Film Access Scotland Newsletter: April 2023

With summer just around the corner, we are excited to share news about the projects our members have been working hard on delivering over the past month, upcoming opportunities, and an overview of our programme of events in May.  

 Upcoming Programme 

Film Access Workshop: Outreach & Engagement  

Members’ Highlights 

Upcoming Events & Opportunities 

Film Access Scotland Coffee Morning: Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway 

Led by Colin Tennant (Coulson & Tennant) 

Date: Tuesday 9 May 2023 

Time: 10am – 11am  


Join our second online Film Access Coffee Morning, at 11am on 9 May 2023! 

We are delighted to welcome Film Access practitioner Colin Tennant (Coulson & Tennant) from the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway, who will share insight into their organisation’s current Film Access activities and the challenges working with remote and isolated communities. 

Following some short introductions, our guest will answer questions from participants. This is a space for everyone to chat about potential collaborative activities, build partnerships, and discover more about Film Access networks in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway. It will also be an opportunity to share stories and challenges from recent Film Access activities. 

Please share this event with your local community. We want to hear from other freelancers, youth, arts and health organisations, art centres, or libraries that are interested in or want to be involved in Film Access activities in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway. This event is open to everyone working and/or interested in the Film Access sector – we also hope to welcome back some previous participants from the other Scottish regions! 

About Colin: 

Colin Tennant is one half of the artist partnership Coulson & Tennant. Coulson & Tennant develop projects through a lens-based practice, combining genres of documentary and fine art. Using visual storytelling, they create artistic, documentary and environmental work for a wide range of clients and organisations as well as their own personal projects. To do this they collaborate with many different communities and individuals and draw inspiration from historical, creative and ecological references. 


Film Access Training: Neurodiversity 

Led by biggerhouse film (Stephen Clarke and Tom Stubbs) 

Date: Tuesday 16 May 2023 

Time: 2pm – 4pm  


This practical session facilitated by biggerhouse will focus on neurodiversity awareness in conversation with three filmmakers biggerhouse has previously worked with. The filmmakers will present examples of their work, discuss what inspired them to make the films and how the process of working with biggerhouse was for them. This is an interactive session with a showcase of work and a Q&A with the participants. This training hopes to inform Film Access programme design and practice, while working with neurodivergent participants.  

About biggerhouse film: 

biggerhouse film have been working together for 20 years making films with people. They describe their practice as making creative work with people who might describe themselves as being or feeling ‘removed from the centre’. This can include working with neurodivergent filmmakers, people with learning disabilities, people living with dementia and sometimes young people belonging to the LGBTQI+ community. 

Find out more about the event here. 

Our third workshop took place on 19 April 2023 at Media Education in Edinburgh with participants from across Scotland. 

Case studies on outreach and engagement were presented by Katie Paterson (shmu), Felix Gilfedder (Mobile Film School and Solar Bear) and Alasdair Satchel (Screen Argyll and Freelancer). 

In this Workshop participants discussed outreach and engagement strategies. Through presentations and discussion groups, the session helped Film Access practitioners identify the challenges in outreach and engagement and offer examples of activities and strategies that have proven to work across the Film Access Sector.  

With a wonderful mix of practitioners from all over Scotland, discussions focussing on each case study in small groups and pairs allowed participants to connect with peers from the Highlands & Islands, the Central Belt, the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.  The day ended on a high note with tea and biscuits.  


The philanthropic foundation aims to accelerate positive change through strategic grant-making to institutions and organisations in Scotland and The Bahamas. 

