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Death to Tartan Features

“Death to Tartan Features”

- Why Scottish Independent Film-Makers will win and Tartan Features will have to die.

Actually, you – Scottish Independent Film-Makers - have already won!

“Won what?”

You say.

“A new voice.”

Say we.

“If a genuine cause exists but is not capable of attracting sufficient support, it must be amended until it does. If a good cause exists but has lost its appeal for one reason or another, it must be revived. If it is absolutely impossible to produce a cause with enough popular appeal, the enterprise will have to be abandoned because it will be found useless to try and promote subversion or insurgency without one.” (Sir Frank Kitson, Low Intensity Operations)

The above quote is in reference to the disaster Che Geuvara brought upon his followers in Bolivia, largely in part because he insisted on basing his campaign on a cause – revolution throughout South America – which did not command popular support in Bolivia. The above quotation may seem a little heavy and of course, in our world of Scottish independent filmmaking there is no real war and no real subversion, but recently we’ve noticed that important changes are happening in the Scottish film industry – these are changes made by you.

The independent film industry is gaining a voice and the established film industry is starting to listen.

Tartan Features – now known as ‘Year Zero Filmmaking’ have been around for three years and recently we’ve noticed similar groups of Scottish filmmakers advocating similar ideas. It’s important to stress that we have no interest in ‘who did/ does what first’, we believe in the importance of the collective ideas that are shared. Similar ideas are a powerful force, and in reference to the above quotation, there is now a strongly identifiable shared cause amongst independent filmmakers in Scotland – to have, to be heard, and to change the way our country makes films.

When discussing the established film industry in Scotland we don’t believe in ‘us and them’. It’s frustrating to be passed over for funding but becoming resentful of this achieves very little. This resentfulness enforces a divide by creating a negative opinion of said ‘spurned filmmakers – publicly throwing their toys out of the pram’, and to advance this opinion is counter productive to all of us.

However, the established industry is equally to blame in causing divisions. The way they’ve ignored a rich potential of emerging and independent talent is at worst, tantamount to cultural vandalism and at best it’s left a hole in our cultural reputation. While the barrier between ‘us and them’ is slowly lifting, the ideological differences linger and that’s the part that we want to change.

In fighting is only used against us. Being resentful towards funders or more financially successful filmmakers not only hurts you, it hurts all of us. The most important goal is to create better films and to create more work for all who wish for it.

In addition to our micro film festival there are at least two other film related events at similar times. While ideological differences may exist, we do in principle support them as they help to further the reach of our collective voice. In addition, we believe it’s important that differences exist between independent filmmakers, between groups and individuals. Healthy ideas stem from diversity and from healthy competition.

Already we can hear a powerful chant and, it’s made up from all the voices of all the independent film practitioners who have different approaches, but incredibly similar goals. This is a new voice that hasn’t been heard in our country before and it sounds like change.

A quick look at funding schemes from ‘the establishments’ show that jargon and terminology is in flux. Indirect references to independent group approaches are being mentioned, and individual filmmakers involved in indie films are being approached to work on bigger projects. This might sound a bit cloak and dagger but believe us, changes are happening.

Changes are happening because quality films are being made and they’re being made in a way that allows them to be absorbed in to the mainstream.

So. We should all be using this powerful voice to show what we can achieve. Don’t complain. Make good films and be noticed.

Let the men shout ‘Death To Tartan Features!’ When our cause is usurped by new voices who shout louder. But for now, our genuine cause is worth fighting for and because there are more and more and more of us, we’ve still got the voice for it - and we’ve got the intention to change the world.

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