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The sixth Shetland Arts annual film festival, Screenplay 2012, kicks off this weekend by paying tribute to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games with the 30th anniversary release of Chariots of Fire on Friday evening. The festival runs over ten days, and the first weekend gives film lovers of all ages an opportunity to see films in Shetland's brand new cinema, Mareel.

With Ice Age: Continental Drift for children and families, King of Devil's Island and Jackpot for followers of Scandinavian film, Trollhunter for those who like a dark tale, and Inni, a filmed concert by Iceland's Sigur Rós for music lovers, there's plenty to get folk in the mood for ten days of screen treats. This year's themed screenings go under the banner of 'It's Dark Up North', and from now until 9th September there will be lots of opportunity to see how our Scandinavian neighbours approach the darker side of life in cinematic terms – from the 1957 Ingmar Bergman classic, The Seventh Seal to Lars von Trier's Melancholia.

Shetland Arts Head of Development, Kathy Hubbard said: “Audiences are in for a unique treat mid-week with the visit of Colorado-based film maker Alexandre Philippe, and two of the funniest documentaries you are ever likely to see – The People Vs George Lucas and The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus. Neither of these wonderful films has been on general release in the UK, so this represents a very special opportunity for Shetland audiences.”

The former is about the unparalleled passion the original Star Wars trilogy inspires in its fans. Using interviews taken from over 700 hours of footage and peppered with extraordinary Star Wars recreations lovingly immortalised in needlepoint, Lego, claymation and puppets, this hilarious documentary asks the question: Who truly owns that galaxy far, far away? The man who created it or the fans who love it?

The second of Alexandre's films takes a wry look at the world's most celebrated cephalopod – Paul, the octopus who correctly 'predicted' the outcome of eight games in the 2010 Football World Cup. Described as a 'biopic of tentacular proportions' it looks at the kind of celebrity mania that dominates 21st century culture. Alexandre will be there to discuss his films and answer questions, and is guaranteed to charm and entertain audiences.

Alexandre O. Philippe

There are two other mid-week treats for film fans: first, the chance to see the last ever concert by the LCD Sound System, Shut Up and Play the Hits on Tuesday evening (opening across the UK that night in selected cinemas only) and the second is a preview of the bootlegging drama Lawless, which opens in the UK later in the week, and which comes to Shetland courtesy of the distributors, Momentum Pictures (it will have a longer run at Mareel later in September).

With two screens now available, the festival is able to offer more than one opportunity to see many of the films on offer, although events attended by guests such as Miranda Richardson and Bill Forsyth are one-off occasions. The single screening of Prometheus is already sold out, but Shetland Arts would like to reassure audiences that there will be more chances to see this remarkable film in the coming weeks.

Free screenings of the short films from across the UK that made up Shetland Arts' Cultural Olympiad project, A Hansel of Film – Shetland to Southampton and Back will be showing throughout the week, and all are welcome to drop in and be inspired by the creativity of non-professional film makers young and old. Shetland's own film makers will be showcased next Friday at the Home Made screening – always a sell-out so book early!

Tickets can be purchased at Shetland Box Office on 01595 745555 or online at

Screenplay / Wordplay 2012 Programme

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