Thursday, 28 March 2013

We Are Northern Lights.

The latest Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre programme asked the question ‘How do you capture the essence of Scotland in just one film’. This question was answered at the RBC Film Club when we were fortunate to have as our guest the film director Nick Higgins who had agreed to introduce his film and following its regional premier, answer question.

Nick Higgins (left) and Movie Ramble.
Made as part of the Year Of Creative Scotland 2012, which set out to support a programme of work to help show Scotland’s creativity at its best, We Are Northern Lights (2012) is a unique feature length documentary film made up from video submissions from members of the general public who were invited to send there own personnel interpretations based on three questions symbolising the present, the past and the future: What can you see? What do you wish you had seen? And what would you like to see? Priority was given to first time video makers. From this initial request 1500 submissions were received resulting in over 300 hours of video footage that had to be edited down to a 95-minute documentary!

Following the well-received screening Nick Higgins explained to an attentive audience that the massive, and very difficult, task of editing the material took five months to complete which eventually led to 121 co-directors, from all over Scotland and from all walks of life, getting a credit. He went on to tell us that it was difficult to structure the film and to decide what theme would gel the project together, but in the end decided there was no overall rigid structure other than water, that does occur in many of the clips, and the importance of humour to underline the development of the project. Although dare we forget the midges?

From wide open spaces....

When asked about the films distribution we were informed that there was no marketing budget so to date the film has been an exercise in self-distribution by a series of local premiers and then by request. The good news is that it has recently been picked up by Cineworld for their multiplexes in Scotland from May 3rd this year, the first Scottish documentary to do so. It is also to be shown as part of New Yorks, Tartan Week. Another member of the audience asked if the BBC had been interested in providing finance but we were told that they were nervous about the film for some reason so no money was forth coming, but Nick felt that after the films positive response it could be shown on the small screen at some time in the future. Incidentally it took 2 years to raise enough money to make the film. The question on every bodies mind was what was going to happen to the vast amount of footage that was never used? Nick told us that it would be included on the films web site and accessed by clicking on a map of Scotland indexed by the area represented.  He concluded his informative discussion by saying ‘a country without a documentary is like a family without a family photo album’. big city's.
From great characters.... old guys chewing the fat.
Originally premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival in February 2013, each segment of this mass participation feature was allowed to tell its own story but added to the overall vision of a modern day Scotland mostly without reverting to the independence debate. There is, in all honesty, nothing not to enjoy about this movie, its authenticity and intimacy is a credit to Scotland and its ‘filmmakers’. In fact its very well made, well put together and with editing by Colin Monie (Neds 2010) is well worth an award nomination! Add to this some great music and the normal banter that characterises Scottish humour (see The Angels Share 2012) you end up with an extremely entertaining and enjoyable cinema outing that made it well worthwhile digging the car out of the snow!  On behalf of the RBC and it audience I would like to thank Nick Higgins for travelling down from Glasgow to present a film that will remain meaningful to a Scottish population who will shortly be entering an important period in their history.

The Glasgow Premier.
You can watch the trailer and find out how to see the movie by clicking on the link:

No comments:

Post a Comment