XpoNorth director, Amanda Millen, put a call out for submissions in January this year for short films to screen at the festival which takes place in the Highland capital in June.
As well as receiving submissions from the Highlands & Islands, the rest of Scotland, Ireland and other parts of the UK, Amanda was delighted when just under 3,000 films flooded in from 107 countries, including Vietnam, Nigeria, Iran and Nepal. Most of the films were submitted via FilmFreeway, a global digital platform for filmmakers to get their work seen by film festivals.
Now, with the festival just six weeks away, 104 films have been successful in their bid to be screened before an influential audience of screen and broadcast professionals. The list includes local home-grown talent from the Highlands & Islands.
XpoNorth (formerly goNORTH) takes place this year on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th June at venues across the Highland capital.
According to Millen, a former BBC producer who also heads up ScreenHI, the screen and broadcast wing of XpoNorth, the sheer volume of submissions has made the selection process a challenge,
She said: “It’s been a fascinating process and a real insight into how grassroots filmmaking is thriving in every corner of the globe. The digital age is opening doors for people to make films on a budget wherever they are based. There were some very strong submissions from filmmakers based in the Highlands and Islands and other parts of Scotland.
"XpoNorth is all about giving a platform to emerging talent and offering free practical, hands-on support all year round.”
This year, the screen and broadcast element of XpoNorth is being boosted by the presence of The Screen Machine, the 80-seat, air conditioned mobile cinema which is more usually seen in far-flung corners of the Highlands and Islands.
The Screen Machine will be based in the centre of Inverness for the duration of XpoNorth and will provide a unique viewing point for festival delegates to watch featured films. Of the selected films, 78 will be shown in the Screen Machine, while 26 will screen as part of the conference programme.
Special evening programmes include Screen Academy Scotland celebrating ten years in business with a special programme of shorts and a bespoke programme curated by Richard Warden of The Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.
A highlight of this will be a screening of controversial Thurso filmmaker, David Graham Scott’s, autobiographical film, Detox or Die. Described as an ‘in-depth portrait of a small-time drug addict seeking redemption’, it tracks his own quick-fix style attempt to shake off a 20-year-long addiction to opiates.
To top off this fantastic feast of film, Millen is introducing The Golden Hour to XpoNorth audiences. Named after cinematographers’ favourite time of the day, the hour just after sunrise or before sunset when the light is softer, XpoNorth will present a selection of Millen’s top picks from partner film festivals.
Details of the full festival XpoNorth conference programme will follow on Tuesday 12th May.
The annual Inverness-based XpoNorth festival is devoted to boosting creative careers in the Highlands and Islands and beyond and takes place this year in Inverness on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th June.
The only event of its kind in Scotland devoted to crafts, publishing, screen and broadcast as well as music, XpoNorth is also attended by leading creative industry insiders, who take part in workshops, panels and masterclass sessions over the course of both days.
XpoNorth, is funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The four genres under the collective banner of XpoNorth are:
XpoNorth Crafts/Fashions/Textiles and XpoNorth Writing and Publishing
Supported by Emergents, the network which co-ordinates HIE industry networks for craft, fashion and textiles as well as writing and publishing. It is managed by Pamela Conacher and Peter Urpeth, who both bring extensive experience in their respective fields of craft, fashion and textiles, and writing and publishing, to XpoNorth.
XpoNorth Screen and Broadcasting
ScreenHI is headed up by Amanda Millen, who is also director of XpoNorth. ScreenHI is the Screen and Broadcast Industry Network for the Highlands and Islands and has been operating for four years. It offers experiences, job opportunities and industry networking to screen and broadcast businesses in the Highlands & Islands.
XpoNorth Music is managed by former goNORTH music producer Alex Smith along with the team at Ironworks Venue. It has been established as the new Music Industry Network for the Highlands and Islands and will be delivered by Ironworks Group. The 2014 festival showcase schedule in Inverness included much-lauded emerging artists such as Neon Waltz, Baby Strange, Ella The Bird, Hector Bizerk and Broken Records.
- The film showcase list in full:
A Friend of Ours
A Lost Youth
A Time Of Freedom
A Wee Night In
All You Do Is Shag
Anatomy of a Sunbeam
As He Lay Falling
Baby At Any Price
Better Than Tomorrow
Botev is an idiot
Curse of the Society
Naimur Rahman Jeem
Dark Side of the Earth
Deer and Firework
Directed by Tweedie
Dropping Off Michael
Everything For The Movies
Fly With Me
Joelle Tyea Enver
Go Daan Go!
Happy New Year
Joseph Israel Laban
I've just had a dream
James and the Urn
Keys, Money, Phone
Aitor Marín Correcher
Norman is Lost
Nose Off The Fairy Hill
Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution
On the Edge
One in a Million
OUT - A Coming Out Documentary
Roses Are Red
Someoneone Else's Skin
Take Your Time
Tall Tales Part 2
Ten Paisa and Grandmother
The Bird That Never Flew
The Girl and her Tail
Yong Jie Yu
The Laboratory with Leaves: Creepy Crawlies
The Longest Day
The New News
The Penguin Construction
The Trouble with Lucie
The Wheel of Time
Under the Same Roof
We Got Your Back
Where are you hiding