I've always thought that director Eilidh Munro made a fabulous film with A Long Winter. A brave and uncompromising look at the realities of human control over their environment that confronts the viewer with things they'd rather ignore. It hadn't taken hold in the festival market though, perhaps due to that harsh reality on-screen (although there's no violence per-se, there is extremely bloody scenes of cutting up deer corpses) or the difficult and stoic central character. So it was a surprise that it was nominated for a BAFTA, and an even greater surprise that it actually won, particularly with such stiff competition in the widely acclaimed Clean and multi-BAFTA winning animators Ainslie Henderson and Will Anderson's Shackleton.
I was absolutely thrilled, as it felt like a vindication of all the tough decisions that Eilidh made to create a film that resisted the standard documentary formula and all the recent trends in documentary that I find so tiresome: 'likeable' characters, explanation over immersion, ever-present voiceover, directors inserting themselves in the story, and surface-level thematics.
I hope this win gives the film a new jolt of life and more people are able to see it. It stands as one of my favourite editing experiences and, along with Crannog - with which it shares similar qualities - one of the short films I'm most proud of working on.
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 Oil Machine directed by Emma Davie will premiere at Sheffield DocFest 2022 on June 25th
From Screen Scotland:
The Oil Machine explores our economic, historical and emotional entanglement with oil by looking at the conflicting imperatives around North Sea oil. This invisible machine at the core of our economy and society now is now up for question as activists and investors demand change. Is this the end of oil?
The Oil Machine reveals the hidden infrastructure of oil from the offshore rigs and the buried pipelines to its flow through the stock markets of London. As the North Sea industry struggles to meet the need to cut carbon emissions, oil workers see their livelihoods under threat, and investors seek to protect their assets. Meanwhile a younger generation of climate activists are catalysed by the signs of impending chaos, and the very real threat of global sea level rises. The Oil Machine explores the complexities of transitioning away from oil and gas as a society and considers how quickly can we do it?
I was the assistant editor on The Oil Machine
The Oil Machine is a Sonja Henrici Creates Production for BBC Scotland and supported by The National Lottery through Screen Scotland.
Sheffield DocFest Screenings:
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.
'Just Noise: The barbarian thrill of noise in music' republished in Litro magazine #181: Subcultures edition
"Where to escape to, when silence is disappearing? Perhaps noise music highlights how people are too accepting of the damage and social alienation that the daily exposure to noise is producing. Are we all barbarians for living with noise that would have driven our forbears crazy?"
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.
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.
Art & Design
All contributions by Kieran Gosney unless otherwise stated.
© Kieran Gosney and kierangosney.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kieran Gosney and kierangosney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.