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Helmsdale

Date: Friday 5 - Sunday 7 April 2019

Venue: Timespan, Helmsdale

We had a good turnout for a weekend of free films, workshops and talks exploring the ways we fiercely protect and make a living from the sea’s precious resources. Image from ARAYA courtesy of Milestone Films. © 1959 Margot Benacerraf and 2009 Milestone Film & Video

Our brilliant hosts at Timespan offered us three days to take over their cultural institution in Helmsdale, a village in the very north east of the Scottish Highlands. Using all their spaces for workshops, screenings, breaking bread and conversation, we had a packed Shore Film Festival programme that was anchored around the Shore films of Margaret Salmon and Ed Webb-Ingall.

Having a weekend to screen gave us an opportunity to co-curate the Festival with Margaret and Ed, as well as with Nicole Yip of our project partner LUX Scotland and Sadie Young of Timespan. We drew on themes around the local geological history and making a living from the sea, as well as opportunites for community film- and image-making…

Workshop: Animating films without a camera
A collaborative filmmaking workshop for all ages; draw, sit, sketch, watch, together.

Café Conversation with Local Voices
What can we do to protect the sea? A wide-ranging conversation over some seaweed soup led by Mairi McFadyen of Shore partner Local Voices with Sir Michael Wigan, Manager of the Helmsdale & District Salmon Fishery Board. In particular, there was discussion around the challenges of protecting an estuary environment like Helmsdale’s where fresh water meets sea water.

Photography Workshop: Documenting archaeological remains and coastal territories
A stills photography field trip to the Brora salt pans led by Shore filmmaker Margaret Salmon, coastal erosion archaeologists from SCAPE and Timespan’s Heritage Officer (and archaeologist by trade) Jacquie Aitken. Armed with our own cameras and smartphones, it was a breezy but fascinating walk along the coast to explore and photograph the significant stone walls (thought to be part of the salt pans that once sustained the local economy) which are being meticulously documented before being completely lost to erosion.

Film Screenings:

ARAYA (1959, Directed by Margot Benacerraf)
Beautiful cinematic portrait of a day in the life of three families living in one of the harshest places on earth – the salt marshes of the Araya peninsula in Venezuela. Find out more about the film and its pioneering director: arayafilm.com.

EGLANTINE (2016, Directed by Margaret Salmon)
Part of Timespan’s regular Little Big Club screenings for all the family, an intimate and vivid account of a young girl’s real and fantastical adventure in a remote forest one evening. Shot on 35mm in various locations around Scotland, find out more here: lux.org.uk/work/eglantine.

A LIFE APART: ANXIETIES OF A TRAWLING COMMUNITY (1973, Directed by Michael Grigsby)
Stunning documentary on the work and life, onshore and off, of the trawlermen of Fleetwood, Lancashire – a workforce and community facing danger and exploitation. Watch the full film on the BFIplayer here.

EGLANTINE (2016, Directed by Margaret Salmon) Image: Margaret Salmon / LUX