A YOUNG budding Steven Spielberg has had her directorial debut selected for a major festival in Edinburgh.
Caitlin Wright’s film Broken Memories, which the 16-year-old from Haddington wrote and directed, will be screened alongside big-budget professional features from around the world at the Edinburgh Short Film Festival in June.
Festival bosses are full of praise for the silver-screen prodigy’s work, which was one of 58 films selected out of a total 437 entries.
“It’s a very good film that stands up in its own right,” said festival director Paul Bruce, who was on the selection committee. “Certainly if I’d made a film like that when I was 16, I’d be very pleased with myself.”
The film’s success has come as a shock to Caitlin, who is in the middle of sitting her exams at her school, Knox Academy. “To be honest, I was quite surprised when I heard it got in. I thought, I’ll just apply and see how it goes,” she said. “You don’t quite realise how many apply. It had a showing at the Filmhouse, and next thing I hear it’s being shown at the Edinburgh Short Film Festival.
“It was really weird, going from a half thought-out idea in your head, through the whole process, to seeing it on the screen. It wasn’t the same film that I set out to make, it was something completely different and it was so much better than what I’d imagined.”
The hard-hitting six-minute film tells the story of a girl’s strained relationship with her father after her mother’s death, and touches on themes of neglect and emotional abuse.
“From a child’s point of view, it’s not a story that gets told often,” said Caitlin. “A lot of documentaries focus on the physical aspect of abuse, but sometimes neglect can be so much worse. It’s the more emotional side of it that rarely gets heard.” Caitlin’s first taste of film-making came thanks to the British Film Institute’s Film Academy schools initiative, and charity Screen Education Edinburgh, which supplied cameras and equipment as well as much-needed advice.
“Their mentors were so helpful. I couldn’t have done any of it without them,” Caitlin said.
The budding director wasn’t the only future behind-the-camera star involved in the production. The entire crew was drawn from Film Academy graduates from the East of Scotland, aged between 16 and 18, as was the first-time actress who played the lead role, Amy Rutherford. The BFI’s head of partnerships, Nikki Christie praised the film’s young crew. She said “huge congratulations” should go to Caitlin for writing and directing the mini marvel.
In the frame
ARTY Anne, a documentary about a woman obsessed by her art, was made by Queen Margaret University student Marcin Walczak. “It’s wonderful,” says festival director Paul Bruce.
Work, directed by Ross Hornby, looks at the plight of street prostitutes in Edinburgh. “It’s really touching, and it’s really interesting how they explore the relationship between the sexes,” says Bruce.
Finally, Eleanor Yule’s film Love Cake is described as Ms Jean Brodie meets French romantic comedy, set in Morningside. “It’s about a shy woman,” she says.