Cannes veteran plans Shell.
Inspired by the beauty of his native Scotland, writer-director Scott Graham’s third short, Native Son, screened as part of Critics’ Week at Cannes in 2010. In it, Sean Harris plays a lonely farm labourer who is ostracised by his local community, forcing him to an extreme, heart-stopping measure. Graham is now working on his debut feature, Shell (“a kind of road movie… a roadside movie”), which started out as his second short and has been developed into a feature with help from the Binger Lab in Amsterdam among others. “This is a progression of the short,” he explains. “It’s still set in a petrol station in the middle of nowhere with a teenage girl giving people fuel to move on with their lives while she cannot. But everything else has changed.” Set to star Joseph Mawle as the girl’s father, and produced by Margaret Matheson and David Smith, Shell has been fully financed at $1.6m (£1m) by the UK Film Council, Creative Scotland and ZDF/Arte. Right now, Graham is working for the Scottish Forestry Commission (he takes labouring jobs between gigs) while he waits to start the Shell shoot in the Scottish Highlands in October. Graham, 36, started as a writer before he moved into film and feels a connection with the land, and with the films of Terrence Malick and Bruno Dumont. “As a film-maker, though, you’ve got to try to do something new,” he says. “Or else there’s no point.”
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