Scots documentary triumphs at Grierson’s

A SHORT film made by a recent student at the Edinburgh College of Art has been chosen as one of the winners at the UK’s most prestigious documentary film competition.

Lou McLoughlan’s Caring for Calum took the inaugural Best Student Documentary prize at the Grierson Awards, held last night. As well as producing and directing the 24-minute film, McLoughlan also did the camera and editing.

The storyline for Caring for Calum is described thus: “After years in exile, Uisdean returns to his home on the edge of a Highland loch, to face a complex past that threatens his ambition to look after his father. As 92 year-old Calum recovers with the care and boisterous humour of a shared home with his son, a tragedy in Uisdean’s past unravels.”

The Grierson Awards commemorate the pioneering Scottish documentary filmmaker, John Grierson (1898 – 1972), famous for Drifters and Night Mail and the man widely regarded as the father of the documentary.

Anne Milne, also from the Edinburgh College of Art, was among the nominees in the Best Student Documentary category, with Maria’s Way.

Said the chair of the category judging panel, the BBC’s Charlotte Moore, of Caring for Calum: “The jury was hugely impressed by this beautifully-observed, poetic film. Very much in control of her material, the director showed real maturity and vision, by allowing the man’s disturbing and surprising story to unravel gently to produce a film that is both touching and gripping in equal measure.”

Earlier this year, McLoughlan was named Best Director (Short Film) at the BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards. She also took the Student prize.

Adds Emma Davie, programme director Film and TV at Edinburgh College of Art / Screen Academy Scotland: “We’re delighted by Lou’s success with her MA film – to have this on top of her two new talent BAFTAs wins really promises well for her further ambitions as a documentary maker. Her cohort of postgrads at Edinburgh College of Art – who have just left – have done exceptionally well internationally with their graduation films and I think the community of filmmakers they formed and their ability to support and challenge each other’s work whilst here, is something which we should all celebrate in Scotland. Space for these films on BBC Scotland or STV would be wonderful. Local audiences should see the work which is winning prizes all over the world for Scotland.”

The Grierson winners list reads:

Deluxe 142 Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme – Domestic

Between Life and Death: Nick Holt for BBC Wales; first shown: BBC Two

Shell Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme – International

Secret Iraq – The Insurgency: Sam Collyns, James Jones for Quicksilver Media Limited; first shown: BBC Two

Bridgeman Art Library Best Arts Documentary

Bird on a Wire: Tony Palmer for Isolde Films & The Machat Company; first shown: BBC Four

ITN Source Best Historical Documentary

Fire in Babylon: Stevan Riley for E & G Productions, H & H Productions, Cowboy Films and Passion Pictures; first shown: London Film Festival

Televisual Best Science Documentary

The Joy of Stats: Dan Hillman for Wingspan Productions; first shown: BBC Four

Current Most Entertaining Documentary

Bodysnatchers of New York: Toby Dye for Bearkatt Productions; first shown: More 4

ENVY Best Documentary Series

Hugh’s Fish Fight: Will Anderson for KEO Films; first shown: Channel 4

DocHouse and The Bertha Foundation Best Cinema Documentary

The Arbor: Clio Barnard for Artangel; first shown: London Film Festival

CTVC Best Newcomer Documentary

Storyville: Afghan Cricket Club – Out of the Ashes: Timothy Albone, Lucy Martens for Shabash Productions and Bungalow Town Productions; first shown: BBC Four

Sky Arts Best Student Documentary

Caring for Calum: Lou McLoughlan, Edinburgh College of Art; first shown: Glasgow Film Festival