Jonathan Melville: Future is bright for Scots film

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John Maclean, Rose Hendry, Neil Hepburn and Douglas Hart may not be names you are familiar with, but there’s a chance that in a few years time you’ll be watching their movies at your local cinema.

I’m just back from the Bristol Short Encounters Film Festival, where Scottish talent was well represented by a number of filmmakers whose films ranged from 90 seconds to 13 minutes in length.

John Maclean’s Pitch Black Heist, starring Michael Fassbender and Liam Cunningham as two safe crackers who meticulously plan a robbery in the dark, was packed with character, incident and style.

At one minute and 39 seconds, Egg & Fag was Rose Hendry’s entry to the festival and saw the camera pull back from a woman sitting in a chair to reveal an egg at the end of the kitchen.

What the film lacks in narrative it makes up for in its bold look.

Edinburgh director Neil Hepburn was in town with his very short short, the 90-second Experiments in Parahypnosis, featuring the only surviving footage of a 1973 experiment that went wrong.

It’s a mind-bending burst of energy which marks Hepburn as one to watch.

Ex-Jesus and Mary Chain band member Douglas Hart had his new film, Long Distance Information, screened to rapturous applause.

Peter Mullan stars as a dad waiting to be served his Christmas dinner when his son phones him. To say more would be to spoil it, but Mullan has rarely been better.

All of the above are worth searching out at film festivals, but I’m also hoping they each decide to work on feature film scripts. Scottish cinema needs a shot in the arm and the exciting work of short filmmakers is where we need to be looking for our future successes.

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