There’s something odd about the average person’s face when they’re around celebrity. They’re naturally curious, maybe even agog, but also want to maintain the illusion that hey, it’s cool, they can take it or leave it, no biggie. Last Saturday night the stairs of the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh log-jammed as people held up cameras and phones to catch a blurry shot of the various stars present for the premiere of Perfect Sense; nearly all of the neck-craners had that slightly bemused smile, as if they can’t quite believe they’re joining in with the hoopla – but damned if they’re going to move out of the way either. Only when the bell has rung the five minute warning does the queue, now out onto the street, finally, reluctantly, begin to move.

James Mullighan (Director of the EIFF) is there to introduce. I’m liking him (certainly as a person) more and more. Only a few words in, he stops, admonishing the thousands of people in front of him: “You could at least pretend to look at me!” Eyes turn sheepishly away from the side entrance where Ewan MacGreogor, lead in the film (and clearly the man everyone is here to see), waits. Accidentally, as I’m taking the seat of a mate who can’t make it at the last minute, I find myself sitting in the front row, mere feet from him once he’s standing on stage at the microphone. My own attempts to be cool fall by the way side and the phone comes out… I know certain female and male friends will never forgive me if I don’t take the chance.

It’s all a little disheartening, though: Gillian Berrie (Producer) and David Mackenzie (Director) are on stage first, and they’re suitably jovial, seem to be genuinely happy to be at EIFF for the event – Mackenzie stating his support for the festival overtly, perhaps a little too much so. Other crew members are introduced or mentioned (polite applause), and then the supporting cast (more polite applause) before MacGregor’s name is finally read out. Cue a roaring scream from the room, and several wolf whistles. These are no blushing women in their early 20s either; the entire row behind me seems to have been imported straight from Morningside’s tea rooms – and they’re not holding back. As much as they’re probably used to it, and even grateful for their star’s attractive qualities (every little helps sell a film), I’d find it hard to stand on stage as a fellow actor or crew member, and listen to the massive disparity in received reactions. All because of a cheeky smile and a six pack. Still, easy for me to moralise, I only like MacGregor’s talent, and not his bum – if it had been Keanu Reeves up there, I’d probably have melted into a small puddle within seconds. One woman’s talented Scotsman is another’s….

I’ve fallen into hypocrisy; tutting at others for obsessing over the main man, whilst my thoughts thus far have done the same. Onwards to the film.


It’s hard to describe without giving too much away. You could say it’s about the end of the world. You could say it’s a love story. Or even a treatise on stopping and smelling the roses once in a while. It’s odd, and a little slow, perfectly poised in a balance between all the above (and more), and about an hour in I give up, take my critical hat off and just enjoy loving it. Because I did. I loved it completely. From the performances, to the music, to the Glasgow setting, to the humour, to the occasional, unapologetic, unusual directing decision. Of course it’s not perfect – few things one loves ever are – but I haven’t fallen this hard for a film in a while. The chemistry between MacGregor and Eva Green (she of Bond girl fame) is effortless; and needless to say the camaraderie between Ewen Bremner (MacGregor’s co-star in Trainspotting), the lead and his real-life uncle, Denis Lawson, is a joy to watch. But mainly it’s just a damn good story, executed beautifully. It’s out in October – go and see it.

The next day was back to business, with more event hopping: the highlight of which was a late afternoon session entitled “Selling Films Socially – A Revolution in Film Distribution”. The grandiose title evidently worked, as there was a queue snaking down the stairs to gain entry, and precious few seats left when all shuffled in.

The main info to take away is this: there’s a rather cool site you should know about called Distrify, that works on a very simple, good idea. It’s a central location for a film online, with the built-in ability for the previewer (you) to buy it instantly, if you like what you see. No more watching the trailer, and then remembering to go see it at the cinema, missing it and then twiddling your thumbs waiting for the dvd. Browse films, watch trailers, fancy it, buy it. Within minutes. For the filmmakers, it saves them having to reel you in over and over again, gaps of days, weeks or months between your interest being sparked and the film being available for viewing – and they control how much they sell it for, and in what format.

Most popular platforms are catered for (with no extra software needing to be downloaded), and the player can be embedded in any website you like. It seems like a win/win for everyone (apart from cinema owners), and of definite interest for short film makers; it’s near nigh impossible to garner major distribution for a short film, let alone recoup any costs (let’s just leave the idea of actually making a profit in dream land for the moment), but Distrify keeps the control for both firmly in the hands of those who made it. It’s Vimeo + Google checkouts, only prettier. I’m going to be very interested to see how they do…

The weekend over, I’m knackered. Monday will be my day of rest, heading back into the fray on Tuesday. Videotheque, here I come – well, it’s going to be raining anyway, right?