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Shetland Arts will take a UK-wide part in the London 2012 Festival that celebrates the London 2012 Olympic Games. Shetland Arts was invited to submit a proposal relating to Screenplay, our annual film festival, and came up with ‘A Hansel of Film – Shetland to Southampton and Back’, a relay of screenings of short films made by the public in every part of the UK, kicked off in Shetland on 10th June by the arrival of the Olympic Torch in the isles as it reaches its UK most northerly point. The various programmes of films will be relayed between participating venues by ‘runners’, that is, creative and energetic individuals who will employ whatever means of transport they can devise to get the right films to the right venue on time. This will culminate in a marathon screening of over 120 short films at Screenplay 2012 between 4th and 9th September.

The project will take films made by Shetlanders and others to over twenty venues across the UK and will form a celebration of ‘home made’ short films similar to that which takes place annually at the Screenplay film festival. Head of Development Kathy Hubbard said “When we sat down and thought about what made Screenplay special, we all agreed that it was the evening of films made by local people and those connected with the isles. The atmosphere is always really supportive, it’s tremendous to see the creativity of people of all ages – but most of all it’s fun. And it was that spirit which we wanted to offer as a hansel to other regions and nations of the UK during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and to all those who will be taking part in the project.”

Acclaimed film critics Mark Kermode and Linda Ruth Williams, who are the curators of Screenplay, will be very active in promoting the project across the country. They will be greeting the ‘runner’ at The Harbour Lights Cinema in Southampton at the project’s half-way point, but will also be visiting other participating venues in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Said Mark and Linda, “We are delighted to be launching this exciting, nationally inclusive film relay, which will encompass all regions and nations of the UK and will spread the spirit of the London 2012 Festival from Shetland in the north to Southampton in the south and back again, taking in many points east and west along the way. We are looking forward to partnering up with cinemas and film-makers across the UK who are as enthusiastic as we are about people making their own films and taking movies on the road.”

Director of Shetland Arts, Gwilym Gibbons said: “Shetland Arts is thrilled to be taking an active part in the London 2012 Festival. It is a tribute to the creativity of our isles that Shetland has a role in delivering a UK-wide film project of this nature. It also comes at a very exciting time for us in the opening year of Mareel, Shetland’s new £12.2m music, cinema and creative industries centre. We will be inviting representatives from each of the participating regions and nations to come and join us back in Shetland for Screenplay 2012, making it a truly celebratory event.”

Ruth Mackenzie, Director of Culture at London 2012 said: “Thanks to Shetland Arts and all our cultural stars, in the summer of 2012 the London 2012 Festival will showcase our world leading cultural institutions, and demonstrate how dedicated we are at creating and celebrating world class talent.”

A ‘hansel’ is a Shetland dialect word meaning a gift that marks an event such as the launch of a new boat, the birth of a child or the creation of a new enterprise. Mr Gibbons said: “‘A Hansel of Film’ will celebrate the special differences between our regions and nations, capturing stories through the diverse languages and dialects, landscapes and seascapes of the British Isles. The films that we will screen will be born out of the very different experiences we all have, and heavily influenced by the power of the places in which we all live.”

Hansel definition: ‘a gift to commemorate an inaugural occasion, the launching of a new boat, the birth of a child, a new home, new enterprise.’ John J Graham – The Shetland Dictionary.

About the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival: The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.

The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, bringing leading artists from all over the world together from 21 June 2012 in this UK-wide festival – a chance for everyone to celebrate London 2012 through dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film and digital innovation.

Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival.

Visit the project's official website:

For more details visit:

For press enquiries contact Lisa Ward, Marketing Officer: or 01595 743 742

For project enquiries contact Kathy Hubbard, Head of Development: or 01595 743 843

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