Angus-based filmmaker Anthony Baxter and author James Robertson will premiere a new short film at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival.
News of the Dead follows Newtyle-based James as he explores his new novel of the same name, against the stunning backdrop of Glen Esk in Angus.
The 11-minute film also sees eight-year-old Fife girl Emily Goudie make her screen debut as an eerie apparition. Meanwhile, 88-year-old Montrose resident Nancy Baillie provides the voiceover for character Maja.
Sixteenth Century Hatton Castle in Newtyle features in the production, and Emily’s character can be seen running through its candle-lit halls.
James’s novel was released earlier this month. It is set against the Braes of Angus in fictional Glen Conach and features characters who live hundreds of years apart, but are all linked by the same place.
Anthony and James will appear at a live Edinburgh International Book Festival event on August 16, where the film will receive its first screening. It will also be available to stream online afterwards.
It’s part of the Reading Scotland project commissioned by the book festival, with six Scottish writers invited to work with a filmmaker to create a short film inspired by their book.
Based in Montrose, Anthony Baxter is the award-winning filmmaker behind titles such as You’ve Been Trumped and FLINT. Most recently, he released Eye of the Storm, about the late Angus landscape painter James Morrison.
Glen Esk setting for film
Anthony says: “James is a real pleasure to work with. He’s a multi-layered person and has written so many incredible books. He immerses himself in a project.
“Loch Lee has a dramatic quality to it that resonates with James’s books, and Hatton Castle is an atmospheric place.
“You want to try and illustrate some of the scenes in the book. Being able to use drama to show that was interesting and allowed us to be creative.
“It was a fun thing to do, and Emily was a real joy to work with. We tried to make her dress look a bit like the one described in James’s book as ‘greyish and slightly dirty’
“And Nancy Baillie is my neighbour in Montrose. She has lived here for many a decade. She’s a prolific reader herself.”
Anthony adds: “There are six films being made as part of this project and most done by young filmmakers.
“Because I’m obviously not in that category it was an opportunity to include young people. So we had Emily and also an 18-year-old working with us on the filming that day.”
Find out more about the event here.