NESSIE has a monstrous new rival on the shores of Loch Ness this weekend — one made of wool.
Sockzilla is the epic — at 18 minutes — follow up to comedy horror short Zombie Asockalypse, which so impressed film critic Mark Kermode that he screened it in his own festival of short films.
Director Paul Bruce’s rampaging knitwear rival to this year’s big-budget Godzilla movie is among the films being screened at the fifth Loch Ness Film Festival, which this year has attracted a bumper collection of short films from home and abroad.
For the first time film-makers can put their entries online as well as send DVDs to the festival organisers.
"We’re getting more European entries," festival trustee Andrew Doig said, revealing that this year some 70 plus films have been submitted.
However, unlike previous years, LNFF 2014 be showing only one feature this year, Setting Rainbow by Falkirk filmmaker Simon Jake Gillespie, who has screened some of his other films at Loch Ness.
Doig puts the lack of feature material down to the sheer amount of time required to even put five or six minutes of film time on screen.
There may be a shortage of feature films this year, but the films being screened at the Loch Ness Backpackers Lodge in Drumnadrochit include dramas, thrillers, animation, comedies and documentaries, some from the north of Scotland.
These include a new experimental film from Moray duo Roger and Reid, historical drama Peat Reek from Mike Dziennik about the illicit whisky trade in the 19th century Highlands and Top Oats, Fergus Thom’s documentary about the 20th annual World Porridge Making Championship in Thom’s home village of Carrbridge.
Michael Maclennan from Conon Bridge is expecting friends and family to attend a screening of his short comedy Let’s Do The Cat Dance while there is more comedy from the Highlands in Ro J. Goodwin’s five-minute film Din Dins.
However, Doig reckons his pick from this year’s selection is The Last Piper, written and directed by Iain Forbes and previously shown at the 2013 Inverness Film Festival at Eden Court.
"Iain lives in Norway now and he’s set his film 100 years from now when the bagpipes are extinct and this militia is sent to get the last guy who plays the bagpipes," Doig said.
"It’s a strange story, but it’s really good."
Doig’s own contribution is The Loch Ness Secret Committee a "daft wee comedy" about what really goes on at Loch Ness.
"The committee preserves the secrets of Loch Ness at all costs," he explained.
"They try and keep the myth of the Loch Ness monster alive so any sceptics that try to destroy it, they kind of bump off."
On Sunday at Abriachan Hall, the attention will move from watching films to making them as local youngsters are invited to take part in a guerrilla film-making session to create their own short films.
Then, following a barbecue for participants, there will be a chance to see the films made at last year’s session and others from Eden Court’s film-making classes.
"We want to expand that next year and maybe look at Findhorn Foundation and other youth clubs who do film-making," Doig said
The festival does not just appeal to local film-makers, of course.
Doig pointed out that movie makers from further afield, including half a dozen from France last year, often use the festival as an excuse to visit Loch Ness and the wider Highlands.
He also noticed more tourists at last year’s screenings and hopes that will be repeated in 2014, although the longest journey to this weekend’s screening may be made by one of the film-makers, Kaylene Tyler.
"She sent a comedy from Australia, Best Before, and she emailed to say she’s coming over with a few friends and doing a bit of travelling around Scotland," Doig said.
"We’re showing the film on Saturday night so she’s going to fit it into her schedule before she heads over to Skye.
• All Loch Ness Film Festival screenings and events are free entry.
Friday evening screenings take place at the Loch Ness Backpackers Lodge, Coiltie Farmhouse, Drumnadrochit from 7pm.
Saturday’s screenings are at the Craigmonie Theatre, Drumnadrochit, from 3pm to 5pm and 7pm to 9pm.
On Sunday there will be guerrilla film-making sessions at Abriachan Hall from noon to 3pm, followed by barbecue before screening of short films made by local youngsters from 4pm to 5pm.
For details of the films being screened at this year’s Loch Ness Film Festival see the programme at http://lochnessfilmfestival.co.uk