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Shetland Arts is getting ready for its 11th annual film festival, Screenplay, which kicks off at the Hillswick Hall on Friday 25 August and runs until Sunday 3 September.

With over eighty screenings and events, this promises to be a very busy ten days for lovers of the big screen. Special guests this year include the immensely popular actors Bill Nighy and George MacKay. Mr Nighy will take part in a Q&A session after the screening of his latest film The Limehouse Golem, which opens nationally the first weekend in September. George MacKay will be engaged in a Q&A after a screening of his 2013 comedy Pride, and will join in with the audience during a special singalong screening of Sunshine on Leith.

The festival has been drawn together by regular co-curators Mark Kermode, Linda Ruth Williams and Kathy Hubbard, who have ensured a packed and varied programme. As well as the regular ‘Look North’ screenings from Scandinavia (and Eshaness this year!), there is a new ‘Fur and Feathers’ strand, with some delightful films about dogs, cats, eagles, and a very special donkey.

Kathy Hubbard is keen to point out that there are plenty of films for families and young people. “Apart from the public screenings for families, over a thousand school pupils will be coming to Mareel to see some of the best that world cinema has to offer young audiences. We can’t wait to meet them all.”

Screenplay has a tradition of supporting emerging film makers, and this year is no exception, with a number of first feature directors visiting the festival either in person or by Skype.

Tuesday 29 August is ‘Judgement Day’ for Terminator fans and there will be a special 3D screening of Terminator 2, which is showing for one night only across the UK.

But the curators insist that the real stars of the show are the contributors to the Home Made screenings of films made by Shetlanders. These are always hugely popular and this year boasts a truly bumper crop, including a film by JJ Jamieson about the history of the North Star Cinema.

With films showing in Hillswick, Whalsay and Mid Yell, plus nostalgic screenings at the 60 Plus Club in Scalloway, the Stepping Out Club in Yell and the Fernlea Care Centre, the outreach team will be pretty busy too.

“Lectures, workshops and the legendary Festival Film Quiz will keep you entertained when you need a break from the screen,” said Kathy, “so diehard film fans had better pace themselves!”

Tickets are available from Friday 11 August, in person from Mareel, by phone on 01595 745500, or online at www.shetlandarts.org

Copies of the programme will be available at Mareel and other outlets, and it can also be accessed online at https://issuu.com/shetlandarts/docs/screenplay_2017_programme

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