Margaret Tait 100 Film Commissions Announced

Part of Margaret Tait 100

A black and white image shows a 16mm Bolex camera set up on a tripod facing towards the side of a van with a piece of paper tacked to the side. The paper reads ‘A Portrait of Ga’, the title card for Margaret Tait’s film of the same name. In the background a hilly rural landscape and bright sky.
Courtesy of Orkney Library and Archive
Image courtesy of Orkney Library and Archive.

LUX Scotland is pleased to announce the recipients of ten new short film commissions that celebrate the life, legacy, attitude or approach of Scotland’s filmmaking pioneer Margaret Tait.

The first five artists and filmmakers selected are: filmmaker and curator Ute Aurand; multi-award-winning director and critic Mark Cousins; Turner Prize nominee, artist, filmmaker and musician Luke Fowler; author Ali Smith CBE FRSL with filmmaker Sarah Wood; and curator and filmmaker Peter Todd.

Of the ten commissions, five more were drawn from a competitive national open call process. The further five artists and filmmakers are: Alexander Storey Gordon; Matt Hulse; Wendy Kirkup with composer Richy Carey; Morag McKinnon; and Catherine Street.

The five successful open call proposals were selected by a panel comprising Dr Sarah Neely (Director, Margaret Tait 100), Nicole Yip (Director, LUX Scotland), Ben Cook (Director, LUX), Andrew Parkinson (Curator, Pier Arts Centre) and John Archer (Producer, Hopscotch Films).

Ute Aurand studied at the film and television academy in Berlin. She is a teacher and curator, and a devoted 16mm filmmaker since 1980. In 1997, she co-founded the group FilmSamstag. She has been a central figure of Berlin’s experimental film scene since the 1980s and is one the most significant filmmakers active in the diary and portrait tradition today.

Mark Cousins is a film director, producer and writer best known for his 15-hour 2011 documentary The Story of Film: An Odyssey. He has worked on numerous cine-essays including A Story of Children and Film, and I Am Belfast, in which the city is personified by a 10,000 year old woman. Cousins’ films have won the Prix Italia, a Peabody, The Stanley Kubrick Award and other prizes, and have been shown in Cannes, Berlin, Telluride, MoMA in New York, and in cinemas around the world.

Luke Fowler is a Glasgow-based filmmaker, artist and musician. His work explores the limits and conventions of biographical and documentary film-making. This has resulted in comparisons with British Free Cinema of the 1950s, which represented a new attitude to film-making that embraced the reality of everyday, contemporary British society. Fowler received the inaugural Jarman Award in 2008 and was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2012.

Alexander Storey Gordon makes drawings, films, texts and events that look at the way film and literature mediate perceptions and conceptions of ourselves, our environment and others. His recent exhibitions and screenings include Matches, David Dale Gallery & LUX Scotland (2019); Interludes, Plymouth Art Centre and Mount Florida Screenings, Plymouth Art Weekender (2018); A Wondering Soul, with Richy Carey, Radiophrenia, CCA Glasgow (2017); A Apopheny!, Intermedia Gallery, Glasgow (2017); and Suppose there is A, ICA Singapore (2017).

Matt Hulse is a filmmaker, photographer, performer and writer. In 2017 he won Germany’s Felix Schöller Photo Award for his series Sniper (2017), shot in North Korea. Glasgow Short Film Festival have said: Hulse creates cinema out of whatever is to hand – he transforms the everyday and banal into something striking, witty and beautiful.” Edimburgh International Film Festival described his feature Dummy Jim (2013) as a totally unique mixture of documentary, fiction and playful visual poetry.”

Wendy Kirkup is a visual artist based in Glasgow and Associate Lecturer at Moray School of Art, University of the Highlands and Islands. Her works have been shown both nationally and internationally including recent screenings at Beton 7, Athens; Artist Television Access, San Francisco; and Kate Macgarry, London. For her commission Kirkup is collaborating with composer Richy Carey. His work tends to look at intervals between sound, moving-image and text, with a particular focus on collaborative language making and its material consequences. He is Glasgow’s UNESCO city of music artist-in-residence and winner of a Scottish BAFTA New Talent Award.

Ali Smith is the author of many works of fiction, including, most recently, Spring (2019), Winter (2017), Autumn (2016), Public Library and Other Stories (2015), and How to Be Both (2014), which won the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction, the Goldsmiths Prize, and the Costa Novel of the Year Award. Her work has four times been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Smith is collaborating on her film with artist Sarah Wood. She works mainly with the documentary image to interrogate the relationship between the narrating of history and individual memory. Wood co-founded Club des Femmes with Selina Robertson, a positive female space for the re-examination of ideas through art.

Morag McKinnon is a writer and director whose films include Home (1998) which won a BAFTA for best short film. Further credits include the co-direction of BAFTA award-winning television series Buried (2003), the feature film Donkeys (2010) which won a Scottish BAFTA, and the documentary I Am Breathing (2012), co-directed with Emma Davie, which won BAFTA Scotland’s Best Director Award. McKinnon has recently been focusing on being a mother and continues to make and develop work.

Catherine Street is a visual artist working across video, performance, sound, writing, drawing, painting and collage. She aims to celebrate the world through the use of movement, colour and sensuality. She has recently shown work in NOW, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2018). Other recent projects include the solo exhibition Muscle Theory, Reid Gallery, Glasgow (2015) and the group show Chamber of Maiden Thought, Plant, Glasgow (2018).

Peter Todd is an artist working in film, curated and collaborative projects. His films include NOW (2015); Room Window Sea Sky (2014); Untitled (2012); We Saw (2009); An Office Worker Thinks of Their Love, and Home (2003); For You (2000); Out (1990) all on 16mm film. Todd has produced various projects that present and explore the work of Margaret Tait, including a major retrospective of Tait’s work at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (2004). In 2018 he curated the season Rhythm & Poetry; The Films of Margaret Tait at BFI Southbank London.

Margaret Tait 100 is a year-long centenary celebration of the work of Scotland’s pioneering filmmaker and poet, Margaret Tait. The programme officially launched in November 2018 on the occasion of Tait’s birthday and includes screenings, exhibitions, workshops, readings, new publishing, and commissioning opportunities for artists working with film.

The Margaret Tait 100 programme is run in partnership with LUX Scotland, University of Stirling, Pier Arts Centre and a number of event partners. Supported by Creative Scotland.

Part of Margaret Tait 100

Margaret Tait 100 was a year-long centenary celebration of the work of Scotland’s pioneering filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait that ran from November 2018 to November 2019.

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