Our patron and jurist, BAFTA Breakthrough nominee Jamie Robson, was interviewed recently for The National newspaper where he discussed short films and the film industry in Scotland:

Jamie Robson, Edinburgh 2018. Image by Ivon Bartholomew.

“They (short films) demonstrate ability prior to a filmmaker developing their debut feature which can be ahuge leap. Shorts can help draw attention to new filmmakers and provide a safe space for experimentation. They’re like sketchbooks – before there’s a Mona Lisa, there are preliminary works that are valuable in their own right, because you see the processes leading up to the primary work.
Local cinemas should show short films before every feature and have regular programmes dedicated to them.”

While production in Scotland has been boosted recently with films like Batman and Avengers being shot here, these are not telling authentically Scottish stories or engaging with Scottish society and culture.”

still from Salvage by Jonny Dry.

“The Scottish industry needs to be celebrated. They shoot scenes here for Fast and Furious, we’ve had big Marvel movies come in and we do that very well. But I’d like to see further support of local filmmaking, particularly lower-budget features that hark to a John Cassavetes or Kelly Reichardt perspective on how films can be made.

The Four-Quadrant approach pressurises projects to return the most money or bag the biggest stars, but that can stifle risk-taking, diluting the voice of the filmmaker. More regionally, there’s perhaps somewhat of a fixation on a particular view of Scotland which tries too often to be in tandem with the tourism industry.

Blue Christmas by Charlotte Wells.

We’re a metropolitan country. There’s more to Scotland than heroin and shortbread and that deserves to be explained in our storytelling. I think there could be a historical drama or television mini-series about the Western Enlightenment, and how Scotland was amelting pot for philosophical and intellectual transformation.

Scotland’s currently in a strong position within the worldwide film industry. There are wonderful and passionate people in our organisations and I have the pleasure of calling some of these figures mentors and friends. I’m confident that we’ll continue to strike the balance between welcoming large, international movies, whilst championing small local films. I’m excited to participate in it all.”

Jamie Robson was the lead in Charlotte Wells’ film Blue Christmas, Scottish BAFTA winning short drama My Loneliness is Killing Me, received a BAFTA Breakthrough nomination, starred in Ross Wilson’s debut feature Spin State and last year, led in short films Archivia and Salvage. Jamie is ambassador for the ESFF.