St Andrews is to host the world cinema premiere of the award-winning film, You’ve Been Trumped.
The film - a major coup for the town - looks at the social, economic and environmental effects of the £750 million development by Donald Trump at the Menie Estate, north of Aberdeen.
Also focusing on the way the American tycoon’s organisation has conducted itself to bring the controversial project to fruition, the documentary - the highest rated in UK history and which has scooped 10 major awards during its global festival run - will receive its official cinema release at the New Picture House on July 6, just days before the golf course itself opens.
Its screening in St Andrews will be followed by a run in cinemas across Scotland, including Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee. It will also play in London and selected theatres elsewhere in the UK before opening in the USA in August through Manhattan-based International Film Circuit.
Hollywood star, Alec Baldwin, has even asked to host a screening during its premiere week in New York.
The brand new cinema version of the film features fresh scenes, including a moment where Mr Trump appears uncertain as to whether his golf course is situated on the east or west coast of Scotland. It also includes a beautiful, but scathing song by Scots folk favourite, Karine Polwart.
Angus-based director, Anthony Baxter - who will be taking part in a question-and-answer session in St Andrews at the premiere - told the Citizen: ”The timing is no accident. We felt it was essential to get the film in front of the Scottish public before Mr Trump’s global hype machine churns into action. And, what better place to open than St Andrews, where you really do find the best golf course in the world.”
Meanwhile, the Citizen can exclusively reveal that golf’s ruling body, the R&A in St Andrews, has been urged to ignore the opening of the American tycoon’s golf course in two weeks time by boycotting the launch ceremony.
The producer of the film, Richard Phinney, a long-standing member of the Golf Writers’ Association of America, and the author of two books on links golf, has written to Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the R&A in St Andrews, asking that he does not attend the opening.
He has written to enquire whether the R&A is considering taking a stand against the Trump development “as an example of the kind of unsustainable environmental practices” it is on the record as discouraging.
The film producer added: ”I know first hand the kind of leadership role the R&A plays in the golfing community worldwide. It is the R&A’s public position that ‘it is essential that the industry recognises and takes steps to minimise the impact it has on the natural environment.’
“It is beyond question that the Trump organisation has violated these principles.”
According to recent media reports, Mr Trump has had to change his plans for his opening fourball, which he once predicted would include Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond and Sir Sean Connery, with both understood to be avoiding the launch of the development on July 10.
Mr Phinney said: ”I am wondering whether officials at the R&A will be declining invitations to the same event. By refusing to be associated with the opening of the Trump course, the R&A would send a clear signal that it is serious about environmental sustainability and that its high profile efforts to promote sustainable practices are more than publicity exercises.”
However, encouraging the R&A to accept the invitation to attend the premiere of the film in St Andrews, Mr Phinney concluded: ”If nothing else, I would urge Mr Dawson and others at the R&A to see You’ve Been Trumped before taking any action that could be interpreted as a stamp of approval for what an international jury has called ‘one of the most shocking environmental crimes in recent UK history.’”
A leading economist, who predicts in You’ve Been Trumped the economic benefits promised by Mr Trump and Mr Salmond would never materialise, says he has been proven right, and that the former’s objections to windfarms are a diversion.
Emeritus Professor Paul Cheshire, of the London School of Economics, said: ”Mr Trump seems to be using the offshore windfarm plan as a way of saving face while kicking sand in the face of the Scots. The people of Aberdeenshire have, sadly, lost a habitat of wild beauty for no noticeable economic gain.”
Thus far, only a handful of full-time jobs have been created by the resort, just a fraction of the 6000 promised by Mr Salmond and Donald Trump.
Leading geomorphologist Dr Jim Hansom, of Glagow University, who gave evidence against the Trump plans at Scotland’s Parliament on behalf of Scottish Natural Heritage, is warning fellow Scots not to be fooled by glossy newspaper and TV images of green fairways.
He said: ”What was once a wild, dynamic and inspirational place, is now just another manicured and polished piece of coastal real estate. Mountains of sand trucked in and bulldozed into shape are concealed by a superficial veneer of golf-course green. A human-made place and a wilderness destroyed.”