Last year in Prospect I told you about The Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams, a wee community film festival in Nairn in Scotland. It was a figment and a lark, a shot in the dark. We hadn’t a scooby if it would work.
Many of you came, disarmed. We tilted at movie windmills together. We had as much fun as Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor. As you probably know, our wee flock was talked about a bit. Posh newspapers in distant lands said that what we were doing was so different. But to us it wasn’t different. The Ballerina Ballroom was just how we see movies going.
Today, we’d like to give you the details of our latest covenant of movie kinship. As you might have heard, we—our Highland film clan—will pull the wayfaring Screen Machine from Scotland’s sublime Atlantic coast to the dolphin waters of the Moray Firth on the east. We’ve told our plans to some of the great movie people in the world, and they went “Wow!” which was very nice. But when some people heard that we would be pulling a cinema, they asked why. We were baffled. Why go to Colonsay? Why play Kitty Lester’s Love Letters full blast? Why watch Norman McLaren films at 3 in the morning? Why rave about Apichatpong Weeresethakul?
The reason we are pulling a cinema across Scotland is because it feels natural—like dancing is natural, or holding your breath when you see a deer is natural. It’s our state of mind. It says how much we love movies and the Scottish horizon and the open road and the open heart.
If you love movies or the open road or the open heart, please, please join us. In any way you can. We need pullers, and fellow travellers, and people to stand at hedgerows in the gloaming to cheer us on, and people to sing David Bowie and Billy McKenzie songs as we pass. We need a roving, raving, ambulant, perambulant circus of grannies and firemen, walkers, skateboarders, mountain bikers, hobblers and totterers on stilettos to join our happy breed. There’ll be a lovely routemaster double-decker bus for our fellow travellers with bunions, wheelchairs or gammy legs.
A Pilgrimage is a far more complicated…