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Projections good for Scottish film

As the end of the millennium approaches and experts assess the current state of play in every field, Scottish film and television appear to be in a particularly healthy position. There's no doubting that 1999 has been a great year for the industries. Things got underway in January with the release of The Acid House, which was followed by Orphans, The Debt Collector, The Match, The Trench, Ratcatcher, Gregory’s Two Girls and Hold Back The Night.

The next wave of Scottish films, which have recently wrapped or are still shooting, include Robert Duvall’s football drama, The Cup, Mel Smith’s The Laird, Peter Capaldi’s Strictly Sinatra (hit by

tragedy when its star, Ian Bannen -

was killed in a car crash), Bernard Rudden’s digital feature Daybreak,

and Gillies Mackinnon's The Last Of The Blonde

Bombshells, which stars Judi Dench.

Family business: Douglas Henshall and Stephen McCole in Orphans, a Scottish film


is currently prepping his debut feature, Saint City.

'We have a great history of making short films,’ says

In addition, the first Scottish simulation ride film, Shaping A Nation, which takes in landscapes the length and breadth of the country, will set up home at Edinburgh’s new Virgin Cinema Megaplex. Small screen activity has been just as strong of late with Inspector Rebus, starring John Hannah, heading a list of programmes in various stages of production.

Short films, the traditional breeding ground for new talent (and starting point for Lynne Ramsay and Peter Mullan’s international success stories), continue to thrive in Scotland. The latest from the Tartan Shorts initiative will be screened on Saturday 11 December on BBC2. This year’s trio consists of Poached, Billy & Zorba and Marcia’s Dowry, directed by David Mackenzie, who

Scottish Screen’s Chief Executive, John Archer. ‘We've talked about a ladder of opportunity for these filmmakers. Now we need an escalator of opportunity - we need to move these people on. We had £28 million in incoming productions this year, and that’s a record. Building on this, we need to achieve a Scottish film studio. Ideally, that would be at Pacific Quay, but we’re open to proposals.

’Also, we need a film investment fund; the industry’s problems could be solved with £10 million. So, what we now need to do is spend more time convincing the government that film and television is a worthwhile investment. Today’s industry is tomorrow’s culture.’ (Miles Fielder)

Glasgow’s Lig

Designs on the future: The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse - Scotland’s Centre for Architecture, Design and the City - is to 90 Dutch next year with a number of exhibitions featuring cutting-edge design from the Netherlands. Channel 4’s Stuart Cosgrove was in ebullient form when, in his capacity as trustee of the flagship Glasgow venue, he launched the programme of exhibitions and events for the year 2000. '

For Cosgrove, Holland is a nation which 'invented total football in the 705 and then, in the 905, invented total design'. Exhibitions include Meta City/Data Town by Dutch architects MVRDV, a look at the contemporary city using video animation, which will open on 31 January. In May, fellow countrymen Droog, whom Cosgrove describes as ’the most sexy, vital and attractive design company in the world', will ask several local households to live with their state-of- the-art designs and to record the experience on video.

Alongside these international initiatives, The Lighthouse will show a

hthouse goes Dutch for 2000

retrospective of the work of Benson and Forsyth, the architects behind the controversial and ultimately award- winning Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and will host the first ever Scottish Architectural Biennale in the Autumn.

The next twelve months will be a crucial transition period for The Lighthouse, as it stands alone without the umbrella of the Glasgow 1999 festival. 'The Lighthouse is here for a very, very long time,’ states Cosgrove. Despite initial difficulties with the opening date in July, figures for the first four months put visitor numbers at 150,000 - the total annual number of visitors to London's Design Museum.

Lighthouse Director, Stuart MacDonald told The List he was confident that the momentum could be maintained and that the intention was to increase community participation. 'We intend to extend our education programme, our community outreach programme and, most importantly, connect to the people out there.’ (Moira Jeffrey)


Bulletins Short and to the point

FIVE AUTHORS HAVE each picked up £1000 in the Scottish Arts Council’s Autumn Book Awards. Newcomer Toni Davidson’s challenging debut Scar Culture and A.L. Kennedy’s third novel Everything You Need were joined by Bella Bathurst’s The Lighthouse Stevensons (currently shortlisted for The Guardian First Book Award) and poetry collections by Robert Crawford (Spirit Machines) and Brian McCabe (Body Parts).

The SAC also announced a three- year £90,000 package to allow Canongate Books to develop a major new list of contemporary literary fiction in translation. The series will publish four titles each year, and features writers from Israel, Denmark, Iceland and Spain. ’Canongate International offers an exciting opportunity to situate Scottish writing in an international context, which will encourage greater cultural and creative exchange,’ said SAC Literature Director, Jenny Brown.

EDINBURGH CITY COUNCIL has appointed Herbert Coutts as its Director of Recreation. Dundee-born Coutts has been Acting Director since 1998. As Edinburgh’s Head of Heritage and Arts, he masterminded several blockbuster exhibitions in the capital, including The Gold Of The Pharoahs and The Emperor’s Warriors. The Recreation Department oversees Edinburgh’s museums, galleries, monuments, libraries, parks and playgrounds, and has responsibility for developing the leisure, cultural and sporting life of the city.

MEMORIES OF AUGUST and the Edinburgh Festival have barely faded, but tickets are already on sale for the 50th Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which will take place on the Castle Esplanade between 4-26 August. Plans for 2000 include South African Zulu Warriors and a West Indian Steel Band. Tickets (priced £8.50—E24.50) are now available by postal and fax booking from the Tattoo Office, 32 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 108. The credit card hotline (0131 225 1188) opens on 13 December. .

Bella Bathhurst 2-16 Dec 1999 THE LIST 19