It’s taken a while, but it looks like a wrong is about to be righted when a weekend of screenings and talks will celebrate the life and career of Scottish filmmaker, Bill Douglas, in his hometown of Newcraighall on the 20th anniversary of his death.
Born in the mining village in April 1934, Douglas’ parents were absent and he was raised, in poverty, by various members of his family before escaping into National Service and, eventually, the world of filmmaking.
Although he wrote and directed the Bill Douglas Trilogy, comprised of My Childhood (1972), My Ain Folk (1973) and My Way Home (1978), which have been revered by critics and his fans for decades, it’s fair to say that Douglas’ appeal never quite reached into the mainstream like that of his contemporary, Bill Forsyth.
That’s a crime that might just be rectified at The Bill Douglas Weekend as four of his films, the Trilogy and his 1986 birth of the trade unions epic, Comrades, are screened alongside two documentaries. There will also be contributions from Douglas’ long time friend, Peter Jewell, while filmmakers will discuss his legacy.
In addition, there will be an arts exhibition, sculptures and other links to the local lad’s work and life, with the possibility of a memorial to be considered on the Sunday at Douglas’ old school, Newcraighall Primary.
For fans of Douglas’ work this is a chance to deepen their understanding of the man, while for newcomers it’s an excellent opportunity to discover what all the fuss should have been about these past 20 years.
The full programme of events can be found on the Craigmillar Arts Centre website.