Sunday, 3 April 2016

Hope is a Delicate Suffering

I don't want to give the wrong impression: The Authorised Kate Bane is worth more than an  hour of anyone's time. Just as soon as the writer cuts out that ending, and gets rid of all  the bits where she has Kate Bane rewriting scenes - to emphasise how Kate is really the author's avatar - this play will come to be regarded as a classic. Seriously: it's got everything you want. A smart take on the war between the generations, a fair stab at integrating scientific theory into character analysis, and a powerful, sympathetic female lead. 

In 2012 the Northern Lights Project was launched with funding from Creative Scotland’s First In A Lifetime Fund. As part of The Year of Creative Scotland, Scots and those who lived in Scotland were asked to record their own personal videos on Scotland’s past, present and future to collaborate in the creation of a unique, feature length documentary film. 55 workshops took place up and down the country to encourage participation from all section of the community.

Over 1500 submissions were received. The resulting 300 hours plus of footage took five months to edit into a 98-minute feature, with Nick working alongside the highly experienced film editor Colin Monie (Midnight’s Children, Neds).

The final film features footage from 121 ‘co-directors’ from all over the country and from all walks of life. The musical score was mostly created with selections from 200 original music submissions, also crowd-sourced from members of the public.

The result is a sweeping, compelling, multi-faceted self-portrait that arrives at a decisive period in the country’s history. From midges to multi-storeys, Tweed to T in the Park, Skara Brae to wind turbines via the Dalai Lama and Donald Trump, this is Scotland’s story by the Scots. The challenges of living in Scotland are not ignored but the finished film is notable for its dry wit. More cheery than chippy, concerned with issues rather than image, this is the combined response of a people that take huge delight in their country.

Filmmaker and academic Dr Nick Higgins originated, produced and directed the yearlong project. He said: “We wanted to make the Project as accessible as possible, so we encouraged people to submit footage from their camera phones or even their home computers. And if they didn’t have a camera we would lend them one. We ran workshops with people from communities not normally included in projects of this nature, from Govanhill in Glasgow to the Isle of Luing, and if they couldn’t make it to a workshop we posted all our resources online.

“The result was incredible and at times overwhelming, with over 50,000 people visiting our website, resulting in over 300 hours of video footage.”

He continued: “It was a hugely gratifying experience to receive so many submissions of such great quality. Whilst individually the videos might not be considered of national importance, collectively they combine to create something truly original and inspiring. It’s an image of a new Scotland that might surprise some people.

“It felt like the people were saying ‘this is who we are and we have plenty of reasons to feel good about ourselves’.”

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