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EDINDOCS Stuart McInnes Interview

Explains why he’s launching a festival in Scotland’s capital.

Stuart McInnes explains why he’s launching a festival in Scotland’s capital.

Edinburgh is home to many arts festivals but it seems there is always room for one more. This year sees the launch of EDINDOCS, a Documentary Film Festival screening 25 films over a three day period. This festival aims to bring quality, independent documentary film to Scotland’s capital. Andrew Moir spoke to filmmaker and EDINDOCS creator Stuart McInnes.

What are your reasons for launching this festival?

I think because I do already make documentaries and I know that there’s not really an avenue for small independent filmmakers to get their stuff out in Edinburgh

To Save The WhaleAre there enough resources available to new filmmakers?

Well I don’t know – probably not now. They’ve even closed down the Scottish funding place as well. But it tends to be done on a low budget anyway which is what’s quite nice about it. They don’t really have to have lots of resources now. The technology is quite cheap now so you don’t have to have really good equipment to make a decent film.

With the Edinburgh International Film Festival taking place in June, was there really a need for another film festival?

The International festival did start as a documentary festival but it’s gone a bit Hollywood now – it’s on a much bigger scale. Although it still has a documentary section, it’s definitely on a much smaller scale so I think there is room for us.

From an entries point of view the Edinburgh name has been really important. We used an electronic online submissions system and there was often little messages attached to the film submissions from the filmmakers in Guatemala or wherever who had been to University here, or had been on holiday here or knew about the main festival.

Is there strong representation from local filmmakers?

We had only 2 Scottish entries which was a bit of a surprise but most of the rest of the stuff came from every corner of the globe. We have a little Scottish section in there this year but we got an endorsement from the Scottish Documentary Institute but it was quite late in the game. The people who go there didn’t really know about the festival so probably for next year we’ll get a lot more Scottish entries.

What are some of the highlights of the festival?

Definitely the finale film Save the Whale which is made by a British filmmaker is an outstanding piece of film and there’s also a film called My Uncle Bluey which is an Australian film made by one girl one with camera which is just a really clever bit of filmmaking.

My Uncle BlueyWhat is the prize for the winning film?

I’ve been working on this with our sponsors at The National Library of Scotland. The Scottish Screen Archive is going to hold the winning films in their archive for future generations to see, even though they might not be Scottish. That’s quite unusual and definitely I think quite prestigious.

Why have you chosen a theatre to screen the films when Edinburgh offers so many more traditional venues?

We looked at all sorts of cinemas – all the usual places- not only are they really expensive but the Church Hill Theatre just had a little bit of a niche feel to it. It’s kind of like an old fashioned cinema house even though it’s never had a cinema in it. It’s council run and they’re delighted because they’ve always thought about putting a cinema in but they’ve never done it. We just had to bring the equipment in and hopefully it’ll create a nice little atmosphere.

What can the audience expect over the three days of the festival?

We ditched 150 films and we’re left with 25 really strong ones. The themes are really loose. They are based on what that particular audience will enjoy rather than there being a link between the films but if you like documentary then you’ll like any of the sessions. It’s all really strong stuff.

EDINDOCS takes at the Church Hill Theatre, Edinburgh place from 16-18 September 2010.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website: thekolsocial.com

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