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Screenplay and Wordplay next month

David Morrissey.

SHETLAND Arts has released some of the highlights of this year’s Screenplay and Wordplay festivals.

The annual film and book festivals will run in parallel during a nine day period from 31 August to 8 September.

Tickets will be available from Shetland Box Office and at Mareel as of next week to coincide with the publication of the full programmes.

The 7th annual film festival, celebrating Scottish filmmakers but also focusing on the theme of A Matter of Life and Death, will again be curated by Mark Kermode and Linda Ruth Williams.

Some of the highlights will be:

  • this year’s special guest will be multi-talented actor, writer, director and producer extraordinaire David Morrissey;
  • the festival also welcomes Wilma Smith (Behold Me Standing), Amy Hardie (The Edge of Dreaming), and Robert Rae (The Happy Lands), and all will participate in Q&A sessions;
  • director Joshua Oppenheim (The Act of Killing) and actor Toby Jones (Infamous) will be joining the festival via cyberspace to discuss their work;
  • a 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;
  • other films shown will be the intimate documentary I Am Breathing, Don Herzfeldt’s heart-stopping animated trilogy It’s Such A Beautiful Day, as well as the sock-puppet horror spoof Sock Horror;
  • the festival will also host a film quiz, feature plenty of home grown talent and last but not least, premiere 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. 

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.”

Meanwhile it emerged that Wordplay organisers have managed to attract David Knopfler of Dire Straits to come to the festival and present two workshops: one in song writing and one on surviving as an artist in the business world.

Poet Tom Pow.

The festival also welcomes poets Tom Pow, Sheenagh Pugh, David Harsent, Andrew Greig, Jen Hadfield as well as renowned performance poet Lemn Sissay.

Literature development officer Donald Anderson said Sissay is known world-wide for his performances and “his first appearance at Wordplay is not to be missed!” 

Another unmissable event, according to organisers, is The Entire History of Rock and Roll in 60 Minutes with Mark Ellen and David Hepworth. This will be followed by a Q&A session.

Local highlight at the first weekend of the festival will be a poetry reading from Laureen Johnston and James Sinclair.

Anderson said: “This year’s curators have done a great job in pulling together an exceptional programme of events and we have some very interesting guests for this year’s festival with a rich mix of writers from a variety of genres from Shetland and from farther afield.”