It sneaked out under cover of darkness late one summer Sunday evening on BBC1 – but enough people saw ‘From Scotland with Love’ that the film has taken off across the country.
The film – featuring the music of Fife musician King Creosote – has even been nominated for a BAFTA Scotland award this year as best single documentary.
Now the film comes full-circle as it is shown in Anstruther this weekend.
Full circle, because it was in the cafe at the Scottish Fisheries Museum that director Virginia Heath, producer Grant Keir and Kenny Anderson, aka King Creosote, first met to discuss the project.
Virginia Heath and King Creosote will be at Sunday’s Dreel Hall screening to take part in an audience question and answer session about the film.
‘From Scotland With Love’ (or FSWL as it’s known) is a journey into Scotland’s past, using archive film and the specially-commissioned music – no commentary – to explore the country’s history.
It was commissioned as a celebration of this year’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and completed in time for the event.
And since its initial television screening the film has been shown far and wide.
The film explores universal themes of love, loss, resistance, migration, work and play.
Ordinary people, some long since dead, their names and identities largely forgotten, appear shimmering from the depth of the vaults to take a starring role.
“I wanted to tell Scotland’s stories from a ‘ground up’ perspective. No visits by kings and queens.” explained Virginia. “And as a woman director, I wanted to bring out the women’s stories. We had amazing footage of the fishing fleet out at sea. Wonderful images of the ‘fisher lassies’ gutting and packing on shore.
“That sensation you have when looking back at archive, this grainy footage. It is almost like a dream. Going into the past, but it feels contemporary, what the people in the footage are feeling and what they are up against,” she added.
Scotland’s glorious scenery from mountain to sea is lovingly explored in the film, and it vividly depicts the county’s lost industrial heritage - the mighty shipyards and steelworks, and the desperate conditions endured by miners.
Children at play, courting couples, dances and walkers are all shown in the film, much of it in black and white as the film makers ransacked the archives.
The mass exoduses of the summer “fair” weeks, trips “doon the water”, packed trains taking holidaymakers on their annual vacation are all shown.
As much as the stunning images, it’s King Creosote’s evocative soundtrack that has excited comment. The Anstruther-based singer-songwriter created what has been described as “a blissful love letter” to Scotland.
The film is being brought to the Dreel Halls by Anstruther Improvements Association (AIA).
Virginia said: “I am thrilled to bring From Scotland With Love to another Scottish location. The East Neuk is home to King Creosote, so to screen the film in Anstruther is going to be a real treat. I’m looking forward to seeing how the audience welcomes the film at Dreel Halls.”