Published: 06/10/2011 23:59 - Updated: 07/10/2011 09:30

Festival debut for Lochinver filmmaker

IT'S an exciting time for amateur filmmaker David Hutchison who lives in Edinburgh but hails from Lochinver.

His gripping first feature film, Graders, is about to be screened in Eden Court next month as part of the annual Inverness Film Festival.

David plans to be in the Highland Capital for the premiere and no doubt he will try to squeeze in a trip back to his home village at the same time.

The 47-year-old credits his Sutherland roots with providing inspiration for the 90-minute film which is being described as a chiller and features a Polish girl's search for her missing sister in the Scottish Highlands.

Several of David's many talented relatives also made musical contributions to his film, which was made on a minute £4000 budget.

David is the son of Willie and Joan Hutchison who used to run the Culag Hotel in Lochinver but who are now retired in the village.

The couple's two other children, offshore worker Duncan Hutchison and Christine Gordon, also live locally as do a number of other family members.

A former Golspie High School pupil, David has had a number of occupations, including helping his parents run the Culag and working in a prawn factory, now closed down, in Lochinver. More of that anon.

However, nowadays he primarily earns his living by maintaining websites for various clients and teaching computer skills.

But he has always been creative and made his first animation video - which showed a creature made from peat tools coming to life - in 1992. Over the years he has acquired skills and expertise through various courses, including screen writing and electronic imaging.

Graders is set in the fictional village of Innisaid and was filmed last winter in Lochinver, Kinlochbervie, Buckie and Edinburgh.

David says: "Shooting in Assynt last October was cancelled due to snow blizzards. We finally started shooting again in November and finished by February this year.

"Post-production took up until the end of May."

One of the settings is a fish factory - similar to that in which David once worked.

David was influenced in writing the screenplay by the recent murders in Scotland of two East European women - Lithuanian Jolanta Bledaite in Brechin, Angus, in 2008 and Angelika Kluk from Poland who was the victim of serial killer Peter Tobin in Glasgow in 2006.

David explains: "The film is based on a woman, Ania, searching for her sister, Celina, who has gone missing while working as a grader - hence the title of the film - at a remote fish factory in the Scottish Highlands.

"Lem, who recruited Celina, allows Ania to stay in his caravan while she works in the factory and waits for her sister to return from a supposed trip to Stornoway.

"Ania has an emergency operation performed by the factory's doctor. While recovering, she finds her sister's guitar under Lem's caravan.

"She knows Celina would never leave the precious instrument behind and so begins to investigate further."

The sisters, Ania and Celina, are played by real Polish actors Joanne Kaczynska and Agnieszka Bresler. Joanne has recently appeared in Peter Mullan's Neds and Agnieszka has her own Polish theatre company.

The cast also includes Janet de Vigne, from Edinburgh, who provided the voice of a woman contacting an Indian call centre from Kingussie in the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.

The actors gave their time voluntarily, with the result that the film cost just £4000 to make.

The soundtrack is an eclectic mix of songs in five languages by a diverse range of musicians.

Family members were also keen to get in on the act.

David's aunt, Marlene Mackenzie of Clashnessie, wrote the film's haunting theme tune, entitled Return to Me.

His mum, Joan, performed two fiddle tunes also used in the film, and his six-year-old niece, Hannah Gordon, the daughter of his sister, Christine, can be heard mimicking a guinea pig.

The film also features a song by Gaelic Mod gold medallist Eilidh Mackenzie who is part of David's extended family.

The premiere takes place at 8.45pm on Thursday, 10th November, at Eden Court.

For more information on Graders visit www.gradersthemovie.co.uk

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