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Actor Bill Nighy to visit isles for this year’s Screenplay

Co-curator Kathy Hubbard at the launch of the 2017 Screenplay film festival. Photo courtesy of Shetland Arts.

POPULAR actors Bill Nighy and George MacKay are among the top attractions for annual week-long film festival Screenplay, which kicks off in Hillswick later this month.

Over 80 screenings and events will take place over 10 days stretching from Friday 25 August until Sunday 3 September in what is the eleventh helping of the festival.

Sixty seven year old Nighy has featured in notable films including Love Actually, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Harry Potter, as well as a substantial body of TV and theatre work.

He will take part in a Q&A session after the screening of his latest film The Limehouse Golem, which opens nationally in the first weekend of September.

Also part of the line-up is talented young actor MacKay, who will also participate in a Q&A following a screening of his 2013 comedy Pride, and will join in with the audience during a special singalong screening of Sunshine on Leith.

The festival has been drawn together by regular co-curators Mark Kermode, Linda Ruth Williams and Kathy Hubbard, who have ensured a packed and varied programme.

As well as the regular ‘Look North’ screenings from Scandinavia (and Eshaness this year), there is a new ‘Fur and Feathers’ strand promising “some delightful films about dogs, cats, eagles, and a very special donkey”.

Kathy is keen to stress that there are plenty of films for families and young people.

“Apart from the public screenings for families, over a thousand school pupils will be coming to Mareel to see some of the best that world cinema has to offer young audiences,” she said. “We can’t wait to meet them all.”

Screenplay also aims to maintain a tradition of supporting emerging film makers, with a number of first feature directors visiting the festival either in person or via Skype.

Tuesday 29 August will be “judgement day” for Terminator fans with a special 3D screening of Terminator 2, which is showing for one night only across the UK.

But the curators insist the real stars of the show are the contributors to the Home Made screenings of films made by Shetlanders. These are always hugely popular and this year boast a “truly bumper crop”, including a film by JJ Jamieson about the history of the North Star Cinema.

There will be screenings in Hillswick, Whalsay and Mid Yell, plus nostalgic screenings at the 60 Plus Club in Scalloway, the Stepping Out club in Yell and the Fernlea Care Centre.

“Lectures, workshops and the legendary festival film quiz will keep you entertained when you need a break from the screen,” said Kathy, “so diehard film fans had better pace themselves!”

  • Tickets are available from Friday 11 August in person from Mareel, by phone on (01595) 745500 or online at www.shetlandarts.org. Copies of the programme will be available at Mareel and elsewhere, and it can also be accessed online here.