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Shetland Arts is delighted to announce a packed programme of films for audiences of all ages and a chance to meet some stellar names from the national and international film industry including acclaimed actress Miranda Richardson, legendary director Bill Forsyth, and gifted documentary director Alexandre O. Philippe from Denver, Colorado, at its 6th annual film festival Screenplay, which runs from 31 August – 9 September 2012.

The festival is curated by acclaimed film critic Mark Kermode and distinguished film historian Linda Ruth Williams.

There is a lot to squeeze in over ten days, including music, screenings, and Q&A sessions with Miranda Richardson and Bill Forsyth, and some terrific documentaries, including Patricio Guzmán's Nostalgia for the Light, which brings together cosmology and human rights, and Anthony Baxter's You've Been Trumped, for those who have been watching events unfold across the water in Aberdeen.

Miranda Richardson. Copyright Nick Haddow 2012.

This year's themed series is “It's Dark Up North”, a homage to our Scandinavian cousins who do darkness better than anyone else. This will include André Øvredal's Trollhunter, the Ingmar Bergman classic The Seventh Seal, Lars von Trier's remarkable Melancholia, Magnus Martens' Jo Nesbø's Jackpot, The King of Devil's Island with the fantastic Stellan Skarsgård, and last but not least, Timo Vuorensola's undeniably weird Iron Sky, much admired by one of our curators, Mark Kermode.

But it's not all darkness up North – Bent Hamer's Kitchen Stories is a wry and humorous offering from Norway and Sweden, an excellent antidote to all that gloom.

Bill Forsyth (with film guru/critic/professor David Bordwell) taken at Rogert Ebert’s festival in Ubrana Illinois 2010.

For children we will be screening Ice Age – Continental Drift, something we all missed seeing in Shetland during the summer. And as a rare treat we have a special double bill; The Itch of the Golden Nit is the result of collaboration between Aardman Animation and the Tate Movie Project, involving children between the ages of 5 to 13 years. This will be playing alongside a Wallace and Gromit favourite, A Matter of Loaf and Death. Following its popularity at last year's festival, the London International Animation Festival is sending programmes of short films for children and young people from 0 – 14 years.

We are incredibly fortunate to host Alexandre O. Philippe who will present two of the funniest films you are likely to see in a long time: The People vs George Lucas is a hymn to Star Wars fans and film geeks everywhere, whilst The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus looks at the fuss that surrounded the hapless cephalopod who correctly predicted the outcome of the final eight games of the 2010 Football World Cup.

Screenplay will open with the 30th anniversary release of the legendary Chariots of Fire, a chance to re-live the emotion generated by the 2012 Olympic Games. Continuing this theme, Screenplay finishes on 9th September, the last day of the Paralympic Games. To celebrate, we will be screening the finale of Shetland Arts’ nationwide Cultural Olympiad project, Hansel of Film – Shetland to Southampton and Back. We'll be screening short films made by Shetlanders and by people and groups from all over the UK – there is immense variety and masses of creativity on show here, so don't miss it.

Shetland Arts Arts’ Development Manager Kathy Hubbard said: “With school screenings and outreach activities going on over the whole period, this will be ten days in which to glue your eyes to the big screen and celebrate film making and cinema in all its glorious diversity. Come and join us at Mareel!”

The full programme will be available on Shetland Arts’ website www.shetlandarts.org soon and tickets for events at Screenplay and Wordplay, Shetland Arts’ annual book festival which runs alongside Screenplay, will go on sale via Shetland Box Office, Islesburgh Community Centre, 01595 745 555, www.shetlandboxoffice.org, in the coming weeks.

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