Lights, camera, action at Eastgate with new Scottish film festival

David Quin promotes Scottish Reels. Eastgate Theatre, Peebles
David Quin promotes Scottish Reels. Eastgate Theatre, Peebles

THE Eastgate Theatre is hosting a new three-day February film festival to celebrate more than 100 years of Scottish cinema.

New productions and much-loved classics are in the line-up for the Scottish Reels Festival at the Peebles venue.

It kicks off on Friday, February 15, with Early Film-making in Focus, presented by Ruth Washbrook of the Scottish Screen Archive.

Looking at the history of the very first Scots to pick up a camera, it offers an opportunity to see rare footage of everyday life in Scotland shot more than a century ago.

Bringing the first evening to an end is a screening of John Grierson’s 1936 documentary Nightmail, about a London, Midland and Scottish Railway mail train from London to Scotland.

The festival continues on Saturday, February 16, with Alexander Mackendrick’s masterpiece The Ladykillers.

Next up is You’ve Been Trumped – following the controversial development of Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire hotel and golf course complex – and Bill Forsyth’s legendary Local Hero, both introduced by Dr Jonathan Murray, a lecturer in Film and Visual Culture and author of Discomfort and Joy: the Cinema of Bill Forsyth.

Dr Murray told us: “I’m pleased to be part of an event that allows audiences the chance to see new Scottish film work and much-loved classics side by side.

“Scottish Reels offers viewers the chance to reflect on Scotland’s traditional image in popular cinema and also the diverse ways in which Scottish filmmakers past and present have sold, subverted, and sidled up to some of the stereotypes that define the nation’s image in the world’s eyes.”

Screenings on Sunday, February 17, include Golden Globe winning Disney production Brave, and the tsunami tale The Impossible, featuring Ewan McGregor.

The final day also sees Peebles critic and film buff Angus Wolfe-Murray introduce a selection of short films from Tartan Shorts series including Gasman, by Lynne Ramsey and Fridge by Peter Mullan.

Mr Wolfe-Murray said: “The importance of such events is that they promote film in all its diverse forms.

“I am not happy about tagging micro-fests to the concept of national pride. Art is too global for that.

“But if this introduces people to movies they might otherwise have missed, I’m in the front row clapping my hands off.

“The Scottish connection is a reminder that we are just as good as Sweden, or Canada, or Ireland, even if it is only the Big Yin’s voice in Brave, or Ewan in The Impossible.”

Anyone wishing more information or to buy tickets can visit www.eastgatearts.com or phone 01721 725777.