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Staff at Mareel get in the mood for a screening of the Black Pirate (image (c) Dale Smith)
Staff at Mareel get in the mood for a screening of the Black Pirate (image (c) Dale Smith)

 Sunday evening saw the culmination of 10 days of film, fun and festivities at Mareel, as Screenplay 2015 was brought to a triumphant end with a screening of 1970’s sci fi classic Silent Running.  As square-eyed film fans all over the islands adjust to spending time in daylight once more, Shetland Arts is taking stock of the festival, and has declared it to be one of their most successful yet.

With over 70 film screenings, 10 Q&A sessions, 7 educational screenings, 4 workshops and 2 quizzes, this year’s festival has packed a lot of bang for its buck.  Festival highlights have included an innovative live dubbed film, as well as a silent movie with live accompaniment by local musician Phillip Taylor and Q&A’s with actor & writer Mark Gatiss, star of stage and screen Lindsay Duncan, and producer director duo Cairo Cannon and Carol Morley. Other festival firsts included a live festival to festival link up with Festival No.6 in Portmerion, as well as extended Home Made Screenings, including the first ever 5 – 20 minute category.

Guest Mark Gatiss in conversation (c) Dale Smith
Guest Mark Gatiss in conversation (c) Dale Smith

Festival curator Mark Kermode, who has been furiously tweeting photos and updates from the festival all week, stated that he felt this year’s Screenplay had been ‘our best yet’.  Volunteer coordinator Cara McDiarmid echoed this sentiment, stating that the team of 16 dedicated volunteers, some of whom had come from off island specifically for the event, had all had ‘an excellent time’.

She added ‘The guests were lovely and so interesting, and there was such a good variety of films, workshops and other events. We can’t wait for next year!’

Attendances for the festival were up on previous years, with more people than ever joining in and taking part. Outreach activities included film screenings on Bressay and Fair Isle, as well as workshops in Whalsay School, educational screenings in Brae and Fair Isle and a screening in North Haven care home.  Members of the Kirkwall Grammar School Film club also made their second visit to the festival, packing in an impressive number of films during their visit.

Next year marks the 10th anniversary of Screenplay, and the organisers promise they are planning something very special indeed.  The festival will take place from 27th August – 4th September 2016   and audiences can be sure of another packed programme of films, workshops, guest speakers and events, all delivered with that traditional Screenplay madcap enthusiasm. As one 2015 film quiz team put it - SCREENPLAY, HOO HA HA!  We can’t wait.

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