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Category: Dear Frankie News
Article Date: May 16, 2004 | Publication: Scotland on Sunday | Author: Fiona Leith

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ALTHOUGH it is not necessarily a strong year for British film at Cannes, there will be a Scottish presence in the south of France this week, determinedly keeping the country's film industry foremost in the minds of distributors and directors.

One Scottish filmmaker who is having his feature screened is Richard Jobson. The ex-Skids singer and film critic, who has finally secured a July release date for his debut 16 Years of Alcohol, is showing off his second venture, The Purifiers. Sold as a British martial arts film set in the near future, the purifiers in question are a collection of smart, sassy, highly-skilled exponents of tae kwon do who represent a new form of policing crime in Britain's inner cities.

Tired of government initiatives, young activists have created their own community infrastructure. Built around different karate clubs, each gang has garnered a reputation for protecting its neighbourhood from social and moral collapse. Starring Kevin McKidd and Dominic Monaghan the film will be screened on Tuesday.

A Scottish film with a more historic perspective is Red Rose, the first film made about Robert Burns since 1947. It completed shooting in Scotland last summer under director Robbie Moffat and screens at Cannes this weekend. The Scottish lead actor Michael Rodgers, who has starred in Hollywood films such as The Patriot and Auto Focus, is the first film actor to play the bard for 50 years. He also has a young fan base who know him better as Junior, in Thomas and the Magic Railroad.

To prove that Scotland can do sexy and sentimental films just as well as any Hollywood rom-com or French arthouse affair, writer Andrea Gibb will be courting the world's media with her second feature film Dear Frankie, directed by Shona Auerbach. Following her critical success, which included kind words of support from Sir Sean Connery, for her film Afterlife, which told the story of a young woman with Down's Syndrome, Gibb again aims for the heartstrings with this work.

Starring Young Adam star Emily Mortimer, Scottish actor Gerald Butler, who will be seen later this year as the lead in the film version of Phantom of the Opera, and Inspector Lynley star Sharon Small, Dear Frankie will also be screened on Tuesday.

Finally, there is a small but perfectly formed success story in the short films category courtesy of Edinburgh's Napier University student Fabien Greenberg.

The 27-year-old, originally from Toulouse, will have his Propheties du Passe shown in competition for the Cinefondation category. The much sought-after prize is a cheque of 15,000 euros and more promisingly the guarantee of the winner's first full-length flick receiving a screening at a Cannes of the future.

Copyright 2004 The Scotsman Publications Ltd.


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