They'd have kilt to lure them

Highlands and Islands Enterprise — a group of nine Scottish indie companies, which includes everything from a special effects specialist to Scotland’s first crowd casting agency — met with film and TV industry leaders in New York last week.

The firm wants to lure more U.S. film and TV production to Scotland. Led by the government’s development agency for northern Scotland and Hightlands’ head of exports and tourism, Murdina MacDonald, the mission’s aim was to show that Scotland has more to offer filmmakers than scenery.

More than 150 productions from around the globe are filmed in Scotland each year. The most well-known would be “Braveheart”; the upcoming James Bond feature, “The World Is Not Enough,” also shot there.

“The people of the Highlands are renowned for their hospitality, adaptability, resourcefulness and professional skills,” MacDonald said. “The highlands and islands of Scotland can offer everything from top quality service to modern production studios, from technicians and cameramen to set builders, film casting agencies to special effects experts, from digital technology to the latest in telecommunications.”

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The Heartland Film Festival has announced winning filmmakers who will be honored on Oct. 20-28 in Indianapolis. Winners will receive Crystal Heart Awards and share $100,000 in cash prizes.

Winning films were selected from approximately 200 international entries for best meeting the purpose of the fest: “To recognize and honor filmmakers whose work explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life.”

A grand prize of $50,000 will be awarded to the outstanding dramatic feature film, to be determined and presented by General Cinemas, as part of the $100,000 prize money allocation. All Crystal Heart Awards and cash prizes will be presented at a black-tie gala on Oct. 23 at the Indiana Convention Center.

Each film will also receive public screenings in Indianapolis at the new Heartland Film Festival Theater in the Indiana Historical Society and at the General Cinemas-Castleton Arts theater. Since the festival’s inception in 1992, Crystal Heart Awards and $700,000 in prize money have been distributed to filmmakers.

This year’s Crystal Heart Award winners include:

  • “The Basket,” dramatic feature. North by Northwest Entertainment; producer, director, Rich Cowan; screenwriters, Don Caron, Cowan, Frank Swoboda, Tessa Swoboda.

  • “Forgotten Fires,” documentary. Ingonish Films; producer, screenwriter, director, Michael Chandler.

  • “Wayward Son,” dramatic feature. Avenue Pictures; producer, Cary Brokaw; executive producers, Michael Hammer, Steve Tisch; screenwriter, director, Randal Harris.

  • “The Cracker Man,” dramatic feature. Alerion Films; producers, screenwriters, John DiJulio, Bruce Kuerten; director, Rudy Gaines.

  • “The Best Man,” dramatic feature. Lovestruck Pictures; producers, Mark Klitsie, John Newcombe; screenwriters, John Hines and John Newcombe, who also directed.

Information on the festival may be obtained at the Festival’s Web site at http:/www.heartlandfilmfest.org.

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Cinetechs may want to continue Southward to Charlottesville’s 12th annual Virginia Film Festival, Oct. 21-24. This year’s theme is Techno- Visions, an exploration of media technology from the dawn of film through virtual reality and beyond.

Virginia U. alumnus Stan Winston and special guest Sigourney Weaver will headline the event with clips from DreamWorks’ upcoming “Galaxy Quest,” starring Weaver and featuring effects by Winston, one of Hollywood’s legendary special effects and creature creators.

TechnoVisions will present more than 60 films and over 100 videos, in addition to CD-ROMS, specialty simulation rides, art installations, discussion panels, parties, and demonstrations of new high-tech and low-tech art forms at locations in and around Charlottesville.

“While the festival will be as intellectually and artistically stimulating as ever, this year’s event will be filled with sensations — a technological carnival for all ages,” said festival director Richard Herskowitz.

Last year’s fest explored the idea of “cool” in film and was a sold-out success with more than 10,600 viewers, 73 speakers and 66 films. Actor Rip Torn, director Arthur Penn and critic Roger Ebert participated. For festival info, check http://www.vafilm.com or call (800) 882-3378.

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