Town chosen to help reel in the years

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St Andrews has been chosen as one of eight Scottish towns which will help to bring Scotland’s unique and varied film heritage to life.

The New Picture House has been chosen as one of the venues to host ‘Made In My Toun’, a travelling film archive which gives audiences a chance to see their own towns as they were way back when!

It forms part of the larger ‘Britain on Film’ project run with the help of Lottery funding by the BFI National Archive.

Curator Shona Thomson said the tour is part of a digitalisation programme which is working with all the archives across the UK to make old films more accessible online.

She said: “It’s a chance for audiences across Scotland to watch rarely seen archive films.

“One which we include is the National Library of Scotland’s moving image archive, which is an amazing collection.

“So really it’s about getting more people access to these films.

“I spend a lot of time as a producer looking at these films. You can just lose hours, it’s amazing. The archive goes from 1895 right up to last year.”

Shona said the films in the ‘Made In My Toun’ series were chosen especially as they have an urban theme, and St. Andrews fitted the bill.

“We’re concentrating on towns, those outwith Glasgow and Edinburgh, with a huge part to play in Scotland’s history and St Andrews is a perfect example.

“It has the university and golf obviously, but also there’s a really strong community there.”

The main film shown at the event will be ‘A Place To Begin – St Andrews By The Northern Sea’ which takes its title from the poem Almae Matre by Andrew Lang.

The film was commissioned in 1974 by the council of the former Royal Burgh of St Andrews.

Shona said: “It was to give a representation of St Andrews as it was at the time and it’s fascinating to watch.

“It’s quite a romanticised view of St Andrews as it was. What’s great too is that the audience will be watching the town whilst sitting in it.

“Most of them will recognise a lot of it and can compare it to how it looks now.

“A lot of traditions in a town or city stay the same, but obviously there are other changes around them.”

Joining Shona will be the film’s director Mark Littlewood, who is still making films today, and Penny Uprichard from the community council.

“It will be interesting to hear Mark’s take on it,” Shona said.

“He’ll be able to let us know the brief he was given and how he tried to get that across.”

Vital to the event’s success is the interaction with the audience which Shona said she welcomes.

“What we will do is have a wee blether afterwards with the people who come to watch which I think is important.

“I like to see how the film connects with the audience and to have a conversation around that.

“With the internet, communities have more of a voice and can have more of a personal representation which is great.

“Silent and black and white films are becoming more popular and so far we’ve had some great chats at the events.

“The New Picture House is a beautiful building and I’m absolutely delighted that we’re putting this on there.”

The event will take place on Thursday, December 10.

Tickets are available at http://nph.nphcinema.co.uk/en.aspx