BAFTA honour for cinema pioneer

Iain MacColl on the BAFTA red carpet.

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A well kent face on Arran has been honoured for his dedication in bringing a travelling cinema to the islands of Scotland.

Iain MacColl, the senior operator of the Screen Machine, is one of the first ever winners of the BAFTA’S ‘for the love of film’ competition.

The competition aims to recognise individuals from across the country that have done something amazing simply ‘for the love of film’. Amongst a host of prizes, including an overnight stay and dinner at The Savoy hotel, winners will join BAFTA and EE at the country’s biggest celebration of film, the EE British Academy Film Awards on Sunday night.

People across the UK were encouraged to submit applications on behalf of friends or family who they felt should be recognised for their contribution to film. Hundreds of applications and testimonials were received and considered by a panel of industry experts including Edith Bowman and BBC Radio 1’s Ali Plumb, and chaired by Andrew Orr from the BAFTA film committee.

Andrew Orr of the BAFTA film committee said: ‘Iain stood out due to his long service and the wide-reaching impact of Screen Machine which has ensured that the cinematic experience is available to communities across the Highlands and islands.’

Iain, who has made numerous tips to Arran, has been with the service since it was launched in 1998, and his total dedication has ensured that the Screen Machine continues to visit many of Scotland’s smallest and hardest to reach communities, including some 20 islands, bringing the latest blockbusters and arthouse films, projected to the highest technical standards. The majority of Screen Machine’s funding is from Creative Scotland.

The Screen Machine operators do everything on the ground: drive the machine to its location, set it up, sell the tickets, welcome the audience, project the films, then close up and move on to the next location. Increasingly the operators are also delivering special events: for Into Film school clubs, for those living with dementia, and working with archive and artists’ films. In 2018, its 20th anniversary year, for the first time the Screen Machine’s annual audience numbers passed the 30,000 mark.

Iain said: ‘It is amazing to see the work of the Screen Machine being recognised by BAFTA, and all the hard work that not just myself, but everyone at Screen Machine has put in over the last 21 years.’

The televised BAFTA awards took place last Sunday at the Royal Albert Hall in London hosted by Joanna Lumley. However, Iain’s award was not part of the TV show.

The other winners of the award was Dan Ellis who is the founder and managing director of Jam Jar Cinema in Whitley Bay, Newcastle, which was born out of Dan’s desire to bring cinema back to a British seaside resort.

Award winners Iain MacColl and Dan Ellis at the BAFTAs with their partners.

Iain on the BAFTA red carpet. NO_B07bafta01