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Reel Time by Jonathan Melville

 

ALTHOUGH he has a Scottish BAFTA and award nominations galore, chances are you've not heard of Leith-based filmmaker Martin Smith.

 

Following the appearance at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival of Smith's short film JIMMY, that may be about to change.

 

"I started out as a photographer with musicians such as Nick Cave and after doing a filmmaking degree at Napier I ended up making music videos in London," says Smith. "But I really wanted to do drama."

 

A move back to Scotland led to Smith making two short dramas, which led to the Toronto International Film Festival commissioning him to make a self-portrait film.

 

"During the making of the film at Leith Community Education Centre, I was introduced to Jimmy McIntosh MBE, who campaigned for and won the vote for the institutionalised disabled and who has cerebral palsy himself. The film is entirely from his point of view: that was the way into his life for me."

 

Though it would be easy to portray Jimmy as someone struggling against the odds, Smith instead shows him to be a strong character willing to fight for his beliefs. Jimmy's speech at a council meeting is also one of the most poignant moments I've seen on screen for a long time.

 

"It's going out to festivals now and hopefully it will get some TV screenings as well. I'm interested to see how it plays internationally, and it's important to Jimmy, who wants to screen it to various campaigning organisations."

 

While more people may get to experience Martin Smith's work on the small screen, with two feature films in development it might not be too long before a cinema near you is playing his work on a much bigger one.

 

 

This article by Jonathan Melville is online at scotsman.com

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