Lost Treasure launches Glasgow Short Film Festival

Lost Treasure launches Glasgow Short Film Festival

credit: Jenny Leask

Short film explores Scottish depopulation with new soundtrack by Drew Wright (Wounded Knee) and Hamish Brown

Last year’s Glasgow Short Film Festival featured an intriguing historical curio, a 30th anniversary celebration of a community film project called Clyde Film. Through meeting those involved with this project made by young filmmakers from Cranhill, the festival’s director Matt Lloyd learned of the Dawn Cine Group, a similar collective from the 1950s, and of their films Let Glasgow Flourish (about city housing conditions) and Lost Treasure (concerning rural depopulation).

The former film was shown at last year’s festival; the latter, still unfinished, will launch this year’s GSFF as part of a new audio-visual work created by filmmaker Minttu Mäntynen and musicians Drew Wright (aka Wounded Knee) and Hamish Brown (also of Swimmer One). ‘As far as we can ascertain, none of the Dawn Cine Group are still with us,’ says Lloyd. ‘They were the filmmaking arm of the Clydeside Film Society and set out to cover pressing social and political issues of the time, as well as marches and demonstrations, and a visit by British trade unionists to the USSR.’

Lloyd can’t say for certain whether they were all signed up members of the Communist Party, but based on the work they produced he doesn’t believe that they were mere propagandists. ‘They had a more nuanced, less dogmatic political outlook,’ he insists. ‘Lost Treasure attempted to tell the story of the Highlands, particularly the draining of its human resources, and to suggest why that mattered for Scotland as a whole. It was a hugely ambitious and well-researched project that set out to do what The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black Black Oil did some years later.’

What still exists of the piece is partly dramatic and partly documentary, forming an interesting backdrop to a situation which remains live. ‘So many of the ideas explored are alarmingly relevant today,’ says Brown. ‘There’s the current work of Andy Wightman gaining an audience and the ongoing spectacle of the Land Reform Bill progressing through Parliament. It's a really interesting time to revisit this project.’

Lost Treasure plays GFT 1 at Glasgow Short Film Festival, Wed 16 Mar at 9pm.

Glasgow Short Film Festival

The largest competitive short film festival in Scotland celebrates diverse forms of cinematic expression that transgress the boundaries of conventional narrative film. The online 2021 festival will feature competitions and many special programmes, alongside some new specially curated programmes, filmmaker interviews and…