Special Events


West Side Cinema is delighted to host SHORT CUTS, Orkney’s first Short Film Forum.

We welcome partners Scottish Documentary Institute and the Glasgow Short Film Festival to a fascinating exploration of the short film form.


‘Getting On’ by Ewan Stewart. Best Scottish Short at GSFF 2014




4:00 pm – 5:30 pm The Short Film Form

with panellists Producer/Director Finlay Pretsell, Director/Filmmaker Ewan Stewart & Editor/Filmmaker Mark Jenkins

A panel discussion exploring the short film format. 

Some of the topics that will be discussed:

  • Definition of a short film
  • Narrative or explorative
  • Starting out – tips and tricks
  • Building your film crew
  • Shorts to features – the calling card
  • Where to watch short films on line
  • Short film festivals and competitions
  • Funding and training

Introduction and sample films from Scottish Documentary Institute’s Bridging the Gap short documentary scheme. 

West Side Cinema will introduce their Short Film Competition.

Pier Arts Centre, Victoria Street, Stromness

Free entrance but booking essential T: 01856 850 459 / mjedit@btinternet.com


5:30pm – 6:30pm Networking reception

Sponsored by Orkney Fair Trade Group


A chance for people interested in developing their filmmaking career to meet and chat with like minded people and our panellists.

West Side Cinema Stromness Town Hall, Church Road, Stromness


7:00 pm Best of Glasgow Short Film Festival 2014

intro and q & a with award winning director Ewan Stewart

West Side Cinema Stromness Town Hall, Church Road, Stromness

Doors open 6:30 pm £5/£3 under 16 RT: 90 mins


9:05 pm Public bus back to Kirkwall

The panel discussion is free but booking is essential. 

Please call Mark on T: 01856 850 459 or email: mjedit@btinternet.com



Producer/Director Finlay Pretsell – Scottish Documentary Institute

Finlay Pretsell is Distribution & Production Manager for Scottish Documentary Institute, but is also an award-winning filmmaker. His breakthrough came in 2007 co-directing the short film Standing Start, winner of various festival awards and screened in 40 countries. He followed up that success with several more short films, winning a BAFTA Scotland for Ma Bar, which was shown at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, and Cutting Loose, which won many awards and has had over 30 screenings to date. He is nearing the end of post production as Producer of his first feature film: Norfolk, and directing and producing his second, a year in the life of cyclist Dave Millar.

Director/Filmmaker Ewan Stewart

Ewan Stewart received a BA Honours in Film & American Studies at the University of East Anglia, and followed that with a year at Film School in San Francisco, where he studied directing, cinematography & screenwriting. He then returned to his hometown of Glasgow where he worked his way up the ranks in drama & documentaries. Ewan has recently completed a 2 year long Masters in Film Directing at the National Film School in London, which is placed as one of the top three non -American schools in the world. His short film Getting On won Best Scottish Short at Glasgow Short Film Festival 2014 & Best UK Short at London Short Film Festival 2014. It will be screened at West Side Cinema this evening and Ewan will introduce the film and take questions afterwards.

Editor/Filmmaker Mark Jenkins – SpliceFilm

Mark Jenkins has been a film editor for 18 years in fiction and documentary with over fifty film awards and nominations. He has worked on over 100 short films. He teaches the craft of film editing to all levels up to MA Certificate and wrote much of the post production section in Creative Scotland’s ‘Moving Image Education’ website. Moving to Orkney in 2007 stimulated his filmmaking practice where he has created over twenty short films. Mark is Film Representative for Orkney Arts Forum and Chair & Programmer of West Side Cinema.

7:00 pm Best of Glasgow Short Film Festival 2014

intro and q & a with director Ewan Stewart

West Side Cinema Stromness Town Hall, Church Road, Stromness

Doors open 6:30 pm £5/£3 under 16 RT: 90 mins

Our screening of Best of Glasgow Short Film Festival 2012 was a very popular one and this promises to be even better. Introduction by Ewan Stewart.




BFI’s Sci Fi: Days Of Fear And Wonder

‘Modern Times’

Well, well, well. The old adage that they don’t make ’em like they used to seems to be true. A fantastic turnout, many in fancy dress, for our screening of Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Modern Times’.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Well done to fancy dress winner Sheena Winter with her fantastic Charlie Chaplin impersonation.

Many thanks to Film Hub Scotland and Cinema For All for supporting the screening as part of BFI’s Sci Fi: Days Of Fear And Wonder season.

Our ping-pongometer broke two records: the first time we’ve had ping-pongs in just the 4 and 5 baskets, and the highest score we’ve ever recorded at a near perfect 4.94/5.

Way to go Charlie, I bet you’re smiling at that!



‘Cinema Paradiso’ & Orkney Fine Wine Festival

We had about 100 people in on Saturday for our special screening of ‘Cinema Paradiso‘ with Orkney Fine Wine Festival. Some fantastic wines were on offer from Giulia Lazzarini from Donnafugata Winery in Sicily, where ‘Cinema Paradiso’ was made. A big thank you to Giulia and to Duncan McLean, Kirkness & Gorie for a perfect accompaniment to one of the great classic films.

Seems like you all enjoyed the film a lot too. Our ping pong-ometer broke the records once again with a near perfect highest ever score of 4.9 out of 5. It will be difficult to beat that with future screenings, but we’ll try!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Screen Writing Workshop Feedback

Our ‘Venus Peter‘ silver anniversary screenings were a great success. The matinee brought in about 60 people while the evening show saw 110 with a good crowd up in the balcony too. Director Ian Sellar attended both screenings and gave a very insightful trip down memory lane, with many of the films extras and crew in attendance. The film returned our highest feedback score yet – 4.6 (out of 5).


