Blog Posts · Documentary films · Scottish documentary

Getting out of my box again

Well I just started writing again on here after a 5 year hiatus and I’m really sorry I took so long. I found a pile of old mail I hadn’t replied to and I’m now doing my best to get back to everyone. Makes me feel really bad when I get messages from folk who are needing advice and I wasn’t around to give it. Let’s just say that the last few years have been quite trying for me but on the plus side I made two feature documentaries in that time, won a major film festival prize and my latest film, The End of the Game, has had some excellent critical reviews in the media.

Since you’re here I’ll let you have a look at the trailer for The End of the Game

Sticking to my indomitable style, it has some controversial and gritty moments but always tinged with humour and a keen sense of irony. I think the trailer gives a good sense of what the film is like and you can check the IMDb page for more info.

So I really felt it was time to move away from the addiction based films. They were obviously getting me pigeonholed as a junkie filmmaker or whatever label those squares come up with. Yes, I use the word ‘square’ in the old hippy fashion as it’s just as relevant if not more so today. In this world where cops sport trendy tattoos and mohicans work in banks it’s hard to tell what dwells within at a first glance. It didn’t matter that Detox or Die was the catalyst for many struggling addicts to change their lives for the better, it actually led to a level of blackballing within the TV industry that’s quite shocking.

In 2005 I was blatantly ripped off by the same BBC team I made Detox or Die with (I have smoking gun evidence should they wish to contest the point). So much for the principles of social inclusion that get bandied about by those same people. It was a devastating experience and occurred around the same time as a production company I’d worked with reneged on a promise to give me regular employment. The buzz words they love to use can just buzz off as far as I’m concerned. They’re just dust in the breeze that soon disappears into the dark skies of broken promises and utter disappointment.

Documentary making is often at it’s best when tackling the dark side of the human experience. The narrative drive may take one into bleak landscapes but when a glint of sunshine appears near the end it’s always an uplifting feeling. It’s an aspect of reality that we capture and carefully mould into a cohesive and compelling narrative. Exactly how the father of documentary, John Grierson, described it. I’ve certain formulaic standards that hark back to a hotchpotch of influences from mondo documentaries to classic American movies from the golden era of the early 1970’s. Take another director with exactly the same subject and I guarantee the film has it’s own unique flavour.

The End of the Game is a film I’m particularly proud of. A culmination of years of waiting about to gather the funds and the right moment to move the action forward. Thanks to financial support from Hopscotch Films via Creative Scotland I was able to travel to Africa and film one of the most extraordinary eccentrics I’ve ever come across. That chap was pure documentary gold dust and despite our differences I came to quite admire the old fellow.

Guy Wallace big game hunter 1

Here’s my synopsis of the film:

The End of the Game

A bizarre journey to Africa with a vegan filmmaker and a big game hunter.

Committed vegan, David Graham Scott, follows old colonial relic Guy Wallace as he prepares to go on his last big game hunt and fulfil his ambition to bag the fearsome cape buffalo. It’s Guy’s last chance to relive his glory days in the African bush and finally lay down his guns. The oddball relationship of Scott and Wallace is the central drive of the film as the director explores the ethics of big game hunting and even questions his own animal rights stance when lured in by the thrill of the hunt. The End of the Game has at its core a great character in a great location going on an epic journey to an equally marvellous setting.

Guy Wallace lives in a ramshackle caravan on a barren moor in the northern highlands of Scotland. He sits surrounded by memories of the past: a past that includes going patrols with the King’s African Rifles, periods as a mercenary in the turbulent post-colonial phase and as a tracker for big game hunters in Kenya and Tanzania. Filmmaker David Graham Scott lives near the old eccentric in the Caithness moors. He’s built a solid relationship with the man he often refers to as ‘Sir’ Guy and that is fully explored within both the badlands of Caithness and the South African bush. He’s cut from the same mould as Molly Dineen‘s central character in Home from the Hill: a man out of time and out of place. The End of the Game is a POV director led narrative questioning the ethics of game hunting and built around the oddball coupling of a vegan and hunter.

The End of the Game premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival in Feb 2017. Screening also at XpoNorth Festival in Inverness, June 2017.

David Graham Scott

11th April 2017

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