Im wirklichen Leben...

While I look forward to screening Voyageuse in Dublin and Bristol in the coming weeks, I’m also aware – if sad – that it’s probably the last time the film will appear on the big screen. I’ve concluded that, for the moment at least, the effort needed to promote the film is outweighed by my need to focus on a new project.

Time has a way of slipping, unannounced, into the future. This is especially true amid the current pre-Brexit uncertainty because who knows where any of us will be by April 2019? Three weeks ago, my husband, Owen signed us up for a 16-week course in German at the Goethe Institute in Glasgow. His motive, informed partly by his attempt to gain German citizenship through his maternal grandfather, he knows is well-intentioned but unlikely to succeed. The other reason for improving our German will, I hope, prove more practical in the near future.

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OMG!...

I’m writing this in my shed, the place I retreat to when trying to work. On the wall in front of me is a series of index cards as I plot out my next film, Tilo In Real Life, an urban fairytale that I intend to shoot over the coming months. Strange to think that this is where I wrote Voyageuse a few years ago, not knowing if I would ever make the film.

So when I heard the news yesterday that Siân Phillips has received a nomination for Best Actress (Film) in the BAFTA Scotland Awards, I sat in my usual chair, pleased in the knowledge that not only did I make V but that it’s given pleasure to a lot of people and gained recognition from my peers, many of whom wish me well though some, I’m sure, are perplexed by my no-budget, outlier movie.

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Alt-release...

This week I travel to London for a screening of Voyageuse on Friday 14th at Picturehouse Central to take part in a Q&A with the wonderful Siân Phillips and Anna Smith, film journalist and President of the Critic’s Circle. This comes after the film’s recent showings at the Glasgow Film Theatre where I also did a Q&A with the broadcaster and journalist, Siobhan Synnot, that seemed to go down well with the audience.

As I write, I’m trying to find slots for the film in cinemas around the UK. If successful, these will be one-off events where I’ll get to meet the audience. Given how hard it is to secure a distribution deal, this kind of alt-releasing is becoming the new norm even though it’s fiscally unviable once you factor in the cost of travel and accommodation against the likely returns, with the maker/distributor receiving only 35-40% of the box office receipts.

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Reflections...

A recent email from Jamie Dunn at The Skinny got me thinking. In it he asks three questions about my thoughts on making independent films, finding an audience and whether event screenings are the way to go. That Voyageuse is showing at the GFT next week and at Picturehouse Central next month is a coup, just when I was about to commit the DCP to a drawer, destined to exist only among the morass of online content.

So thanks Jamie, you’ve made me think. Among the thoughts you prompted is a reminder of when I made my first feature almost 20 years ago, a time when everyone from Hollywood A-listers to Danish mavericks to chance-their-arm UK production companies believed that DIY, micro-budget, DV-driven films would fill their boots. Guess what? They didn’t. They toyed with the notion, made their tapes and grabbed the headlines only to realise no one gets a payday out of no-budget films, and so reverted to the same old high-budget ways of making their movies.

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