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.

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