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Shetland Arts have announced a series of filmmaking workshops to encourage members of the public to have a go at creating a short film in time for this year’s Screenplay Festival.  Entitled ‘Just Do It’ – the workshops will explore how anyone can make a film using the technology they have on hand, and are aimed anyone who likes the idea of making a film, but is unsure of how to go about it.

The workshops will take place at Mareel on 16, 23rd April & 7 May and will cover all the essential aspects of filmmaking from developing the initial idea, to editing using free software,  led by tutors Simon Thompson and Mike Guest.

Simon Thompson is a professional filmmaker who has worked in the UK film & television industry for 14 years. He has been based in Shetland for 8 years and runs his company, Ronas Media Ltd. Trained in Glasgow, Simon spent the early years of his career specialising in post production, and worked as a freelance editor for a variety of independent production companies throughout the UK as well as the BBC and ITV/STV. He also spent time away from the dark edit suites developing his skills in cinematography, location sound recording and in front of the camera.

Simon is dedicated to the education and training of the next generation of filmmakers and has taught and presented workshops throughout Scotland on a variety of filmmaking topics. Simon also mentors Maddrim Media, Shetland’s young filmmaking group, gently steering their boundless creativity in a vaguely organised direction.

Describing himself as ‘one of the world’s most knitted freckliest men you will ever meet’ Mike Guest is an surfer, adventurer and filmmaker who has been coming to Shetland to film its beautiful scenery and lively culture for years.  Regulars at the Shetland Folk Festival will no doubt have seen him working behind the scenes, and he has also filmed documentaries for Promote Shetland. Mike’s work is characterised by a sense of adventure and a love of life.  He has also filmed extensively in New Zealand, and has an extensive experience working as a technician on live performances, making him the ideal person to guide budding filmmakers through the processes of problem solving, seizing the moment and just getting the job done.


Workshop participants will have the opportunity to submit their films to this years Screenplay Festival. Celebrating its 10th year this year, the festival is curated by Mark Kermode, Linda Ruth Williams and Kathy Hubbard and is a celebration of all things fillm, from the big screen to the small.  The Home Made screenings are always the highlight of the festival, giving Shetlands budding and experienced film makers a chance to shine.

Screenplay Festival Director Kathy Hubbard said "I hope this will encourage people to pick up that i-phone, tablet or camera and see what they can do - maybe we will have some newcomers showing their short films at Screenplay this year!"

Workshops are available to book now through Shetland Box Office at Mareel and Isleburgh, online at or over the phone on 01595 745555 – spaces are limited, so early booking is encouraged.


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