Marginalia...

Recently I hosted a Q&A at the CCA Glasgow for the makers of Far from the Apple Tree, an ambitious supernatural thriller with a nod to the 1970s English horror genre. Shot over 12 days using multiple formats that required building a bespoke film lab, it’s an amazing achievement.

Rarely do I attend such events but I wanted to applaud the film’s makers, Grant McPhee, Olivia Gifford, Steven Moore and Ben Soper, as well as the cast and crew who came to the screening. The film’s director, Grant is also a leading light of Year Zero/Tartan Features, a group of Scottish independent filmmakers who produce films with little industry or institutional support so naturally I’m simpatico with their cause. Here’s a link to Grant’s blog which offers a great insight into the process.

After the Q&A I wondered – could Apple Tree or any other indie film be improved with more money? Of course the question’s moot because the film already exists. But who’s to say what demands might have been made on the makers in exchange for largesse?

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The Green, Green Light...

The first days of 2019 have been unusually busy for this unemployed housewife; work on the script for my new film, Tilo in Real Life, a submission – a long shot – to the US in relation to a major project about Tom Polgar/CIA which I’ve been researching over the last eighteen months or so. I’ve begun to sketch out another script idea, potentially my first live action film since 2003. I’m also fielding requests about screening Voyageuse with my usual cautious pessimism.

After the high of the BIFAs the film attracted a small amount of publicity and comment; an interview with Phil Miller in The Herald, plus a very welcome mention by Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian, coming shortly after his four-star review of the film. It was truly special to swap messages with him during the BIFA ceremony after he tweeted how pleased he was that the film had won. I was surprised too when Siobhan Synnot announced me as her Person of the Moment on STV’s Scotland Tonight. Seems I have a lot to live up to.

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BIFA 2018...

And the winner is…

Last night I attended the BIFA 2018 awards. How I got there remains a mystery. All I know is that back in the summer, one morning I got a call on the landline at home. Usually I pick up and quickly cut the caller off so I was surprised to find it wasn’t the usual scam cold call but a very polite person from BIFA inviting me to submit Voyageuse to their awards. Which was nice of them but how did they get my number, I wondered, let alone be aware of my film?

Sometimes it’s best not to question these things too deeply. In the village that is film, people talk and sometimes the talk falls in one’s favour. So I submitted V not thinking too hard about it – after all, the film was rejected by every film festival we (me and Owen) submitted to last year, including the LFF, Raindance, Tribeca and others I’ve since erased from my mind because it became all too painful.

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Invisible...

As the days grow shorter and colder I’m glad to be back in Glasgow after my travels with Voyageuse. Glad too because I’m able to focus on my latest project, Tilo in Real Life, which after months of thinking, writing, re-writing and testing I’m confident can work as a film, or at least a film I’m able (and want) to make within my meagre resource. How do I know this? I don’t, but I trust my instincts more than I trust my government.

Chances are you’re reading this via a link on social media which these days is essential for any independent filmmaker even though it’s hard to be heard above the noise of all the other filmmakers, writers and artists plying their wares.

Here I marvel at the chutzpah of my peers and the apparent ease with which they promote themselves, their goals and achievements, from winning awards to shaking down followers on crowdfunding campaigns. If only I had the nerve, I tell myself, to make bolder claims for my work.

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