The Planets Align...

It’s now become increasingly clear that spring, summer and beyond are cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For students of disaster capitalism one thing’s certain: the poor and vulnerable will suffer most, for as Warren Buffett reminds us, “it’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked.” In this case, as the situation worsens, it’s our politicians who will be called to account. And yet, I fear, nothing will change.

If I thought Brexit, austerity and climate catastrophe made the business of film seem trivial it’s contradictory to suggest film is more necessary than ever but having glimpsed a world devoid of culture – with venues closed, shows cancelled and film and TV production postponed or ceased it’s not a prospect to relish.

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Recovery...

For almost three months I’ve been confined to our spare bedroom following my discharge from the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital a.k.a. the Death Star, a foreboding construction that owes little to the study of architecture.

The reason for my admission was as random as it was prosaic – a fall caused by slipping on algae-slicked paving in my back garden. It wasn’t the fall however but the landing that did for me, having torn every ligament in my right knee, an injury that according to my surgeon, Mr. Rooney was rare enough to draw spectators to the second of my two operations.

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Dérive, she said...

On opposite walls in my shed currently I have two projects. These take the form of mood boards with photos and quotes scribbled on Post-it notes. On one wall is my long-term project about Tom Polgar, an offshoot of Voyageuse. On the other is my current project, Tilo in Real Life which exists as a set of index cards with handwritten descriptions of each scene.

Elsewhere in the house there’s two-thirds of a script on my laptop and a growing pile of props acquired for the shoot, mainly small electrical items bought off eBay. In my edit suite there’s a set of camera tests shot over the last nine months that are encouraging. Cutting these, I try to convince myself the film’s worth making. It’s strange to be in this position because what else can a filmmaker do after making a film but make another one? I also have a scrawled quote from Kafka that expresses my feelings – You are free, that’s why you are lost.

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To the Light House...

I’ve just returned from Dublin after a wonderful and well-received screening of Voyageuse at the Light House cinema, thanks to the Glasgow Film Festival, the Dublin Film Festival and the Scottish Government office in Ireland. It was also great to spend time with Douglas King and Darren Osborne, the director and actor/production designer of Super November, a film that also screened at the GFF earlier this year which I’m looking forward to when it plays in Glasgow – when else – this November.

What our two films share in common is they’re both self-funded, made on what the industry calls a micro-budget. Both films have proved popular with audiences too. That we received the warmest of welcomes in Dublin couldn’t be more of a contrast to how overlooked we are at home.

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