Shetland’s annual film festival Screenplay will see Down on the Farm added as a new strand to this year’s programme.

Four immersive documentaries will invite the audience to think about food production, food security and farming from the animals’ viewpoint. The has been created to compliment cultural activity around COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, taking place in Glasgow later this year.

The Last Autumn follows an older couple as they undertake their last year of crofting in a remote part of Iceland; Grenada and the Goats looks at a co-operative’s attempt to reduce dependence on imported food on the Caribbean Island; The Truffle Hunters concerns the specialised and localised knowledge and expertise of Piedmont farmers and their dogs in Italy who know where to find the truffles that are so sought after by the international restaurant trade. Finally, Gunda, gorgeously shot in black and white, attempts to experience the farm as the animals do; filmed on a farm north of Oslo, we are invited into the world of a mother pig, her piglets, some cows, and, most gloriously, a one-legged, scene-stealing hen.

The pandemic and the increasing threat of climate change has caused us all to think about how our food is produced and supplied. Living as we do on an island, we share the concerns of Grenadans about reliance on imported food; and we want to secure crofting as a viable, positive way to live and produce food for a local as well as national market.

Some have accused ‘Gunda’ as being ‘vegan propaganda’ but this is, I think, unfair. The film is not a diatribe about factory farming or animal rights, but a genuine attempt to enter into the animals’ world. Having empathy with the animals on your croft is something we see all the time here in Shetland.

- Kathy Hubbard, Festival Director

The screenings are supported by Taste of Shetland, the Shetland Livestock Marketing Group (SLMG) and Climate Fringe 2021. Taste of Shetland is the marketing arm of a growing membership company representing over eighty local businesses and organisations associated with the food and drink sector. The SLMG provide key services to Shetland’s agricultural community, in addition to leading on Shetland ParkLife, a project which aims to increase crofter and farmers knowledge of biodiversity and habitat-making. The strand is also supported by Climate Fringe, a programme of events about Scotland’s climate in the lead up to COP26.

We're delighted to support this new strand of Screenplay programming. Food production and food security are issues that matter a great deal to our members and to Shetlanders generally, so we're looking forward to seeing global perspectives on these topics on screen soon as part of this fabulous local film festival.

- Claire White, Manager at Taste of Shetland

More news on the Screenplay programme will be on the way soon. The festival runs from Wednesday 1 to Sunday 5 September 2021. The festival will run in accordance with COVID guidelines in place during September. More information can be found at here, and by following Screenplay on Facebook by searching ScreenplayFilmFestival.

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