by Margaret Chrystall
CROMARTY Film Festival organisers had already booked four guests for next month’s ninth event (Dec 4 to 6) when the lights went down on last year’s "best ever"– until filming commitments tweaked the guestlist.
But thanks to "favours, friends and fortune", the festival which each year invites six guests to pick and screen their favourite films during a weekend of screenings, masterclasses and talks across Cromarty, has again come up with an impressive cast list – and a bigger programme.
Choosing the first feature film of the festival – the 1959 classic Some Like It Hot starring Marilyn Monroe – is one of Scotland’s best-known actresses Barbara Rafferty – known for roles including Ella Cotter in Rab C Nesbitt and Granny Mainland in Katie Morag.
Closing the event on the Sunday night will be prize-winning documentary-maker Christopher Hird’s choice Pride!, the film about the miners’ strike and the gay and lesbian campaign to raise funds to support them.
Debuting at the festival will be award-winning director, writer and animator Will Anderson originally from Alcaig near Conon Bridge who won a BAFTA Scotland award on Sunday for animation with his creative collaborator Ainslie Henderson. He will show some of their short films and talk about animation.
Also choosing films this year will be Bob Last, founder of influential Edinburgh punk and post-punk record label Fast Product, manager of the Human League and most recently an executive producer of Terence Davies’ new movie Sunset Song.
Stornoway writer and film-maker Ian Stephen has chosen former Beta Band member now director John Maclean’s New Zealand-set cowboy film Slow West as his choice.
And there’s a return for Mad Max: Fury Road producer Iain Smith – who brings the movie to the festival, along with the film’s visual effects editor Andrew Jackson.
And Karen Krizanovich, a journalist and writer, who is honorary secretary of the London Film Critics Circle, will introduce a film about inspiring Chicago film critic Roger Ebert.
Lawrence Sutcliffe who regularly brings a selection of "couthy" films will present a Will Hay comedy set on Skye and a 1949 romantic drama, Floodtide, starring Gordon Jackson and his future wife, actress Rona Anderson.
Glasgow Short Film Festival director Matt Lloyd returns with both Scottish and international shorts and Allan Mackay brings his selection from the Scottish Screen Archive.
Twenty-one events will happen from Friday, December 4 to Sunday, December 6 – starting with the traditional open air programme of short films screened outdoors on the lighthouse and closing with the grand finale film after a curry at the Resolis Hall.
But chairperson of the film festival committee Don Coutts – who won the BAFTA Scotland best director award on Sunday – said: "Thanks to Regional Film Scotland – who gave us funding for three years – which means there will be a Cromarty Film Festival next year too.
"But there might only be one more festival.
"We’ve done it for 10 years, just a voluntary committee of four of us and that might be enough for one committee.
"If there were people out there keen to pick up the baton, they should come and talk to us."
Advance sales for the festival start on Saturday, November 21 at Ardyne House, Bank St, Cromarty (01381 600354) from 10am to 2pm, to Friends Of The Fest and society members only.
Tickets will go on sale from Monday, November 23 (until December 3) at Eden Court, Inverness, online, in person or by phone.
Or go online: www.eden-court.co.uk
For all the festival details: www.cromartyfilmfestival.org