A film about love, actually, from Kirkcaldy man

Graham Drysdale
Graham Drysdale

A native of Kirkcaldy has released his debut feature film – a romantic Christmas drama set and filmed in Scotland.

Graham Drysdale (55) wrote and directed Wigilia, an alternative Christmas movie that explores Polish and Scottish traditions, using the skills he has picked up in his career in film and the arts.

Duglas T Stewart in a scene from 'Wigilia'

Duglas T Stewart in a scene from 'Wigilia'

A pupil at Dunnikier Primary School and then Balwearie High, Graham studied at Heriot Watt and Kirkcaldy Tech before deciding to move towards art.

He said: “A friend told me that there was a good course at Dundee College of Commerce in Higher and A level art, so I studied there whilst working at Safeway on the night shift.”

After that Graham went to Edinburgh Art College which saw him make another shift in direction.

“I lost a bit of enthusiasm for painting and I saw people wandering about with video cameras so I swapped to do film which was good,” he said.

Iwona Glowinska

Iwona Glowinska

“You got very little advice on how to make art or film your living, so after you left you just had to get on with it.

“Shortly after, I won a BBC competition for a pop video I’d made, which was judged by Lol Creme from 10cc, then I drifted into theatre with a group called the Grassmarket Project in Edinburgh.

“We put on plays at the Fringe and I toured around Europe with them as a production assistant. I learned a lot about life and I filmed a lot of the improvisations so learned how to use the camera.”

Graham went on to study a post-graduate course at Napier in film and made an award-winning short which was bought by Channel 4.

“It won enough awards to make it eligible for an Oscar nomination!” he said.

After a spell in community arts he landed his current job as a lecturer at Queen Margaret University teaching screenwriting and digital film making and decided to put all his experience to good use with his first feature film Wigilia.

“It was fantastic experience,” he said, “I had an outline for the story so a lot of the action and dialogue was improvised with the actors Iwona and Duglas, who people may know as the singer in BMX Bandits.

“We had a premiere just before Christmas. BMX Bandits did a set and Iwona sang some Polish Christmas carols so it was a good night.

“I got some great feedback. Maybe people were just being nice but they seemed to like it!”

Now Graham is planning his next film, which he says could be inspired by his roots.

“I’ve always thought that Kirkcaldy would be a good place to make a film.

“Fife itself is a place of contrast. You’ve got areas of deprivation like Cowdenbeath and then there’s St Andrews which is the creme de la creme.

“There are stories to be told there.”