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Shetland Arts have announced the programmes for Shetland’s annual film and literature festivals, Screenplay (Tues 30 August – Sun 4 September) and Wordplay (Wed 21 – 25 September). The popular festivals bring a busy schedule of in-person and virtual Q&As, events, screenings and workshops.

Screenplay Film Festival continues to be curated by film critic Mark Kermode, film lecturer Dr Linda Ruth Williams and Shetland film buff Kathy Hubbard. On the list of guests for this year are Werner Herzog (Encounters at the End of the World) with his documentary Grizzly Man (2005) (pre-recorded Q&A) and Kate Dickie (Game of Thrones, Prometheus, The Alienist) who joins the festival starring in Couple in a Hole (2015) for which she won a Scottish BAFTA. Neasa Ní Chianáin (Frank Ned & Busy Lizzie, Fairytale of Kathmandu) brings her inspiring and moving documentary Young Plato (2021), whilst seasoned storyteller Jane Mote too brings another inspiring documentary, My Bones Are Woven (2021). Scottish film makers Martyn Robertson and Ruth Paxton also join the guest list with Robertson’s documentary, Ride the Wave (2021) and Paxton’s psychological horror, A Banquet (2021). These guests will be undertaking a mix of pre-recorded, online and live Q&A’s, as well as Jane Mote leading a workshop on smartphone filmmaking.

Other films join the festival themes, with regular theme ‘Look North’ featuring films from Finland, Canada, Denmark and Norway such as darkly funny Wild Men. ‘Family Friendly’ includes films suitable for the whole family to enjoy, notably Sisters: The Summer We Found Our Superpowers as well as heart-warming Jackie and Oopjen, and new theme ‘Extraordinary People’ features films which tell the stories of remarkable individuals, such as Innu poet Joséphine Bacon in Call Me Human. The annual ‘Home Made’ extravaganza of short films celebrates the creative work of Shetlanders, as well as a photo meditation from Bruce Eunson and a screening followed by discussion with three recent film graduates, Eve Christie, Molly Williams and Logan Nicolson. Local pianist and composer Neil Georgeson will be providing live piano accompaniment to the classic Alfred Hitchcock silent film, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927).

Curator Kathy Hubbard said, regarding a challenging year for cinema, “…it’s surely time for those of you who love film – and cinema – to take a deep dive into some of the best that world cinema has to offer, and spoil yourselves a little”.

Wordplay literature festival is again curated by local author Malachy Tallack, and this year brings a particular emphasis on non-fiction writing, with books about borders, about friendships, about Vikings, about the fishing industry, and about the (possible) breakup of the United Kingdom. Guests for Wordplay include former BBC journalist Gavin Esler with his most recent book How Britain Ends, bio-archaeologist Dr Cat Jarman with River Kings, Chitra Ramaswamy with Homelands, and James Crawford with The Edge of the Plain. For fans of fiction, two of Scotland’s best novelists, Sara Sheridan and Kirstin Innes join the festival to discuss their books The Fair Botanists and Scabby Queen. Shetland writers will also join the line-up, with John Goodlad and Roseanne Watt in a special event in Unst, and Peter Ratter and Mona McAlpine in the ‘Celebration of Shetland Writers’ event.

The festival also includes events for young people with guest David Macphail, author of Thorfinn the Nicest Viking, among other much-loved children’s books. The 2022 Shetland Young Writers Awards will be presented at the ‘Celebration of Shetland Writers’, highlighting exciting new work by some of our youngest authors.

Writing workshops will be led by guest authors Chitra Ramaswamy and Sara Sheridan, and a book illustration workshop will be led by Tom Percival. There will also be a special Q&A event on how to get your writing published. This year Wordplay once again includes two film screenings, Happening and Benediction.

Curator Malachy Tallack said, “Featuring some of the very best writers from across the country, I think Wordplay 2022 really does have something for everyone.”

Priority booking for Screenplay and Wordplay is available to cardholders on Tuesday 2 August at 6pm, with tickets on sale to general public on Friday 5 August at 10am.

Screencards, Wordcards and Festival Cards are still available to purchase online at tickets.shetlandarts.org, in person at Mareel or over the phone on 01595 745500 during opening hours (10am – 9pm, Tuesday – Sunday).

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