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Joan Micklin Silver - An Obituary

Joan Micklin Silver – Filmmaker Born May 24, 1935; died December 31, 2020     Joan Micklin Silver, who has died aged 85, was a filmmaker who broke through Hollywood resistance to women directors to eventually hit a commercial peak with her 1988 rom-com, Crossing Delancey. Prior to the film’s mainstream success, Silver was best known for a series of acclaimed independent features. These included her remarkable debut, Hester Street (1975), and Between the Lines (1977).    While her male peers were lauded during the same era, Silver struggled to get her work made. One studio executive told her that “Feature films are difficult to make, and they’re expensive to market, and women directors are one more problem we don’t need.” In the end, Silver directed seven features, as well as another nine TV movies on top of her early short films.    Many of Silver’s best works are about the clash between cultures, and the tensions that arise from attempts to assimilate while retaining one’s own identit
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Claudia Zeiske and Natalia Palombo - Deveron Projects - Room to Roam

As Claudia Zeiske passes the baton to Natalia Palombo at Deveron Projects, a look at the past, present and possible futures of the Huntly-based experiment where art meets life in a place where ‘the town is the venue’.     From little acorns do mighty oaks grow. So it is with Deveron Projects, the Aberdeenshire based arts initiative, which over the last quarter of a century has operated in the small town of Huntly as a holistic body that puts a sense of place at its core. Co-founded by dynamic German émigré Claudia Zeiske in 1995 as Deveron Arts, over the following twenty-five years, the freethinking organisation has hosted more than 100 artists’ residencies that have focussed on the relationship between the local and the global. Major figures taking part have included Christine Borland, Peter Liversidge, Dalziel + Scullion and Jacqueline Donachie.   Each temporary resident has also left some kind of totemic legacy behind to create what has become The Town Collection. Rather than have t

Michael Apted - An Obituary

Michael Apted – Film and television director Born February 10, 1941; died January 7, 2021     Michael Apted, who has died aged 79, was the driving force behind one of the most remarkable TV programmes ever made. Apted directed all but one of the Up series of documentaries, which has followed the lives of fourteen people over the last half century from when they were seven-years-old.    Working as a researcher on Paul Almond’s original film, Seven Up! (1964), Apted helped choose the participants from across the social spectrum. Taking over the reins as director of 7 Plus Seven (1970) and all subsequent films, Apted drove a social experiment with an empathy that enabled each of the programme’s subjects to talk freely.    With the programme’s participants now reaching pensionable age, Apted is responsible for an ever-expanding piece of living history that has evolved into a vital portrait of life in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.   Even without Up, Apted’s prolific c

Martin Lambie-Nairn - An Obituary

Martin Lambie-Nairn – Graphic designer and branding consultant Born August 5, 1945; died December 25, 2020      Martin Lambie-Nairn, who has died aged 75, was a designer whose work will be known to millions who have watched British terrestrial TV over the last forty years or so, even if they don’t know the name of its creator. This came through a series of animated logos that gave both the BBC and Channel 4 their corporate identities. More recently, Lambie-Nairn was behind the oxygen bubbles ident for mobile phone network, O2. Lambie-Nairn was also the brains behind the original Spitting Image (1984-1996), which became one of the most iconic TV programmes of its era.     The puppet-based satirical sketch show‘s grotesque rubber caricatures created by Peter Fluck and Roger Law matched the brash, no-holds-barred scurrilousness of its material. Lasting a phenomenal eighteen series’, the programme was described as being ‘based on an original lunch with Martin Lambie-Nairn’.    Spitting Ima

Peter Lamont - An Obituary

Peter Lamont – Film production designer   Born November 12, 1929; died December 18, 2020      Peter Lamont, who has died aged 91, was the man who gave the James Bond film franchise its visual heart. He worked on eighteen Bond films, first as set decorator, then art director, and, from For Your Eyes Only (1981) onwards, production designer.   Taking over from Ken Adam, who he first met after being hired as an uncredited draughtsman on the third Bond, Goldfinger (1964), this put Lamont in charge of each film’s overall visual aesthetic. He continued in this role right up to the twenty-first film, Casino Royale (2006). Lamont worked with every 007 actor from Sean Connery through to Daniel Craig, and became a key member of the series’ ‘family’. With forty-two years almost uninterrupted service to Bond, he also worked on it the longest.    Inbetween Goldfinger and Casino Royale, Lamont embarked on a globetrotting set of Bond adventures of his own. For the former, he designed what turned out

Jim Haynes, Citizen of the World - Thanks for Coming

It was Jim Haynes’s voice I recognised first. Warm, mellifluous and pulsed by an understated old school American Deep South burr, Jim’s avuncular tones had charmed their way throughout assorted Edinburgh encounters I’d been lucky enough to be around for the last few years. Now here he was, this ubiquitous Zelig-like legend who had not only survived the pleasurable excesses of the ‘60s, but lived to tell the many tales he’d absorbed into his DNA along the way, while all the likes of me could do was hang on his every name-dropping word. But what was he doing on my TV?   Was I on some psychedelically enhanced trip, or was that really the ultimate counter-cultural elder statesman, socialite in excelsis and incorrigible old rogue advertising After Eight mints? With Jim speaking straight to camera amidst a busy kitchen, it was a scene that looked like an art director’s reconstruction of one of the legendary Sunday night dinners Jim had been hosting in his Paris atelier every week for the las

A Song for Europe – Lost in Translation on a Grand Tour

Edinburgh - Eurovision ’72   On March 25th 1972, the Eurovision Song Contest was held at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. The then sixteen-year-old international competition was hosted by Dunfermline born Moira Shearer, the dancing queen from Powell and Pressburger’s ballet based 1948 blockbuster, The Red Shoes.    The Eurovision Song Contest was founded in 1956 by the alliance of public service broadcasters that made up the European Broadcasting Union, and was based on the Sanremo Music festival, which had been running in Italy since 1951.   The first Eurovision saw fourteen countries showing off their wares in Lugano, Switzerland. There was no entry from the UK, who wouldn’t join in until the following year. The Edinburgh event was the fourth time the contest had been held in the UK since it was first hosted at London’s Royal Festival Hall in 1960. The 1972 event was also the first in the UK to be programmed outside London, and, to date, the only Eurovision held in Scotland.   In Edinbur