The new screen-education focused grantees (in alphabetical order) are:  

  • Glasgow Media Arts Centre (GMAC) 
  • Screen Education Edinburgh (SEE) 
  • Station House Media Unit, Aberdeen (SHMU) 
  • The Portal Arts, Glasgow 

Following the establishment of The Sean Connery Foundation in 2022 by the estate of Sir Sean Connery, the Foundation is pleased to announce four new grantees across Scotland. These are Glasgow Media Arts Centre (GMAC), Screen Education Edinburgh (SEE), Station House Media Unit (SHMU), Aberdeen and The Portal Arts, Glasgow. Each of these grantees, along with the Scottish Youth Film Foundation (SYFF), announced in October 2022, support young people in developing the skills, knowledge, confidence and connections needed for work in the film & TV industry at a time when more creators are choosing to produce content in Scotland. They are also all Film Access Scotland members! The Foundation’s commitment to these grantees provides unrestricted funding over 3 years, and totals approximately £1M.  

You can read more about the news here. 


GMAC Film had brilliant take over day at the Glasgow Short Film Festival towards the end of last month. The Little Pictures industry screening brought together Year 2 filmmakers who screened their wonderful films at the festival, followed by Café Flicker Presents: Women in Film. The atmosphere amongst the audience was electric and GMAC staff, funders and industry contacts were so proud of everyone’s work. Make sure you sign up to come long next time!   



It was such a pleasure to welcome Kaukab Stewart, MSP for Glasgow Kelvin to GMAC, who congratulated Filmmakers Programme Manager, Wilma Smith on her appointment as Co-Vice President of Screen Talent Europe, which was also recognised in an official parliamentary motion. “It was really terrific visit to GMAC Film […] an incubator of talent, developing skills and growing confidence for people aspiring to make it in film and television production” – Kaukab Stewart. 




Media Education has been working with Elect Her to capture interviews with ‘women from all backgrounds and beliefs, representing all parties and none’ to create video resources for their online courses as well as to be used for future archives. The films represent the journeys of women into politics and the political sphere and, in part, aim to help other women feel that involvement in politics is something they too can consider. 




Media Education has been working with the prison radio team in Barlinnie called Barbed Wireless.  We have been providing training to enable the group to create films detailing activities in the hub. The aim of the project is to provide the skills so that the group can build an inhouse filmmaking team. 





The dedicated shmu Community TV YouTube channel continues to be popular, with three new films being released last month and subscriber numbers steadily increasing.  Volunteers produced two short films documenting recent protests in the city; the first a demo outside city chambers against cuts which were poised to have a devastating impact on the third sector in Aberdeen, and the second, more specifically, a demo against the closure of Woodside Library. 



Their specialist Community TV training was proven to work well, with our volunteers not only producing technically solid work but having a deeper understanding and more personal connection to their subjects, all of which was reflected in the final films.  The third piece released last month was the pilot episode of a new cookery show recorded in a local community centre, with local presenters demonstrating how to cook simple, nutritious meals from food donated to the community pantry.  This was recorded live and was so popular we already have locals coming forward wanting to host their own episodes.





We have been offering taster sessions in film for 12–18-year-olds of the Easter holidays.  The one-day short film challenge allows a group to come to shmu learn about film and some hands-on production techniques through the process of creating their own micro short over the course of a day.  Throughout the taster session, they are guided by filmmakers through idea generation and the development process and the fundamentals of visual storytelling.   They learned the basics of filmmaking, using camera and sound equipment and working in a team to reach a creative goal.  Their final film was screened in the shmu screening room. 






Looking to host workshops, hot desk, screen films or find a base for your creative business? GMAC Film have a range of rooms now available for hire at excellent value! To enquire, complete the contact form on their website or give them a call. 


The Cost of Warmth, a documentary made by Community TV volunteers, has wrapped and will enjoy its premiere soon.  Supported by our Community TV Development Worker, five filmmakers living in areas of Aberdeen most affected by the cost-of-living crisis travelled round the city meeting people who have struggled to keep themselves fed and their homes heated over winter.  The film acts as a warning that if we don’t make urgent structural changes to the way our society in run, people will continue to be pushed closer to destitution and the desperate stories recorded in The Cost of Warmth will be repeated once again in a few months’ time.


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