A Tramspotter writes Re: Top Ten Glasgow Movies (issue 398)
I think you will find that the number one slot in your Top Ten Glasgow Movies, Gregory’s Girl, is not in fact occupied by a film located in Glasgow. The actual location of that film is Cumbernauld and Cumbernauld is not Glasgow because it is Cumbernauld (you may note that the spelling is different).
Now then, some notable omissions. Back in 1979 a Frenchman by the name of Bertrand Tavernier came to Glasgow with the actors Romy Schneider, Harvey Keitel and Harry Dean Stanton to direct a film entitled La Mort en Direct, otherwise known as Death Watch. I very much doubt that lam alone in the opinion that Tavernier is the filmmaker with the greatest international clout to have shouted ’Action!’ and 'Cut!’ in the West Coast city.
Furthermore, how on earth did Trainspotting come to be overlooked? I grant you the overrated young people’s film is set in Edinburgh, but it was both immensely popular and utilised Glasgow locations for the filming of its interior scenes. Lastly, does The List have something against playwrights trying their hand at cinema? Does The List choose not to champion the underdog, nor local talent? If not why was The Life Of Stuff not given apprOpriate recognition?
I note that there is no by-line for the Top Ten Glasgow Movies. Who is to blame? Arthur Thugsake Cumbernauld
Film studio questioned
Re: Lights, cameras, mixed reaction (issue 398)
I read Rich Grant’s article with interest. It’s good to see that journalists are finally beginning to question the efficacy of plans to bUIld a 'two-shed' studio building on the Clyde.
We need to stop conflating arguments that a strong industry infrastructure is lacking in Scotland (obViously true) and that there is a strong Scottish talent base crying out for studio facilities (perhaps true), and concentrate on the form taken by any proposed studio facility.
There’s no guarantee that the constant through-put of medium and high-budget feature film (and teleViSion) productions needed to ensure the development and maintenance of a strong and diverse skill base can be accomplished Vla Scottish Screen proposals for what is, after all, a small-scale studio by international standards.
In Los Angeles — and elsewhere — major feature film productions often
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occupy five or more stages (if memory }
serves, Stuart Little used eleven) over a period of months, each in a different level of preparation for production purposes. With this in mind, Scottish Screen’s proposals for a two-stage facility seem unlikely to be able to support any major level of production. Though two stages c0uld be kept occupied year round, they’d be servicing relatively few productions and able to maintain only the smallest of in-house skill bases.
We should be very wary of adopting a ’build it and they will come' mentality regarding any proposed studio complex constructed without substantial commerCial investment from a company with primary concerns in the production and distribution of feature films and television. Who Will come? From where, and for how long?
A studio encompasses so much more than bricks, mortar, film equipment and craft skill. It’s also a home for expertise — crucially business, financial and administrative. We’ll initially need to seek such expertise elsewhere — and where better than Los Angeles, centre of film production and financmg powerhouses?
Sony’s plans to build a $60 million studio development in Edinburgh dwarf Scottish Screen's Pacific Quay proposals in almost every respect. As a commercial proprietor, Sony would certainly make sure that its facility is in constant use; feeding its own distribution pipeline alone should ensure this. Its proposal also ineVitably involves the initial influx of a level of finanCial and administrative expertise hitherto absent in the film business in Scotland, which should encourage the rest of us to ’raise our game'.
One has to be somewhat perplexed by the seeming lack of support from the Scottish Executive and Scottish Screen for Sony proposals. Why on earth were these plans allowed to wither on the Vine? Bureaucratic ineptitude? A preference for development in Glasgow over Edinburgh? Those responsible for attracting new business investment to Scotland should hang their heads in shame - and get up off their arses, it may not be too late!
Willingness to dip into the public purse to finance Pacific Quay when, until very recently, there seemed to be a feasible commercial proposal on the table is surely a tad SUSplCIOUS. Do we want to see the furtherance of an industry (and industrial employment) in Scotland, or the presence of a playpen for eXisting Scottish companies and talent? Toys for the boys?
Finally, the argument that the presence of studio faCilities in Scotland would help to keep talented Scots producers and directors
locating in Scotland is not one I’d like to see furthered; producers and directors follow two things - money and story — and they'll go wherever either dictate, haVing little allegiance to bricks and mortar.
Nigel R. Smith
Producer, Forged Films, Edinburgh via e-mail
Away With the fairies Has the force been with you?
I am the author of many books, several dealing With the unexplained such as The Children That Time Forgot and Mystic Forces. I am now researching my new book which looks at ’elementals’, ie creatures from a different sphere of eXistence, commonly referred to as fairies, elves, etc.
I have collected some fascmating stories. For example, DaVid, a perfectly sober, normal man, was walking along a river bank one sunny afternoon, leading two horses back to his stables, when he heard a distinct v0ice coming from the stream. He looked down and, to his amazement, he saW a tiny man, about a foot high, standing on a stone in the water, dressed in trousers, boots and shirt, remarking in an ordinary manly mice that there had been no fishing that morning. He continued about the rain and how he hoped it would be better next day and how were they expected to Survive Without good fishing. He then added that he shouldn’t complain as he wasn't as bad off as some of the others. David watched him turn round as if looking Out for something but the moment he made eye contact With the entity it vanished. The horses were disturbed and remained agitated until they were safely back in their stables.
I would love to hear from you if you have had any Similar experience. Mary Harrison 72 Thir/estane Road Northampton NN4 8HD
Water way to go
Re: Leith Waterfront festival
What kind of a Joke was the Leith Waterfront Festival? We were through from Glasgow seeing friends in Edinburgh and went down on the Sunday afternoon only to find . . . absolutely nothing at all — jUSi a load of people looking for something to happen, same as us.
I was all ready to slag off The List for promismg 'a hive of actiwty’ on your Edinburgh Life page when I came across a leaflet for this supposed festival. It seems the organisers reckoned that havmg a few restaurants open for lunch is some cause for celebration. Not in my city it isn't. That's What we calla regular Sunday afternoon. I think you’ve been stitched up.
What a waste of time.
Frank Ellis via e-mail
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