THE operator of a mobile cinema which serves the Highlands and Islands has been named as one of the winners of BAFTA and EE’S inaugural ‘For the Love of Film’ competition.
Iain MacColl takes the Screen Machine, the UK’s only full-time, self-contained mobile cinema, to over 40 remote communities to allow them to see the latest blockbusters as well as arthouse films.
We're thrilled to bits that Iain MacColl has been recognised for his 21 years hard work and dedication. Thank you @BAFTA, and thanks to our funders @CreativeScots @CalMacFerries @HIEScotland @TNLUK – and all our customers. https://t.co/IKr1jmdif5
— The Screen Machine (@screen_machine) February 6, 2019
His service has now been recognised in the competition, which honours those across the country that have done something amazing simply ‘For the Love of Film’.
And as a special prize, he’ll be taking a trip to the BAFTAS later this month, with an overnight stay at The Savoy.
This photo was taken yesterday, of Screen Machine en route to Dornie, heading through Glencoe, with the mighty Buachaille Etive Mor behind.
Hundreds of applications and testimonials were received for the prize after people across the UK were encouraged to submit applications on behalf of friends or family who they felt should be recognised for their contribution to film.
A panel of industry experts including Edith Bowman and BBC Radio 1’s Ali Plumb, and chaired by Andrew Orr from the BAFTA film committee, picked out two winners.
Iain, who has been with the Screen Machine since it launched in 1998, said: “It is amazing to see the work of the Screen Machine being recognised by BAFTA, and all the hard work that not just myself, but everyone at Screen Machine has put in over the last 21 years.
“I very much look forward to attending the Film Awards ceremony later this week.”
The Screen Machine Operators do everything on the ground, driving the Machine to its location, setting up the trailer which expands to become a comfortable 80 seat auditorium, selling the tickets, welcoming the audience, projecting the films, then closing up and moving on to the next location.
Increasingly the Operators are also delivering special events for school clubs, people living with dementia, and working with archive and artists’ films.
In 2018, its 20th anniversary year, the Screen Machine’s annual audience numbers passed the 30,000 mark for the first time.
The touring circuit continues to expand, reaching for the first time in 2018 the island of Jura, and Bunessan in the South of Mull.
Andrew Orr of the BAFTA film committee said: “Iain stood out due to his long service and the wide-reaching impact of Screen Machine which has ensured that the cinematic experience is available to communities across the Highlands and Islands.”
The other winner was Dan Ellis, Founder and Managing Director of Jam Jar Cinema in Whitley Bay, Newcastle.
Jam Jar Cinema was born out of Dan’s desire to bring cinema back to a British seaside resort.
Named after the historic Tyneside tradition of being able to get into the pictures with a Jam Jar, it was established as a social enterprise to be affordable and to help bring about change to the town.
After the recession there was an abundance of derelict buildings and Dan saw an opportunity to make a difference to the local community. He moved home and worked two jobs to support him volunteering on the project.
The cinema opened with the help of other volunteers in September 2013. The target was to welcome 5,000 guests in the first year, which the venue succeeded in doing.
The venue now welcomes over 45,000 cinema goers and screens over 200 films per year, in a single 50 seat screen.
Dan champions the needs of the community throughout the programme but also enables people to ‘explore’ with the specialised and world cinema programme, typically only available in key cities.
He also insists on subsidising fundraising events and over the last 5 years this has helped raise over £80,000 for local good causes.
Dan said: “I can’t believe that I was nominated for such a meaningful initiative, and to actually have been selected as a winner is amazing. Thank you to BAFTA for recognising all the work that has gone into Jam Jar Cinema.”
The EE British Academy Film Awards take place on Sunday 10 February at the Royal Albert Hall. The ceremony will be hosted by Joanna Lumley and will be broadcast exclusively on BBC One and BBC One HD.