Independent Thinking: Neil Rolland on Write Shoot Cut

Jonathan Melville 4 September, 2012 0
Independent Thinking: Neil Rolland on Write Shoot Cut

Ahead of a special screening of independent Scottish films in Edinburgh’s on Monday 10 September, Neil Rolland introduces website and film night, Write Shoot Cut, and looks ahead to 2013’s Bootleg Film Festival.

Write Shoot Cut started in August 2011 as my personal blog devoted to short and independent filmmaking. I’ve been involved in the short filmmaking community of the UK since around 2006 and over that time I’ve met some extremely talented people and seen some brilliant short films. I decided that I wanted to shout about these people and their films.

I started by interviewing my own circle of friends and contacts, people for whom I had genuine affection for as filmmakers and as people. I then branched out to contact people I had never met but who I had admired from a far. To my amazement everyone was very responsive and encouraging, opening up to me and the site, sharing their war stories as well as their hopes and dreams.

I’ve been very lucky to get interviews with people like Greg Hall, Simon Ellis, Nash Edgerton and more locally Ruth Paxton and Sarah Drummond (to name a few). These are people I genuinely admire and whose work I love so being able to share them with a readership is very exciting for me.

I had wanted to run a short film night in Edinburgh ever since the winding down of the excellent Shoot First night at the Filmhouse in 2008, which followed the old Blueroom screenings at the Cameo, also now defunct. The community around these events were what I loved and I knew Edinburgh was crying out for a short film night. So in February this year I decided just to go for it.

I contacted the Banshee Labyrinth, who were lovely and accommodating, put out a call for shorts and two weeks later the Write Shoot Cut Short Film and Networking Night was launched. It was an instant hit with the cinema packed to the rafters and it’s been that way every month since.

Our format is simple; Write Shoot Cut is a free event, free to submit, free to attend. We screen shorts from across the world and hold Q&As with the filmmakers in attendance (hosted by our resident cinefile, Ross Maclean). The cinema is intimate and the drinks are cheap. It has a bohemian feel about it with different faces every month as well as our now regulars. I asked for feedback recently from those who come along and everyone said it was the ‘atmosphere’ that they loved; the films were ‘well selected’ and the people were ‘friendly’.

On 10 September we have our biggest event yet when we hold a special screening as part of the Scala Beyond festival. The screening will showcase five films all from Scottish based filmmakers, who will all be in attendance to discuss their films with the audience. We have everything from demented screenwriters to singing zombies and our centrepiece is the acclaimed short Mum’s Birthday by Graham Fitzpatrick, which picked up a BAFTA as well as awards in LA and Hollywood.

Beyond this Write Shoot Cut continues to grow. We recently partnered with Screen Education Edinburgh who will be supporting our monthly short film screenings as well as helping us develop more events for filmmakers locally.

In addition, in 2013 we will be bringing the Bootleg Film Festival to Edinburgh. A real coup for the city, this festival is a celebration of independent filmmaking globally and has been held in London, Toronto and Glasgow over the past four years. Three days of screenings, workshops and events, it really will be something not to miss if you are based in Scotland. The festival attracts people from all over the world so it will be a massive networking opportunity for local filmmakers as well as a great space to see some cracking films.

It’s all very exciting and quite unbelievable considering the whole thing started as my personal blog but I’m enjoying the ride and I just hope that people stay with it and help it to grow. At the end of the day it was always about the filmmakers and the films and that’s what it will continue to be about.

The next Write Shoot Cut screening takes place on Monday September 10th at 7.30pm in the Banshee Labyrinth and it’s free, full details can be found on the website.