The Herald has picked out The Hermit of Treig as one of the best Scottish films of 2022 alongside Charlotte Wells' Aftersun and Hassan Nazers' Winners.
"For this fascinating documentary about solitude and, ultimately, friendship, Oban-based restaurateur-turned-filmmaker Lizzie MacKenzie turns her camera on Ken Smith, the hermit of the title, who has lived off-grid lived for years in a log cabin in Lochaber. The filming period was lengthy and took in the period of Covid lockdowns – not that they affected Smith much – so it was only this year that MacKenzie’s film finally saw the light of day in its finished form, winning the Audience Award at the 2022 Glasgow Film Festival in March."
Check out the trailer below
After winning the Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival, The Hermit of Treig has scooped the Best Single Documentary award at the 2022 Scottish Baftas.
Producer Naomi Spiro and Director Lizzie McKenzie gave charming acceptance speeches which you can view here
I had the great pleasure of working with Cinetopia and artist Yulia Kovanova to create a three-screen looped film for the installation I Ken Whaur, which premiered at the French Institute in Edinburgh and is set to tour the country in the new year.
We worked with the National Library of Scotland's vast video archive of documentary and amateur film depicting the work and daily lives of Scottish islanders and highlanders, from as early as the 1910's all the way up to the 1980's. The film evokes the connection between the land, the people and their language, focusing on how the clearances and later population decline affected the communities.
The 14 minute film operates as a continuous loop, that depicts the arrival, cultivation of land and generational struggle, as the land empties of people only to be reclaimed again. The film was created alongside a fantastic soundtrack of traditional folk song, in Gaelic, Scots and English, curated and adapted by progressive folk band Dowally. Alongside the exhibition, there was a live performance
The reactions from visitors to the exhibition were incredible, including some tears, and it was a joy to have access to such incredible footage, particularly the film The Shepherds of Berneray, by Allen Moore and Jack Shea, which formed the backbone of the film. I'm looking forward to the installation travelling far and wide, particularly to the communities depicted.
You can read more about the exhibition in The Scotsman here
The hybrid documentary animated feature A Cat Called Dom, which I edited, has won the Powell & Pressburger Award for Best Film at the 2022 Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Considering the competition, it was quite a surprise, and the positive reactions to the film have been really great to read and hear.
This is what the jury had to say about the film:
“It’s better to miss Naples than to hit Margate” was Powell & Pressburger’s motto, suggesting the imagination, daring, risk taking and wit that marked their films. Their special collaboration was also grounded in deeply human stories and the belief that life can be magic.
For these reasons the jury are pleased to award The Powell & Pressburger Award for Best Feature to Will Anderson & Ainslie Henderson’s A Cat Called Dom."
Accepting the award, directors Anderson and Henderson said:
“To screen our first feature at EIFF was an honor… but to take away the first Powell & Pressburger Award is just so special. A Cat Called Dom is a film about embracing failure… after EIFF it now feels much more like a success.”
The Hermit of Treig won the audience voting award at the 2022 Glasgow Film Festival, out of seven films nominated.
Director Lizzie MacKenzie said: “Wow wow wow! As if it wasn’t an honour enough as a Highland lassie to premier my first film at Glasgow Film Festival, winning the audience award is just magic.I’m so chuffed that Ken has charmed the audiences much like he charmed me during our first ever encounter that sparked his whole thing off. Now for the long hike into the woods to break the news over a glass of birch wine! From all Team Hermit, a massive thanks.”
The Hermit of Treig releases to cinemas on March 25th, and the broadcast version is available on BBC iPlayer.
I co-edited the film with Ling Lee.
Dan Deacon has released his stellar soundtrack for Time Trial with a limited edition vinyl, available here. It's a fantastic piece of work and I can vividly remember the excitement in the editing suite when we received the first tracks to hear everything come together so perfectly in tandem with the images.
Relix describes it as "a study in expressing human fragility and fallibility with machines, like the best of Brian Eno’s ambient works".
Accompanying the release, I edited a music video for the track 'The Breakaway', which was a blast to work on and an interesting way of reshaping footage I'd grown accustomed to into something new and exciting. It also happens to be the first music video I've ever worked on.
Time Trial to Premiere in Competition at International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam
Very pleased to announce that Time Trial, the David Millar cycling documentary I edited, will premiere in competition at IDFA in November. It'll screen in the Royal Theatre Carré on Sunday, November 19th to an audience of 1,500.
Following the screening there will be a talk/Q&A with director Finlay Pretsell and David Millar himself, which will also feature the great Jørgen Leth (who has written a poem specifically for the occasion.)
Check it out and keep yourself updated at the IDFA website or @TimeTrialFilm on Twitter.
The trailer for the film will come out in about a week, featuring first on the Global Cycling Network before going wider.
At the end of the video game Bioshock -- spoiler alert -- the player-character is revealed to be an unwitting slave to a brainwashing antagonist, who triggers obedience by speaking the key phrase 'Would you kindly?' Throughout the game, the player has been given their objectives prefixed with the phrase, making for a neat commentary on the deceptive interactive freedom in gaming.
That phrase often comes to my mind when someone announces a supposedly innovative approach to interactive media, as the results are so often a disappointingly illusory sense of control. Fitting then that, in a recent interview with Wired, the creator of Bioshock, Ken Levine, is asking us kindly to be excited at the prospect of an interactive reboot of The Twilight Zone.
Read more at The 405
Before the advent of digital cameras, the time limit of a take was set by the length of the film in a reel. Now that cameras can run the clock in excess of any celluloid reel, standard feature length films without cuts are possible. However, only a handful of releases have ever attempted such a feat. The process is certainly a gamble and it takes a confident or foolish director to eschew the all-important coverage that might save a sequence in the edit. Editing is more than simply a safety net, but, when falling through a single-shot shoot, the filmmakers might wish they had one.
Mistakes aside, a filmmaker's purposive narrative, meaning and style will most often change dramatically in the editing suite. Despite what originally might have seemed settled in the script and on the set, the keen focus with hindsight in the editing process has a way of turning what initially seemed prescient into the myopic. To go forward without the benefit of an editor requires that the puzzles that might present themselves in post-production are solved before you call action. Fortune favours the bold, though, and sometimes a limitation is a blessing. Certain films show that the create a distinct experience. While Hitchcock's Rope and Iñárritu's Birdman are masterpieces of single-shot fakery, they're to be disqualified for the advantages of hidden cuts and digital stitching. The focus here is on those audacious films that attempt to never require splicing of any kind.
This week sees the UK cinema release of German actor-director Sebastian Schipper's film Victoria. A two-hour thriller constructed as a single take, Schipper's daring gambit is just the latest in a short but remarkable line of single-shot feature films. Victoriasees the eponymous lonely soul, played by Laia Costa, meet her first friends since moving to Berlin, subsequently careening from nightclub flirting to armed robbery in the course of one relentlessly heady night. The film was plotted but not scripted or blocked, which meant improvisation from both cast and crew during each take. The production spent three months preparing and rehearsing, fastidiously working out the logistics, even down to how small issues like the opening of a door might derail an entire night's work. The hard graft paid off, three takes was all it took and the last one was a keeper.
Read more at The 405 here
I've written a piece for The 405 about Hank Corwin's editing of The Big Short. It's on his use of footage in which actors are unaware they're the focus of the camera, and how this relates to authenticity in acting.
Read it here
Art & Design
All contributions by Kieran Gosney unless otherwise stated.
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