Film season offers Scots the chance To See Oursels on screen

Audiences across Scotland are invited to watch the director’s cut of Scottish history, culture and identity this summer as touring film season ‘To See Oursels’ hits the road.

Combining a range of classic Scottish films and rarely screened TV dramas, expert introductions and panel discussions, the season shines a spotlight on Scottish identity – from the heroic to the gritty – and on how Scotland has understood itself on screen over the last four decades.

To See Oursels will visit six venues across Scotland, spanning Inverness to Dumfries. Screenings kick off at Glasgow Film Theatre on Sunday 3 August with Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero, which will be introduced by the season’s curator, Dr Jonny Murray of Edinburgh College of Art.

Fans of the much beloved film will also be treated to Q&A sessions with the director. Taking place after the screenings in Dundee, Inverness and Edinburgh, Bill Forsyth will join the audience to explore the film’s comic subversion of a wide range of Scottish stereotypes.

The season will also introduce From Scotland With Love, a new release consisting entirely of archive footage of Scottish people at work and play. It will be contextualised by a Q&A session with award winning director Virginia Heath and the film’s composer King Creosote. Mercury Award nominee and founder of the successful Fence record label, folk musician Creosote will also treat cinema goers to an acoustic version of two tunes from the film’s soundtrack.

Showing alongside well-known favourites, are two forgotten gems of Scottish television – Your Cheatin’ Heart and The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil.

Despite featuring a stellar cast including Tilda Swinton and Ken Stott, this is a rare opportunity to see Your Cheatin’ Heart, which has only been shown once since its first outing on BBC Television in 1990. Its writer, Paisley born John Byrne, will take part in an audience Q&A following the Dundee screening.

“I’m delighted Your Cheatin’ Heart will screen as part of To See Oursels,” says Byrne. “I was very pleased with it at the time and it got 3.5 million viewers, but despite being paid for a repeat, it was never shown again. It has only been screened once, at a festival, since it premiered on the BBC so it is fantastic to see it touring the country after more than two decades.”

Having started life as a touring stage play, the TV adaptation of The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its first broadcast. A dazzling reminder that politics can be entertaining and entertainment political, the film surveys two centuries of Scottish history from the Battle of Culloden to the coming of North Sea Oil. A series of high profile panellists, who are still to be announced, will examine the play’s portrayal of the exploitation of Scottish people following screenings.

The season is curated by Dr Jonny Murray, Senior Lecturer in Film and Visual Culture at Edinburgh College of Art and author of forthcoming book The New Scottish Cinema.

Dr Murray says: “It’s been great to be able to team up with Film Hub Scotland to offer audiences all round Scotland the chance to discover or revisit important Scottish film and television drama works. These films hold a mirror up to Scottish society and we wanted to give Scots the opportunity to think about the contribution that the small and silver screens have made to our ideas about local culture and identity.”

To See Oursels is supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network. It strives to extend film choice, increase and broaden film audiences, and enhance opportunities for audiences to engage with and learn about film.

Carolyn Mills, Film Hub Scotland co-ordinator, says: “Even in our digital age, many older films and TV programmes are unavailable to download or watch on DVD. With ‘To See Oursels’ we are giving Scottish audiences across the country a valuable opportunity to watch and appreciate some of our most impressive and thought-provoking films.”

Other titles in the season are Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, voted the best Scottish film of all time in The List magazine’s public poll in 2014, and double bill The White Bird Passes and Another Time, Another Place, Michael Radford’s adaptations of Scottish writer Jessie Kesson’s classic semi-autobiographical novels.

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