Scots d’Azur

For the first time ever, the various strands of the Scottish film and broadcast industries pooled forces and entered the Cannes Film Festival with a united front. Alan Morrison went along to assess its impact.

Even before a single foot had touched French soil. the gripers and moaners were sharpening their knives. ‘As the delegates pursue the economically

hopeless and culturally irrelevant fantasy of “Hollywood on the Clyde", the public money they

piss against the elegant toilet walls of Cannes‘ hotels. 3

restaurants and cinemas might have helped another example of Poor Scottish Cinema.‘ said one

magazine. supposedly commenting objectively on the .

visual side of Scottish culture. This is not what one would call a chip on the shoulder; it‘s an entire tattie field. The only ‘fantasy' in Scottish filmmaking is that investors and producers will come to you if you sit twiddling your thumbs long enough.

The unified Scottish contingent faced an uphill struggle: to persuade European colleagues that Scotland is a separate filmmaking community in its own right. not just a sellotaped arm of a collapsing UK industry. The presence in Cannes achieved what it set out to do. consolidating Scotland’s reputation within Europe: public recognition back home will


come later. The Scottish Screen stand was part of the European { Pavilion. which has prime position next to the ' Festival Palais. It fulfilled two roles: as a focal point for foreign filmmakers searching for information on location facilities. funding possibilities. Edinburgh

lntemational Film Festival screenings. or details of




SS" TN 9

' previous Scottish productions; and as a rock in the

storm for the various Scots - from producers to scriptwriters to journalists who had braved the Cannes tempest for the first time. Like it or lump it. Cannes is the place where the entire spectrum of world film has its annual meeting. and a fortnight spent here can provide a solid foundation for the following 50 weeks ofthe year.

At this early stage. it is probably Scottish Screen Locations who have most to show for the trip. Their Lothian Road office is piled high with business cards and requests from around the world: Japanese and French companies showed interest in ancient stone circles; another Kidnapped project raised its head. as did two on Loch Ness; an Italian producer tied up some ofthe loose ends that will see a feature called Spaghetti Slow do 95 per cent of its shooting in Scotland; and countless others plied the desk with questions. specific and general.

The Edinburgh lntemational Film Festival will also directly benefit, not only in terms of top international films scooped from the competition and the market. but from the positive press coverage that its unpredictably busy launch party generated. And not just because the whisky from sponsors Isle of Jura

was flowing liberally anyone can wave a bowl of

crisps and a glass under the nose of a Cannes hack

i but because the event revelled in the open-armed

Small but perfectly towed - the Scottish Screen I stand in m l

- bonhomie for which the Scots contingent had quickly

and enviously become known. It may well be the party that the journalists.

delegates and filmmakers from outside Scotland

remember most warmly. but almost all of them went

home with information packs and a new set of

personal contacts with the Scottish industry. The

? seeds are sown. and before long Scottish filmmaking i should reap its rewards. perhaps even a bumper harvest.

Scattered around Cannes. Scots were seen playing the film game at every level.

The Serious Bit

Thursday 20 May saw a brave venture in the shape of the Scottish Film Forum. an open panel discussion on the benefits of filmmaking in Scotland. Lee Leckie of Scottish Screen Locations and Kate Swan of the Scottish Film Production Fund outlined the facilities their respective organisations offer. while director Mike Alexander (whose Gaelic language film As An Eilean was screening in the market place) described shooting on home turf and Bo Jonsson (director of The Accidental Golfer. Sweden's most commercially successful movie of 1992. which was filmed in the Borders) provided a first- hand account of how the Scottish industry’s infrastructure was a godsend to foreign filmmakers. Unfortunately. Ken Loaeh. who filmed a portion of Riff Raff in Glasgow. missed the forum

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The Actor

He may not have been strolling the beaches in person. but Sean Connery made a screen appearance in the promo reel for his next movie. an adaptation by William Boyd of his own novel A

by a few minutes. due to congestion caused by the arrival in town of Liz Taylor. That‘s Cannes.

The Script Editor

to New Zealand.


Good Man In Africa. which will star Connery. Colin Friels. Joanne Whalley- Kilmer. John Lithgow and Lou Gossett Jnr, to be directed by Driving Miss Daisy‘s Bruce Beresford. It's a role made to measure: a gruff. imposing Scot (albeit a doctor) with a penchant for the fairways. Don't expect to see it in your local cinema until sometime next year. Elsewhere. Peter Capaldi and Elaine Collins the first List cover stars of I993 popped up in market screenings of Soft Top. Hard Shoulder.

Billy MacKinnon. brother of The Playboys's Gillies. turned up for the premiere screening of Jane Campion‘s The Piano. Based for several years Down Under. Billy served as script editor on the movie. which went on to share the prestigious Palme d’Or. On a more tenuous note. some of the main characters in the film notably those played by Holly Hunter (who won the actresses' Palme) and Harvey Keitel are l9th century Scots who have moved

The Producer-cum-


Poor Gus Lamont producer with Big Star In A Wee Picture by day. would-be movie mogul by night. Gus endured the less glamorous end of the Cannes circuit. doing the hotel trail from one production company to the other. trying to interest them in some admirably commercial scripts for exploitation movies. Only to find himselfabout as welcome as his ex-Chancellor namesake. But the smile never faltered.

The Bevrewer

Currently a waiter in Glasgow. aching to become a singer, but finding fame as one of the four reviewers chosen by Channel 4‘s Moviewatch to come out and sample the wares of Cannes. Scott Young hadn't actually seen anything he liked when I met up with him. But at least he got to stride up the red- carpeted steps in a dinner jacket to one of the official gala screenings. Will the East Kilbn'de multiplex ever be the same again?

16 The List 4—17 June 1993