film Rob Roy, with musical accompaniment from David Allison, Ms Finlay’s film Seahorse, Only You and Woman at War, while Ms Ruth Williams highlighted Scheme Birds, The Mustang, Dirty God and Supa Modo as unmissable.

“That is almost the whole programme,” Mr Kermode laughed.

 

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