City lecturer urges country to become documentary stars

Nick, right, with Iain Munro, Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop and actor Sanjeev Kohli
Nick, right, with Iain Munro, Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop and actor Sanjeev Kohli
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A CITY lecturer is bidding to turn everyone in Scotland into film stars in the country’s first ever mass participation documentary.

Director Nick Higgins, a 40-year-old lecturer at Edinburgh University, is calling on people to pick up their cameras or mobile phones and share videos about their lives, hopes and dreams.

If this isn’t enough to make you grab your camera, he’s also offering cash for the best clips.

Entitled Northern Lights, £10,000 of awards is available to those participants who organisers feel have made the most compelling contributions to the project.

Submissions can be anything from a brief video fragment to an unedited stream of consciousness. The finished 90-minute film will tour Scotland later this year as part of the Year of Creative Scotland.

Nick and his team have already received more than 70 submissions in just two weeks.

He said: “We knew at the beginning that there would be a rush of already prepared films but we are now actually receiving orginal clips filmed with just this project in mind. We want a range of perspectives on a host of themes and ideas, this isn’t just for those who are already into film.

“We need people from all walks of life to get involved. Each submission, no matter how modest, will help to build this epic self-portrait of Scotland in 2012 and we want everyone to be part of it. This is a film about Scotland, so who better to create its content than the people of Scotland themselves?”

Inspiration for the project came from Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald’s 2011 film Life in a Day which features 80,000 clips gathered from around the globe.

Nick added: “Life in a Day was a bold project. We hope to go one better, though, by really offering some depth behind the stories.

“It’s quite a brave thing for a director to put his film in the hands of the public, you cede control but you also don’t know what you will get and for me that’s very exciting. Our aim is to create a truly original representation of Scotland, taking in everything from the extraordinary to the everyday.”

Iain Munro, director of creative development, Creative Scotland, said: “Northern Lights is a terrific example of a project that anyone can get involved in, by showcasing their own creativity through on film and sharing it with thousands of others via the website. I’m really looking forward to seeing the final film.”

Filmed contributions must be uploaded to the Northern Lights website by June 21 and you must be over 14 to submit to the project. Visit