Short Film Promotion Scheme Awardee
Scott Graham is a Scottish writer/director. His short film Native Son premiered at Cannes Film Festival Critics Week in 2010. Scott's debut feature film is Shell starring Joseph Mawle and Chloe Pirrie and screens at the London Film Festival in the First Feature Competition following its world premiere at the San Sebastian Film Festival. Further outings for the film are already confirmed at the Busan International Film Festival this autumn.
What’s your connection to the British Council?
The British Council have been supportive of my work being screened at international film festivals - my short film Native Son was part of the Short Film Promotion Scheme and I received a number of travel grants to support my attendance at film festivals around the world.
- Your current project/s?
I recently completed my first feature - Shell - about a father and daughter living in a remote Highland petrol station and I’m currently writing my second feature about a young woman returning to a community of Christians on a small Scottish island.
- What/who originally turned you onto film?
Growing up it was watching films on TV. The nearest cinema was an hour’s drive and we’d only go on special occasions to see blockbusters. But BBC2 had programmes like Moviedrome where the film was introduced and that helped me to see film-making as a craft. I saw a lot of 70’s and 80’s cinema this way.
- What has been your career high so far?
It was probably being squashed into the back of a haulage truck in order to shoot the final scene in Shell. We filmed the actress answering questions about where she might be going and we shot her point of view of the road ahead. We’d had our first snowfall the night before and we watched as the road opened out to these incredible misty white mountains. I felt very privileged to have been given that. The next morning the snow was gone.
- What was your first job in the film industry?
Writer-director on my first short Born To Run.
- If I knew then what I know now…
I wish I’d been more faithful to my scripts once we were in production. There’s always going to be pressure on you to make compromises but some things should never be let go of. That said, it’s important to accept your mistakes. There’s often no other way of learning what’s important to you.
- What is your favourite British film? Why?
I love Bill Douglas’ My Childhood. I don’t think I breathed for most of it. Its humanity and beauty and sadness are incredibly powerful. Duane Hopkins’ Love Me Or Leave Me Alone and Paul Wright’s Believe are also extraordinary in their power and purity.
- If you could have directed/been involved with any film ever made, which one would it be and why?
To have worked on Taxi Driver would have been fascinating. Either in the sound or art department. I wonder if they realised what they were making. To have been in New York in the 70’s would have been really something too.
- What’s the first film you remember seeing? What was so memorable about it?
The first film I remember seeing was Star Wars but I fell asleep after the roller ascended off into space so I suppose I couldn’t have found it that memorable. I was very young but I remember the experience of being in the dark and watching a screen. I remember that.
- What’s your favourite line or scene from a film? Why?
It’s from Days of Heaven and in it Linda Manz’ character is walking with another girl through the wheat field. They’re talking about rolling cigarettes and where they’ve come from and it’s so natural it seems improvised. The camera panning with them along the blades of wheat also seems to just be happening of its own accord, not at the hand of anyone for anyone. It’s a beautiful coming-together of human interaction with nature and with the camera.
- Favourite screen kiss? Why?
It’s the kiss in Show Me Love when the song on the car radio (I Want To Know What Love Is) swells and the guy whose car they’ve just hitched a lift in asks if he’s on Candid Camera when he finds them making out.
- Who’s your favourite screen hero and/or villain? Why?
It’s Jack Nicholson’s R.P. MacMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The villain is Nurse Ratchet from the same film. I want him to choke her every single time.
- Who would play you in the film about your life? Why?
I have no idea. I can’t imagine a film of my life.