The last film I saw from Scotland being advertised on TV was “N.E.D.S.”, while not my cup of tea, I tip my hat to the cast and crew to getting their film made. However the writer and director is well known in the UK, and he’s already made a couple of films and been in quite a lot of films too, so it’s no surprise that what little money our professional bodies are giving out, went to that director and project.
Again, the Scottish film industry is putting out the same films again and again – dark comedies, or kitchen-sink dramas – “Donkeys” (which had a big hoopla, then vanished!), “Red Road”, “Wild Country” (although that was a werewolf horror film that didn’t quite work, but Peter Capaldi was excellent) a few years back, Gamerz (a nice original idea yet just vanished after being in Cineworld for two weeks!), “Valhalla Rising” didn’t even get a cinema release in it’s own country! Hallum Foe flopped, and I’m struggling to name other Scottish films in the last 5 years.
Surely it’s time to try different genres? Where are our “Back to the Future”, “Ghostbusters”, “Scott Pilgrim”, “Inception” and even the re-booted version of “Batman” which is filmed in the UK yet, known as an American film. At least “Kick Ass” had a go at it (and again, suffered at the box office, but DVD sales have secured a sequel, “Balls to the Wall”).
The UK (or, England) has two massive franchises – James Bond (23 films and counting!) and Harry Potter (I think there will be 8 films by the time the last part is released) and they have made billions and billions of pounds worldwide.
In Holland in 2009, 66 films were made. In Scotland there was about 6. Can you name them? There needs to be a change – different genres, that might be a bit more affordable, to be explored. Romantic comedies like “The Decoy Bride” with David Tennant and Kelly MacDonald, and “Fast Romance”, a low-budget romantic comedy with some well known names involved. I just hope for the sake of the latter, a distribution deal within the UK can be found, but I don’t doubt for a second they’ll get picked up in Europe.
I was told by the head of Creative Scotland in a recent radio interview that I had finished my first film, Night is Day, and what could they do to help me and I was told right now they have no money and that when my movie was finished, it would be my calling card and I was to pitch another movie idea to them then and they’ll see what they can do. So I need to make a film first, before they’ll help me make a film? So how do I get money to pay all of my cast and crew? Lottery funding? Nope. Max out my credit cards ala Kevin Smith? Nope, not in today’s financial market. Give the script to a casting agent and hope that Harvey Keitel reads it and part-funds it and stars in it ala Tarantino? Or make a shock-horror film about zombies in the woods in a cabin and hope that it gets banned in cinemas so a low-key UK distributor buys it and then I’ll go on to make Spider-Man 10 ala Sam Raimi?
There is so little support and affection for new talent in Scotland, anybody trying to break through the ranks are stopped at the first hurdle and forced to go think of something new to try. Well not this filmmaker. I’ve got ideas for films that international audiences will lap up – not ground-breaking, thought-provoking, award winning movies – but fun films where you can go to the cinema for 2 hours (well, an hour and a half, if I have my way…) and forget what’s going on outside in the world. Then hopefully like the soundtrack enough to go out and buy it!
So tell me Scotland – what does it take for a rising filmmaker in this country to make it? Will I be forced to move country just to get some recognition?
Surely, I’m not alone in thinking there needs to be a change?
But rest assured, I am not giving up.
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Video Rating: 4 / 5