The St Andrews Film Festival is the first weekend-long environmental film festival in Scotland and is taking place in St Andrews next weekend (22-24 November). Organised by the University group Transition University of St Andrews, the festival line-up has ten award-winning documentaries and films including one UK première and two Scottish premières being shown as part of its line up. For two of the premières, the directors will also be coming to present their films and to interact with the audience.
Paul White, the festival organiser, commented: “We’re very lucky in that we have 10 award-winning films as part of the festival, with four of them gaining special mention at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Our aim from the start has been to provide the opportunity for as many people to come and enjoy these beautiful films but also to avoid films which paint a doom and gloom picture of the environment, such as An Inconvenient Truth. Instead we have chosen films which are, from a cinematography point of view, as stunning and inspiring as mainstream films are, while carrying an important message about environmental concerns or issues.
“Most of the films are light hearted and all of them tell the unique stories of individuals and communities around the world who are taking positive action to do something about these global challenges.”
The festival will be screening the UK premiere of the film MusicWood – a journey into the heart of Alaska, as owners of the Big Five Guitar Makers in America team up to prevent the deforestation of one of the last great native forest reserves left on the planet – the Tongrass Forst. In the process they aim to ensure that their businesses can continue to thrive, through sourcing their wood sustainably and ethically as good quality hardwood stocks, needed to make guitars, are decreasing worldwide.
Director Andy Heathcote, will be on hand to present the film première of The Moo Man – the remarkable story of a maverick farmer and his unruly cows, filmed over four years on the marshes of the Pevensey Levels in Devon. In an attempt to save his family farm, Stephen Hook decides to turn his back on the cost cutting dairies and supermarkets, and instead stay small and keep his close relationship with the herd. However farmer Hook’s plans to save the farm do not always go down well with his 55 spirited cows. The result is a laugh-out-loud, emotional roller-coaster of a journey.
The Scottish première of The Pipe tells the story of the remote community of Rossport on the West Coast of Ireland. The picture perfect scenery and tranquil setting allow its residents to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and peaceful serenity. However their land, which has sustained generations of farmers and fishermen, has been handed on a plate to Shell, who have found that the unique nature of their coastline, is the perfect landfall for the Corrib Gas Pipeline. What follows is the story of their struggle with the police, the Irish Government and the European Court to uphold their rights as landowners and prevent Shell from building the pipeline through their land without their permission.
There are also two workshops which are part of the festival including a expert panel discussion on the future of renewable energy in Scotland – including presentations from Dr Roddy Yarr (environment and energy manager for the University) about the Kenly wind farm and Guardbridge biomass developments, and Dr David Rodley from the University of Dundee, who will be discussing whether Scotland can meet its 2020 target of generating 100 per cent of its electrical energy from renewable sources.
Full weekend tickets cost only £25 for students, with day tickets £9 and evening première screenings £4.
For more information & tickets, see: www.greenfilm.org.uk
Photo credit: James Balog/Chasing Ice