Back Row: Alison Miller, Ruth Spence, Victoria Rhodes, Lucy Alsop, Liz Coward

Front Row: Will Leitch, Heather Meiklejohn, Ian Sellar, Halina Romaniszyn

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We’ve collected all the feedback from the workshop and it scored 5 out of 5 from all 8 participants.

We hope we can run more workshops like this, with participants asking for future workshops in script mentoring, script marketing, camera work and editing & post production. Watch this space!

Here’s some of feedback comments, a big thanks to Ian Sellar for a 5 star workshop.

‘An enjoyable workshop. Being allowed to create our own ideas and collaborate with others really helped make the process less of a mystery and gave a more practical approach. Would love more opportunities like this. Thank you very much for making this happen’.

‘Excellent workshop with a great group of people who wanted to be there. I felt we hit the ground running’.

‘Thank you very much for organising this brilliant opportunity. I had a brilliant time. I wish it didn’t have to end’.

‘I really enjoyed it, it was fun and informative, thanks very much for the opportunity to take part’.

‘It was lovely to meet other people who shared the same interests’.

‘I thoroughly enjoyed it and Ian’s quiet authority and respect for the work produced had everyone fully and enthusiastically engaged in the task in hand. The story lines and potential films created were great’.

‘Ian was ideal for running this sort of workshop – he was funny, lighthearted, informative and very encouraging. Many thanks for a very positive creative experience (to both of you)’.

And a more in depth review from participant Alison Miller:

“I didn’t know what to expect from a screen writing workshop. Looking back on it since it finished a couple of days ago, I can see that Ian Sellar led us to places we had no idea we would go. We worked in ever-changing pairs, came up with ideas together, discussed them, handed them on, worked on the ideas of other pairs, produced scenes from the bare bones of the treatment – and then wrote more stories. Ian Sellar’s quiet confidence and respect for what everyone produced encouraged creativity and experiment from all of us, along with a realisation that all work on film is collaborative. Everyone’s contribution was valued and taken seriously – the more fanciful the better – and by the end we had imagined at least eight films into production!”


Screen Writing Workshop with Ian Sellar 


West Side Cinema is running a very exciting screen writing workshop in conjunction with our 25th anniversary screening of ‘Venus Peter‘ on SAT 12 APRIL, and you are invited to apply for this fantastic opportunity. Run by Ian Sellar, head of fiction direction at the National Film School in London, the workshop will run over the day of SUN 13 APRIL and the evenings of  MON 14 and TUE 15 APRIL. It will be free of charge, though places are limited, so please let us know why you wish to attend by downloading and filling out the application form below:

Screen Writing Workshop Application Form

venus peter

Image by Gunnie Moberg

In the autumn of 1988 Orkney played host to an extraordinary film production; Venus Peter, a project that involved over 100 locals behind and in front of the camera. West Side Cinema in Stromness hopes that many of these people, and others in Orkney, will help them celebrate the 25th anniversary of its release. In addition to special screenings of the film, the cinema will be welcoming its director Ian Sellar back to Orkney. Ian will introduce the film and answer questions after the screening; he will also run a screen writing workshop – a rare opportunity for budding Orkney filmmakers.

Venus Peter depicts the moving, funny and sometimes fantastic story of one boy’s childhood in a rapidly changing community. The £1.1 million production made quite an impact over its 7 week schedule and went on to screen in ‘Un Certain Regard’ at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival. It premiered in the UK to two packed houses at the Phoenix Cinema in Kirkwall.

Mark Jenkins, Chair of West Side Cinema said “We’d love to hear from people who have memories of the production. We’re trying to track down what happened to the boat Venus Peter and the 60 ft. model whale. The cinema will open earlier than normal so people have time to meet the director. It’s the perfect place to come and share stories”. Director Ian Sellar said “It will be great rediscovering the people who helped make the film possible. We chose Orkney after a long search and I’m excited to be returning with the film again“. The pre-screening event will show stills from the film, including some by Gunnie Moberg, and there will be after screening questions and answers with the director.

The screen writing workshop will give people a chance to learn about the craft of preparing material for film from someone at the heart of film making. For the last 20 years Ian Sellar has been head tutor in fiction direction at the National Film School in London. Mark said “This is a new venture for West Side Cinema to facilitate a high calibre workshop. Ian’s position at the top film school in the UK speaks for itself. He has run workshops all around the world and advised on many internationally successful films. It’s a very exciting opportunity’. The workshop has been made possible with help from Orkney Islands Council Culture Fund and the George Mackay Brown Fellowship.

The workshop will run over a day and two evenings and will be free of charge. There are however limited places and application forms can be downloaded from the West Side Cinema website. Hard copies are available from Stromness Library and Orkney Library and Archive.

Venus Peter will screen twice, a matinee at 1pm and an evening performance at 7pm, on SAT 12 APRIL at West Side Cinema, Stromness Town Hall.

Anyone wishing to get in contact before the screening can use the contact page.


12 OCT – ‘Lore’ – Q + A with author Rachel Seiffert

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A really interesting and thought provoking Q + A after our screening of ‘LORE’ with author Rachel Seiffert. The film was based on Rachel’s novel ‘THE DARK ROOM’, shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award in 2001, winner of the LA Times Prize for First Fiction and a Betty Trask Award in 2002.

Thanks to Orkney Library and Archive, the George Mackay Brown FellowshipOrkney Library Reader in Residence Alison Miller and especially Rachel Seiffert for a great evening.



Playing in support of our feature doc ‘Sweetgrass’, The Driftwood Cowboys.


Record Store Day 20 APR

As part of our screening of ‘Let’s Get Lost‘ we celebrated Record Store Day and got the vinyl out with live dj’s. We also set up our very own ‘Sleeveface‘.

Have a look at our Sleeveface gallery.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.