Scrimshaw: Passion to communicate drives rookie’s agenda

10 Producers to Watch 2011: Diarmid Scrimshaw

After the Sundance premiere of “Tyrannosaur,” debut director Paddy Considine was asked what he would have done differently with twice the $1.2 million budget. Nothing, he answered, except to pay people more.

That was when rookie producer Diarmid Scrimshaw knew that he’d done his job well.

“The challenge was how to give Paddy everything he needed to allow him to flourish within very limited means,” Scrimshaw says.

“Diarmid is a bold spotter and nurturer of talent and has the entrepreneurial gene that makes for a strong producer,” says Tanya Seghatchian, producer and former head of the BFI Film Fund. “He has supported Paddy Considine from shorts through to their second feature together, and their partnership is a testament to the importance of maintaining talent relationships as a new producer.”

His break came when he worked as script supervisor on Shane Meadows’ “This Is England” for production shingle Warp. Topper Mark Herbert was so impressed that he invited Scrimshaw to join the Warp team as a producer.

One day, Herbert dropped script on his desk for a short film about a man who kicks his dog to death. Scrimshaw was blown away and asked to make it. It was only then that Herbert disclosed the writer was Considine.

“Dog Altogether,” starring Peter Mullan and Olivia Colman, was co-produced by Warp and Scrimshaw’s Inflammable Films. It went on to scoop multiple awards. The script was then expanded by Considine to become “Tyrannosaur.”

Scrimshaw is now developing Considine’s next script, a ghost story called “The Learning.” He has also optioned John Hotten’s book “The Years of the Locust” about the corrupt underbelly of American boxing for Considine to direct.

Separately, Scrimshaw is working with VFX giant Framestore to develop a kids feature, and producing a short by Lynne Ramsay for the U.K.’s Cultural Olympics. “Producing is my vocation, and I’m just warming up,” he says. “I have a passion to communicate with a large amount of people.

“One of my main goals as a producer is to support Paddy, and he’s very keen to meet a much wider audience too, which is why we’re developing a ghost story and a book set in America,” says Scrimshaw. “The producers I respect have always surprised by their choices, moving between very high quality arthouse material and work that reaches a massive audience. There a new wave of producers coming out of the U.K. who don’t accept the idea that this is a cottage industry, and want to do risk-taking, global work.”

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