This year’s festivals saw audiences of two thousand across fifty-two screenings and seventeen talks and workshops, despite the challenges of running in-person events during COVID-19.
At Screenplay in 2021, the festival hosted the World Premieres of Alistair Morrison’s photographic journey in Time To Pause and Aidan Nicol’s documentary Grenada and the Goats. Audiences were treated to live and recorded Q&As with festival curators Mark Kermode, Dr Linda Ruth Williams and Kathy Hubbard – one of the highlights being with director Guillermo del Toro for a twenty-year retrospective screening of The Devil’s Backbone.
This year’s Home Made event saw a wealth of local short features submitted and screened across two sold-out events. The Audience Award Winner for 2021 was Logan Nicholson with Crème de la Mayonnaise.
Screenplay hosted screenings of new features including Ben Sharrock’s comedy drama Limbo, Icíar Bollaín’s comedy romance Rosa’s Wedding and Shona Thomson’s archive documentary Launch! On The Sea with Scotland’s Lifeboats. With in-kind support from Discovery Film Festival at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA), the festival also hosted a screening and Q&A of Priya Ramasubban’s Chuskit and Shorts for Wee Ones. Chuskit will form part of Screenplay’s School’s Programme, which was postponed due to COVID-19.
At Wordplay in 2021, the festival took a hybrid format of in-person and online events, celebrating the best in local and international writing across a variety of genres. Curated by author Malachy Tallack, audiences also had the chance to learn directly from authors, poets and illustrators in a number of sold-out workshops – including Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2020 Winner Alycia Pirmohamed and graphic novel illustrators Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers (Metaphrog).
Celebrating local writers – including online events with Christine de Luca, Jen Hadfield and Donald S Murray presenting to an international audience via Zoom – the festival also celebrated new and emerging talent. At the Writer’s Night, prizes were given for the Shetland Young Writer of the Year 2021, which also marked the centenary of Orcadian writer and poet George McKay Brown.
With support from the Scottish Book Trust, Wordplay hosted talks with author Mary Paulson Ellis, with the newly released Emily Noble’s Disgrace; and journalist Cal Flyn, with Islands of Abandonment. The festival also supported talks for Damian Barr with You Will Be Safe Here and GP and author Gavin Francis with Intensive Care. Wordplay’s School’s Programme, supported and coordinated by Shetland Library, saw author Alan Windram lead workshops across Shetland, talking to around two hundred pupils about his illustrated book, One Button Benny.
More details on both festival programmes will be announced in 2022. The festivals will run in accordance with Scottish Government guidelines at the time. Shetland Arts welcomes discussions around sponsorship opportunities – please get in touch with us at [email protected] to see how we can work together.
Image: Photographer and Director Alistair Morrison infront of Mareel at the World Premiere of Time to Pause. Austin Taylor Photography