‘South West Picture Show’ Film Festival Now Underway

The region-wide Film Festival for Dumfries and Galloway, the South West Picture Show, now in its third year, has rolled out across the region. It offers a number of free screenings, events, and filmmaking workshops during October.

The festival is unique in Scotland in that it is a rural, community-curated festival with local cinemas and venues hosting screenings and events, and giving as many people as possible access to cinema near to where they live.

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Film Office secured funding from Regional Screen Scotland earlier this year on behalf of the film festival. This is now in place for two years to support programming and audience development at festival venues across the region. The total funding secured is £22,500, with further funding earmarked for future festivals.

The region’s four Area Arts Hub convenors have been commissioned by the Council to coordinate delivery of the 2014 festival across the region. The Area Arts Hub convenors are part of the new structure for the arts led by DG Unlimited (the Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of the Arts), the organisation responsible for promoting and supporting the arts in Dumfries and Galloway.

Councillor Colin Smyth, the Events Champion, said “We are delighted to see so many venues take part in the South West Picture Show this year, and hope that the festival will grow even bigger next year.”

The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Reflections of Dumfries and Galloway’, asking venues to pick films that reflected their communities’ interests and passions.

Some of the films being screened were shot in the region. One is ‘A Shot At Glory’, filmed at Palmerston Park in 1999, which was introduced by Kenny Eggo, the Council’s Film Officer at that time, on Friday 10 October at the Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre (RBCFT).

Wigtown Book Festival teamed up with the South West Picture Show to explore the relationship between page and screen, with talks, screenings and workshops, and a mini-cinema set up on the top floor of Wigtown County Buildings. A screening of the film ‘Lore’ was fully booked and the masterclass the following day about the transformation of Lore from a story in a novel to a feature film attracted 50 people.

Some films reflect the region’s rural nature, like the screening of ‘The Shepherds of Berneray’ (25 October, RBCFT) or ‘Etre et Avoir’ on 18 October at the Eskdalemuir Hub.

The Ryan Centre in Stranraer has chosen to show the very first film that was screened there 20 years ago, ‘The Lion King’ on Friday 24 October.

Machars Movies and Victoria Hall, Annan, have both chosen to show ‘Oh! What a Lovely War’, the acclaimed anti-war film directed by the late Richard Attenborough, in honour of the part this region played in WW1. The Annan screening takes place on Thursday 23 October.

With 36 screenings and workshops, spread over 16 venues, the film festival is a unique event that highlights the region’s passion for cinema and film-making. For more information, and booking details, please see the website: http://www.rbcft.co.uk/filmfestival/

1. Regional Screen Scotland is the development agency for cinema facilities and organisations in Scotland – from independent cinemas to film clubs and film festivals. [http://www.regionalscreenscotland.org]

2. Dumfries and Galloway Council Film Office can be contacted on [email protected] or on 01387 263094.

3. DG Unlimited is the name of the organisation of the Chamber of Arts [http://www.freshstartforthearts.com/news/view/2014-10-03-dg-unlimited-the-chamber-rebrands]

3. Next year’s film festival will take place in October 2015, with the theme of ‘Food and Drink’.

4. The four convenors are all freelancers with part-time fixed term contracts with DG Unlimited until September 2015. Between them they have a wide range of skills and experience.

• Cate Ross, Stewartry: An independent artist and freelance community arts development worker. Cate provides locally based circus arts training, specialising in dance trapeze through her organisation ‘aethAERIALarts’.
• Sid Ambrose: Wigtownshire: For the last 15 years he has been fully immersed in either producing, promoting or filming arts and music events. He is best known for coming up with the concept for the Wickerman festival and was artistic director for over a decade.
• Belle Doyle, Nithsdale: Previously the region’s Film Officer, she has worked for Scottish Screen and Creative Scotland on inward investment. She has run projects for Fresh Start and the Stove Network and is also engaged by Edinburgh International Film Festival to run the annual Scottish Film Summit.
• Alan Thomson, Annandale and Eskdale: Alan was Business Manager and Depute Director of dgArts. Since then he has been developing arts projects and managing events on a freelance basis.