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Wake Up Scotland, You're Dead - A Drama in Three Acts by Tartan Features

Act 1 - The End

Scene 1 - Interior

Once upon a time, everyone wanted to make movies.

In the beginning, there were studios and moguls, matinee idols and starlets.

Then there were auteurs and mavericks, the Free Cineastes and the Nouvelle Vaguers.

Then came the movie brats and the baby boomers, the indie-kids, the guerillas and the grindhousers.

And somewhere in the cracks between blockbusters and blandness, great movies were made, and sometimes terrible ones too.

There were the collectives and the self-starters, the DIYers and the undergrounders.

And lo, picking and mixing from all of these like there's no tomorrow, Tartan Features was born.

Scene 2 - Exterior

In their short, imperfectly formed lifespan, Tartan Features learnt on the hoof to pitch with the best and the worst of them.

But beyond the Tartan Shorts, the 81/2s and all that jazz, Tartan Features wanted to go beyond the pocket-sized to make something bigger.

Something epic.

Tartan Features saw the difference between putting out a three-minute single when singles still mattered in the hope of being a hit, and offloading an album before they too were rendered meaningless by being too long, too bloated, and way, way way too expensive.

Tartan Features played bit parts on enough singles with other people, some of which actually were hits, but now they wanted an album to call their own.

Not some overblown, stereophonic sort of thing all wrapped up in an over-elaborate gatefold sleeve and which went on forever, desperate to impress.

But something leaner, meaner and which probably came with free dayglo stickers as well.

For Tartan, in seizing the means of production, DIY and micro-budgeting became the name of the game.

Here's a camera. Here's a script. Now make a film.

But this wasn't about doing things on the cheap.

Hi-tech and low costs could meet downtown, in a place where the action is, was or might be, even if it's only for a moment, while all the while you know it has its eye on the main chance elsewhere.

Tartan Features is about the bigger picture in every way.

Made in their own Cinemascope image, Tartan Features is a place that combines the conceptual and the commercial without shame, infiltrating the mainstream with an arthouse sensibility hiding in plain sight.

It's a Boot Room breeding ground, not just for writers and directors, but for technicians, designers and off-camera artists of all persuasions to show what they're made of before going on to even greater celluloid glories. 

In truth, Tartan Features wants to change the world.

And, in a way, they already have.

Act 2 - The Middle / aka The Practical Bit

Tartan Features are not just whistling Dixie.

Absorbing a century of hand-me-down experience, myth-making and disaster movie stuff, Tartan Features have bucked the trend, confounded industry expectations and made movies to call their own.

Some of those adventures in the screen trade are serious, and some of them are fun.

Some of them are full of incident and colour, but not everything in them is black and white.

Tartan Features have no desire to live in a ghetto of their own making.

Cult status may be cool, but if no-one else is looking what's the point?

Tartan Features are as ambitious, as egocentric and as attention-seeking as the next auteur.

In a hissy fit of entryism in excelsis, they want everyone to watch what they're doing.

Water cooler moments are fine.

Here's s a few of them.

Sarah's Room – To here knows when. A nightmare. Don't go out after dark.

Take it Back and Start All Over – A love story. Streetwise. If music be the food. More common than you think.

Wigilia – 'Tis the season.  Death by indie-pop. Don't hide in the shadows.

Skeletons -  Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Don't put on the red light. Chop 'em up.

Where Do We Go From Here? -  Mental as anything. A rom-com. A caper. Richard Curtis doesn't have all the best tunes.

Big Gold Dream – Meet the men and women who started it all. A back-street riot somewhere between The Young Ones and Catch Us if You Can. A document.

Bend Don't Break -  The beautiful game. A Matter of Life and Death. Sunday League does Rollerball.  A document. Hup!

Night Kaleidoscope -  Dead meat. Reality bites. Life after dark.

Con Men – Dirty realism done cheap. Lifted. The first rule of Con Men is to never talk. Much.

Sidney & Friends -   Kenya's hidden Transgender and Intersex community.  A document.

Teenage Superstars – How the west was won. The Dead End Kids Strike Back. The same as Big Gold Dream, but different.  A document. A sequel.

Act 3 - The Beginning

We believe in Jonas Mekas, John Cassavettes, Kenneth Anger and Bill Forsyth.

Terence Davies, Jane Campion, Bill Douglas, Derek Jarman and Orson Welles are our heroes.

Jean Luc Godard, Lindsay Anderson and Fassbinder help us wake up and smell the napalm in the morning.

George Lucas too before he went and spoilt it all with some stupid space opera that almost messed up movie making forever.

Like them, we're doing it for ourselves, for the kids, for the hell of it and for greater glory, and you can all join in if you want to.

It's as easy and as impossible as falling off a cliff, climbing every mountain or taking a day-trip to Shangri-la.

Our world is a circle, without a beginning, and nobody knows where it really ends, least of all us.

We know where Rosebud is hidden, but we're not letting on.

We know it's not Jesus, it's just some actor pretending to be a fella'.

The international language of tragedy and mystery comes easy to us.

Left to our own devices we'd probably go global.

We are Spartacus, and we like oysters and prawns.

We've had two years that could shake and stir the world yet, so let's put on the show right here, right now, right or wrong.

Like the man said, the possibilities are endless.

This is Year Zero.

X marks the spot.

Welcome To Your World.

Year Zero Film-Making Manifesto, May 2016



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