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Revitalised film collective tilts at Murray adaptation

SHETLAND Film Collective is up and running again after a fallow period – with members aiming to film local author Donald Murray’s “dark” short story The Gutting Knife.

The collective originated in 2016 from an idea of Stephen Mercer and its entre was the popular Viking-themed Ragnar, which premiered at Screenplay Film Festival. Since then the group had become “moribund”.

According to the collective’s Dave Hammond, who is an established local film-maker and photographer, an upsurge in interest in the group has prompted weekly meetings at The Bop Shop in Market Street, Lerwick, with all members welcome to attend.

Skeld based Hammond said: “I believe there is a lot of talent around and I thought the time was right to take things a bit further.”

The group’s Facebook page has gathered 156 names. Though it is private, anyone can apply to join.

Judging by the enthusiasm of Hammond, Murray and collectivists filmmaker Simon Thompson and Malcolm Hall, who were at the Bop Shop on Monday night, the project is gathering serious momentum.

Murray was outlining a treatment for his story, which will be scripted for filming over the summer.

The Gutting Knife was published in his collection Small Expectations a number of years ago and has already been adapted for the stage by Izzy Swanson.

According to Murray, he recognised that the story had potential for film immediately upon writing it.

Ragnar was produced with zero budget, but was sponsored by Frankie’s Fish & Chips.

Murray said that the time was auspicious for local film production with a new Scottish BBC channel augmenting the likes of Gaelic channel ALBA, so there should be more funding available.

Shetland Film Collective meets at the Bop Shop every Monday from 7.30pm.