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Shetland Arts this week revealed some of the details of its seventh annual Film Festival, Screenplay 2013, running this year from 31 August to 8 September.

Shetland Arts’ Head of Development Kathy Hubbard said: “After a packed year of regular cinema at Mareel, we really felt that Screenplay would have to be extra special this year, and we think we’ve cracked it! It’s been right to the wire with the funding, with the availability of films for screening, and with our guests juggling their already incredibly busy schedules, but we’re just about there now!”

First of all, there will be a celebration of Scottish film makers and films, from the short to the feature length, and quite a few of them with Shetland connections! This will include a very special preview of the forthcoming feature length film Day of the Flowers by screenwriter Eirene Houston whose family comes from Shetland and who will introduce this special screening.


Toby Jones

We will also be meeting some distinguished visitors on-screen thanks to digital technology, with director Joshua Oppenheim (The Act of Killing) and actor Toby Jones (Infamous) joining us in cyberspace to discuss their work. In person we will welcome Wilma Smith (Behold Me Standing), Amy Hardie (The Edge of Dreaming), and Robert Rae (The Happy Lands), all here to do Q&A sessions with lucky audiences, and this year’s special guest is the amazing and multi-talented David Morrissey: actor, writer, director and producer extraordinaire.

DM Headshot July 2013

David Morrissey

There will also be some lovely films for children and some very grown-up films for everyone else. Kathy Hubbard added:” Don’t miss out on the kids’ stuff just because you think you’re too old for it, it’s great fun for everyone!”

This year’s mini theme is ‘A Matter of Life and Death’. We will be featuring some of the best films from the past couple of years that have considered this topic, making for terrific, sometimes challenging, but always totally unmissable viewing. From the intimate and moving I Am Breathing to Don Herzfeldt’s heart-stopping animated trilogy It’s Such A Beautiful Day, Screenplay will show a number of films that ask the big questions about what it means to be human.

But it’s certainly not all heavy! For those who like a bit of fiendish fun we will be showing sock-puppet horror spoof Sock Horror, and will also be hosting a Screenplay/Wordplay Film Quiz, with a special festival ‘film of the book’ theme. The quiz will be hosted by our curators Mark Kermode and Linda Ruth Williams. Because it’s a special occasion and we’re expecting a lot of interest, we’re asking attendees to book their places and tables in advance, then to fight for the glory of the top spots (and perhaps a special prize or two also!).

Last, and certainly not least, we will feature Shetland’s own film makers and some local heroes on film – an absolute must-see. And, fittingly, the festival will close with local film maker Simon Thompson’s feature-length documentary, Reels on Wheels – the Hansel Story, a record of Shetland Arts’ Cultural Olympiad project from last year, A Hansel of Film – Shetland to Southampton and Back.

And taking the festival around Shetland, Shetland Film Club will be visiting schools, halls and care centres all around the Isles with its outreach programme, and the Shetland Moving Image Archive will be screening something special from the archives to kick off the festival.

Kathy Hubbard added: “As funding for the arts grows ever more difficult to obtain, we are particularly grateful this year to our sponsors and supporters: Creative Scotland, Ronas Media, Arts and Business Scotland*, Shetland Jewellery, Shetland Film Club, Amnesty International Shetland, Singing Saturdays, Global Yell, UNISON and DJ Film and Sound – thank you all for ensuring that this year’s festival could happen.”

To find out about the programme highlights for Screenplay’s partner festival, Wordplay – the annual Shetland book festival – please click here.

The full programmes for both Screenplay and Wordplay will be made available next week and tickets will then be made available for purchase via Shetland Box Office in Mareel & Islesburgh, over the phone on 01595 745 555, and online at and

*The New Arts Sponsorship Grants scheme incentivises businesses to sponsor the arts in Scotland. It is funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Arts & Business Scotland. An arts organisation receiving an eligible business sponsorship can apply for £1 of funding for every £1 of sponsorship. The funding goes towards additional arts activity, for which the sponsor receives additional business benefits.

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