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Arts / ‘Extraordinary people’ booked for Screenplay and Wordplay

SHETLAND’s annual film and literature festivals will take place across the next two months, with a series of events and screenings showcasing Scottish writers and filmmakers.

Screenplay 2022 will take place from 30 August to 4 September, and Wordplay runs from 21 to 25 September and feature guests and interviews from Werner Herzog, Scottish actress Kate Dickie as well as children’s book author David Macphail.

BAFTA winning Scottish actress previously seen in Game of Thrones, The Witch, and The Alienist, Kate Dickie, will run a Q&A after the screening of her latest film Couple in a Hole.

Meanwhile, director Werner Herzog will speak virtually after a screening of his 2005 documentary Grizzly Man, following animal activists Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard who spent thirteen years filming and working with grizzly bears in Katmai National Park, Alaska.

Herzog has been called ‘the most important film-maker alive’ and has worked on over 60 films throughout his career.

Scottish documentary Ride The Wave will make an appearance, followed by a Q&A with director Martyn Robertson. Ride The Wave focuses on the Larg family in Tiree, who decided to home school their son Ben after a bout of bullying, and he then took up an interest in surfing and became the Scottish under-18 surfing champion.

Curator of Screenplay Kathy Hubbard said: “This year’s new theme is ‘extraordinary people’, as we just happened to be presented with three or four films about extraordinary individuals.”

Young Plato is ‘Kathy’s Choice’ of the festival, a documentary created by Neasa Ní Chianáin filmed in post-conflict Belfast in which headteacher Kevin McArevey attempts to challenge prejudice and indoctrination by teaching young boys philosophical concepts and question their present narrative.

Hubbard said: “It’s a lovely film about an amazing teacher in a deprived area of Belfast who aims to teach kids to think for themselves by teaching them philosophy. It’s a cracker, but you’ll need your tissues.”

Screenplay is the UK’s most northerly film festival. Previous years have seen a dog screening event, in which 30 dogs were treated to a film called Useless Dog and served dog treats, and a screening event held in the Unst Bus Shelter.

However, because of ongoing limitations as we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s screenings will all be held at Mareel.

The education screenings are back for the first time after Covid-19 though , and the Screenplay festival will see several family-friendly films shown.

People can get tickets for Norwegian film Sisters: The Summer We Found Our Superpowers, featuring a couple of sisters who must embark on a long journey to rescue their father, and an animated film called Where is Anne Frank?

Archive footage will be shown of royal visits to Shetland in 1953 and 1961 as a nod to the Queen’s Jubilee year, and the Big Screenplay Film Quiz will be held on 1 September.

Additional screenings feature a heart-warming children’s film in Jackie and Oopien, and there will be a ‘Home Made’ extravaganza of short films filmed by Shetlanders.

Local pianist Neil Georgeson will provide a live piano accompaniment at the screening of a 1927 silent Alfred Hitchcock film The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog.

Hubbard called it “a time for those who love film and cinema”, saying people can “take a deep dive into some of the best that world cinema has to offer”.

The full programme can be found here.

Meanwhile Wordplay curator Malachy Tallack said: “Featuring some of the very best writers from across the country, I think Wordplay 2022 really does have something for everyone.”

There are workshops and events being held all over Shetland, including children’s book author David Macphail.

Wordplay will also see the 2022 Shetland Young Writers award presented during their Celebration of Shetland Writers event. Guest authors Chitra Ramaswamy and Sara Sheridan will run writing workshops, and Tom Percival will lead a book illustration workshop.

The Wordplay programme is here.

People can purchase Screencards and Wordcards at the Shetland Arts website, in person at Mareel, or via telephone on 01595 745500. These cards give access to priority booking for screenings and events, as well as covering the ticket cost. They are available for purchase now.

General ticket sales are open on Friday 5 August at 10am.