In April and May 1917 more than 18,000 Scottish soldiers died at the Battle of Arras in Northern France. 100 years on, 72 students from across Scotland came together to remember.
Working alongside SMARTS communicate we travelled with students (15-17 year olds) and teachers to Belgium and France to visit the battlefields of WW1. The aim of the trip was to commemorate the fallen and capture the students’ experience.
WW100 Scotland aims to inform people about Scotland’s unique contribution to World War One and help them discover the effects of the war on their local communities and its lasting impact on life in Scotland today. The commemorations, which mark the 100th anniversary of the war, are a chance to remember the sacrifices made and reflect on what we can, and should, learn from the war which was meant to end all wars.
I had a fun couple of weeks working with young people from South Lanarkshire and mentoring future media star Rebecca as she filmed and edited a movie about their enterprise challenge. Sixteen students took part in the ‘Young Apprentice’ style challenge working at businesses including Border Biscuits, Coca Cola and Scottish Power. Yes, we actually watched the Dark Chocolate Gingers bake in front of our eyes.
It was great to see a link between business and school as they applied their knowledge and skills to a real-life context. Beginning the fortnight as a bunch of shy teenagers and ending it as confident, inspired young adults was brilliant to see. Thanks to Helen Salt (Bright Yellow Thinking), Michael Kearns (UXL) and Eliot Jordan (South Lanarkshire Council).
Watch Rebecca’s documentary below – shot and edited on an iPad!
To whet the appetite in anticipation of our latest feature The End of the Game , here is the full version of The Dirty Digger. Directed by David Graham Scott and produced, filmed and co-edited by yours truly, it explores the dark and dangerous world of the Digger – an underground crime magazine electrifying Glasgow. Working as the paper’s court photographer, David joined vigilante editor James Cruickshank on his controversial campaign to rid the city of crime and corruption.
The Dirty Digger is a 30-minute ‘Gonzo style’ documentary commissioned for BBC Scotland’s Storyline strand in 2007 and executive produced by David Peat. Special mention to the wonderful Chris Bowman who also co-edited.
Last summer MEPC Hillington Park invited us to produce a short promotional film that presents a day in the life of Scotland’s largest business park. The purpose was to attract further investment and business to the area.
We spent seven days capturing the diverse and fascinating community that exists around the former Rolls Royce site. Amongst the more unusual sights are an Oscar statuette (won for ‘Seawards The Great Ships’  and housed in the screen archive), a group of bee hives for harvesting the park’s honey and, my favourite, the factory of Sutherland’s cakes.
The opening borrows an excerpt from ‘Wealth of a Nation,’ a Films of Scotland production from 1938. It’s a powerful reminder of Hillington’s status as Scotland’s most established centre for business and industry.
Today, the ethos and ambition remains the same – Hillington is a centre of innovation, where the prestige of Scottish craftsmanship has always stood high, attracting global attention and supportive appreciation.
The film features an original soundtrack from Glasgow based composer John Lemke and dramatic drone footage.
2014 is our most prolific year yet and demonstrates the growing appetite of organisations to commission video content as a core component of their digital strategy.
We’ve worked with young people in North Ayshire (Irvine Burns Club), interviewed Team Scotland for Irn Bru (Glasgow 2014), produced a music video for British indie band Mazes and delivered an inward investment video for Glasgow’s largest and oldest business park at Hillington. Most recently we’ve completed a promo for Dundee and Angus tourist board.
One of the standout projects was commissioned by the Scottish Government via Stripe Communications. We were asked to capture portraits of community-led projects that have received support from the Climate Challenge Fund. The fund was set up to help Scotland achieve its ambitious target of a 42% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020. In total nearly 700 projects have received support.
It was a humbling experience as we travelled across the country meeting inspirational and energetic individuals from all walks of life warning of the dangers of climate change and tackling carbon emissions.
Never was this more explicit than on the Isle of Coll where the natural world overwhelms. The community has devised a brilliant method of imploding glass bottles into sand to make concrete closing the recycling circle on Coll. It was great to hear the children passionately defend the future of their island.
In the suburbs of Edinburgh we witnessed the asylum-seeker community offering home energy saving advice to minority groups. They’re not just fulfilling a requirement of government policy but a deep-felt need to protect the planet. Some had witnessed first-hand the impact of climate change in sub Saharan Africa.
In Scotland the natural environment is an unequivocal part of our lives. As a nation we depend on it to generate income, provide nourishment and act as a playground in which we can exhaust our energies.
These projects are brilliantly inventive, varied, and resourceful and most importantly they are inclusive.
Please enjoy the film, introduced by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Environment & Climate Change, and share these brilliant examples of grass root projects protecting our land for future generations.
As storms currently smash the country to smithereens I thought I’d draw your attention to these unsung heroes.
Shortly before Christmas we were commissioned by SP Energy Networks (responsible for maintaining the grid) to produce short portraits of their frontline staff at work in Scotland and Wales. I was amazed by the crazy conditions these guys work in – gales, blizzards, and hazardous terrain – all while dealing with live cables.
Stepping into life threatening scenarios to make areas safe and keep the lights on is no picnic!
Exciting month ahead. We’ve been invited to produce a music video for London based indie band MAZES. The video will feature the next single from their forthcoming album ‘Better Ghosts’ released on FatCat Records.
Not giving away too much at this stage other than sheep are involved!
For the second year running, we’re shooting character portraits of modern apprentices – nine talented guys and gals who have been nominated for Skills Development Scotland’s 2013 Modern Apprenticeship Awards. The prestigious ceremony is held every year at Glasgow Science Centre. Can’t wait to hear their stories.
Finally, we’re going to be filming some workshops and lectures for The Glasgow Centre for Population Health. GCPH is a government resource set up to generate insights and evidence to improve health and tackle inequality in Glasgow. Their annual seminar series features international speakers from differing perspectives sharing insight into health and welfare. It’s essential research and you can see past lectures here.