“This is a phenomenal city, the light changes here constantly. I think anyone who shoots a film in Edinburgh has to be influenced by the light and the clarity it gives in the summer.”
These are the words of Tim Barrow, writer, director and star of The Space Between, an Edinburgh-based tale of loss, love and redemption. His words seemed appropriate as the sun shone down upon the Grassmarket area of the city, and a small group of people gathered at Avalanche Records.
They had arrived for what was the 17th screening of the film, and the generous applause from the audience as the credits appeared at the end of the showing represented an encouraging reception, reinforced by the positive comments offered by some of the spectators afterwards.
Tim’s passion and enthusiasm for his film, and indeed the city he shot it in, were unreservedly displayed as he addressed the onlookers prior to the screening. As well as ensuring he’d introduced himself to each and every person, personally thanking them for their time, after the crowd had dispersed he then turned his attention to packing away the equipment and chairs himself.
Promoting a low-budget Scottish film is certainly not glamorous, and only filmmakers with industrious and passionate qualities will succeed in this environment. Tim Barrow has both.
Although this is Barrow’s directorial debut, he did produce, write and act in the successful 2007 film The Inheritance, which picked up an award at Raindance. Working on both sides of the camera is certainly something that he seems to be relishing, even with his theatrical background. “In theatre it’s impossible to direct yourself, whereas in film you can, and loads of people do, such as Clint Eastwood and Orson Wells,” says Barrow.
“The director also highlights the advantages of being involved in creating a character and then playing the part. A director can write for himself, he knows where he is going and he speaks his own words,” he says. But at the same time, in situations like this, a Director of Photography is essential, and Barrow was quick to praise the man behind the camera, “There was a lot of trust involved with our director of photography, Chris Martin.”
The film itself follows two characters, who are both struggling with grief. Although the format is far from radical, the lack of dialogue throughout the film challenges both the actors and the audience. The performances of Barrow, who plays Steven, and Vivien Reid, who plays Lisa, are most impressive when they aren’t speaking, and their actions, facial expressions and subtle glances at one another display more feeling than words could provide.
At times it does feel as if the relationship between the main protagonists could have been developed further, possibly through more dialogue, or simply more interaction between them. However, the director explains his decision to keep the dialogue to a minimum, “It’s about the characters only saying what they need to in those situations, they don’t really want to talk or get through their problems, they’re quite content to wallow in their situation of grief and melancholia.”
There are a number of themes explored within the film, but essentially it is a love story, and in this sense the aesthetics become an important part of creating the correct atmosphere. Tim’s knowledge of his Edinburgh surroundings, coupled with the skills of Director of Photography Chris Martin, help construct some charming and striking visuals.
“I wanted to make a love story, and one that was shot in Edinburgh,” Barrow explains. “So I knew that I’d have to shoot at Cramond. The island is beautiful and has a great atmosphere.” The unique island, that lies in the Firth of Forth, is the setting for the film’s finale, and provides some wonderful scenic views to wrap the story up.
Whilst requiring a certain degree of patience, The Space Between is ultimately very rewarding, and just as the characters grow and reach their potential, so does the film. It’s beautifully shot, and makes full use of the breathtaking light mentioned by Barrow, as well as boasting a poignant soundtrack, provided by Fiona Rutherford, which helps bring Edinburgh to life.
Whilst the director is confident the film will prove to be a success to a wide range of viewers, there is undoubtedly a romanticism attached to the local audience: “I think the quality of the film will stand up anyway, but it’s great for audiences in Edinburgh to recognise their location.”
The response from the small gathering at Avalanche Records is certainly one to inspire confidence, and with Barrow’s drive and enthusiasm hopefully this is just the beginning for The Space Between.
The next screening of The Space Between will be at The Maltings in Berwick on May 4, visit the Maltings website for full details.