about working class women in Scotland viewed through the all-male institutions oi the Orange walk, pigeon iancying and greyhound racing. Producer Pauline Law believes it is the kind oi iilm that is overlooked in the push ior television- iriendly productions.
‘Everyone is talking about creating a iilm industry, but First ileels is one oi the iew things that counter-
; balances that with more ' experimental work,’ Law
says. Most oi the First Reel productions rely on the
goodwill oi established technicians to iorm a skeleton film crew which Macltae believes is both a strength and weakness oi the scheme.
‘A lot oi people that work on the iilms got support themselves when they were coming into the industry and they want to put something back,’ he says. ‘But we are hoping to have iewer projects next year to reduce the log-jam oi productions that builds up and the pressure on equipment that creates.’
Access to equipment is a major iactor limiting iilm- makers’ ambitions. The Glasgow Film and Video Workshop is one oi a handiul oi open-access organisations in Scotland which otters anybody the chance to get involved in iilmmaking, either through short courses or by working on small-scale productions.
The workshop is iunded by Glasgow City Council as part oi its plan to turn the city into a major centre ior film production.
‘People that use the workshop will ieed into all sorts oi different sectors,’ development oiticer Torn Gerhardt says. ‘Some may end up doing wedding videos and some will aspire to making ieature iilms.’
Fraser oi Channel 4 believes there are cautious grounds ior optimism ior independent film-makers in Scotland. ‘There are many more opportunities than there were ten years ago ior Scottish directors and
producers,’ he says. ‘I hope they don’t leave Scotland to come to London because
| they lust become emigre LScots.’ Cl
lain Glen: Big Scottish star in a wee picture?
The low-budget thriller Shallow Grave iS the ﬁrst ﬁlm to beneﬁt from a new Scottish ﬁlm fund. Eddie Gibb unearths producer Andrew Macdonald.
ndependent producer Andrew Macdonald admits he was lucky to be given the money to shoot a full-length feature based on a script by a ﬁrst time writer.
It was a matter of timing. He was trying to raise the ﬁnance for Shallow Grave at just the moment when the Glasgow City Council was casting around for ways to encour- age ﬁlm production on Clydeside. Film production had been identiﬁed as a sector which could help replace jobs lost in Glasgow’s traditional industries.
The vision is of a ﬁlm industry which would build on the intema- tional success of director Bill Forsyth and the recognition of actors like Robbie Coltrane; if not a Hollywood on the Clyde. at least a mini-Soho. The Glasgow Film Fund was set up in January with money from the council and the Glasgow Development Agency to back pro- ductions in return for a commitment to using local cast and crews.
Shallow Grave was chosen on the strength of Glaswegian doctor John Hodge’s script from over 150 sub- missions to GFF and will be the ﬁrst ﬁlm to be ﬁnanced through the scheme. Though the bulk of the ﬁlm’s £1 mil- lion budget comes from Channel 4, the GFF
‘Why we can’t just
says. ‘I always thought we would make the ﬁlm somehow but I thought we would have to make it on video.’
Shallow Grave is described as a ‘witty contemporary thriller‘ about a group of friends whose ‘bond of friendship is broken by greed and deceit when faced with an unexpected challenge’. Ironically. though the interiors will be shot in Glasgow. the ﬁlm is set in Edinburgh which will be portrayed as a ‘dark and foreboding’ city. according to Macdonald.
Above all, Shallow Grave is intend-
ed to be a commercial success and Macdonald hopes the ﬁlm will ‘do a Gregory’s Girl’. ‘This is a ﬁlm we feel people will want to see,’ he says. ‘People need to start making ﬁlms for audiences but here there is this obsession with tech- nical standards.’
Macdonald regards ‘no budget’ US directors like Robert Rodriguez. whose ﬁlm [2’1 Mariachi was made for $7,000, as having a far more positive attitude to ﬁlm-making which values the storyline above production val- ues.
‘Why we can’tjust make ﬁlms about what’s happening around us, I just don‘t know,’ he says.
Shooting begins next month on Shallow Grave which will star Scottish actor lain Glen and is directed by Danny Boyle. whose cred-
money makes up the . its include Ins ector shortfall and secures make ﬁlms Morse. If Shallow pGrave union-rate jobs for about succeeds at the box ofﬁce. Glasgow ﬁlm crews. what’s it will be a promising start
‘We were surprised to happening for the GFF initiative. get the money because around us, I Macdonald will also have there are so many people demonstrated that
out there looking for funding,’ Macdonald
10 The List 30 July—I2 August 1993
just don’t know.’
Glasgow is a viable place to make ﬁlms. 0
Made for around $7 000, El Mariachi is a startlingly accomplished example of low-budget ﬁlmmaking in action. Trevor Johnston talked to director Robert Rodriguez.
orget Quentin Tarantino. forget Spike Lee. forget John Singleton. because Robert Rodriguez’s $7 000 movie [fl Mariachi is the Hollywood rags-to-riches story to end ’em all. Here’s a ﬁlm that was funded from medical research study fees. shot by a one-man crew on 16mm scraps and recorded on a domestic tape machine. but which has gained its 24-year-old
director a cinema release courtesy of
Columbia Pictures and an exclusive two-year contract with the studio that’ll allow him to write and direct his next feature for a still-modest $5 million budget
‘If this story doesn’t encourage young ﬁlmmakers, I don’t know what will.’ chirps the understandably cheery Texan Rodriguez down the line from LA. ‘There was nothing like this. whenever i was coming up. to encourage me. You’d hear about some young independent director who’d gotten a movie made and broke out from the system. then you’d ﬁnd out he had $100,000 or something. I’m from a family of ten children and there was never that kind of money around. The great thing about [5/ Mariachi is that it proves you can get there out of ingenuity and hard work. You don’t need all the contacts. you don’t need hundreds of thousands of
dollars. You just need to make a great
movie that people like.’
Heed his words. tyro-auteurs out there in wannabe-land, but while you’re at it. clock [5/ Mariachi and weep. Readily described as a sort of black comic Bring Me The [Evil Dead ()f Alfredo Garcia. it’s a hyper-kinetic Mexican-set gang- ster story — Sam Peckinpah meets Sam Raimi — with more than a few dashes of gallows humour. In a twisted tale. an innocent mariachi (or busking guitar player) who wanders into a new town. is mistaken for a ruthless hitman and promptly gets caught up in a feud between the killer and the local crime kingpin over some disputed ill-gotten loot. Neatly plotted and slung together as if the rules were only there to be ignored, the wellspring of [:‘l Mariachi is action. action. action — for Rodriguez and his co-writer/star Carlos Gallardo originally planned to make it for the niche market of America and Mexico’s