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Lighting up Glasgow

Micro-budget Scottish comedy Electric Man impresses at its UK premiere at Glasgow Film Festival.

As part of Glasgow Film Festival’s Kapow!@GFF strand, the charmingly witty micro-budget Electric Man received its UK premiere yesterday at a packed screening with the film’s cast and crew on hand for a Q&A afterwards.

Part comedy and part noir, Electric Man centres on two out-of-luck friends whose comic book store will be turned into a kebab shop unless they come up with £5k within a week. Luckily a mint condition copy of the ultra-rare Electric Man comic from 1937 falls into their grasp, but with it comes an American collector, a sinister Scot named Jimmy – who may or may not have killed his brother – and a femme fatale subtly named Lauren McCall.

Much of the post-screening chat focussed on the film’s £55,000 budget which the director David Barras said came through in “dribs and drabs” from various sources, such as visiting comic cons with Electric Man memorabilia despite the film not being filmed yet.

The budgetary restraints led to people committing their time to the film for free – the central comic book store is an actual location that the owner let the film shoot in for the three weeks of filming – and a strong camaraderie on set which actor Mark McKirdy compared to a sports team. “It was such a small crew, such a small cast… everyone was there for the same goal.”

Derek Dick, who plays Jimmy, agreed, adding “it was just a great project to get involved in. No egos, everybody was rooting in there and it was fascinating to watch it [come] together on such a small budget.”

And if the film had a higher budget? “We would have done some more in the post-production and we would have spent more time setting up the shoot, so we could pay for rehearsal time for the actors because that was what we couldn’t afford,” commented producer Ellen-Raissa Jackson.

The Q&A’s most poignant moment came when talk turned to cinematographer Rich Steel who sadly passed away since filming. Jackson said that while people lending their time and skills for free helped make the film, Steel was the “main thing that made the film work”.

“Rich was a great friend to all of us and he really set the tone on set. My job was to run around and shout at everyone, but Rich was so relaxed and just was ‘it is what it is’. We really miss him and we’re very sad he’s not here today.”

Electric Man is touring throughout March and April, starting in Bo’Ness on March 2. For more information, visit the film’s site.

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