While I always knew that press screenings would be few and far between in Scotland, my hopes were raised a few months ago when I discovered that two local cinemas held them. I was told they’d be rare. But, hey, who was I to complain?
Six months and a mere ten screenings later and I’m left asking myself why are we left so shortchanged? Sure, we may not have as many film publications, critics or bloggers as somewhere like London, but we do have two globally recognised film festivals, a city that is forever being dubbed “cultural capital of the U.K.”, and committed film writers and bloggers who deserve a little recognition and respect every now and then
Whether the blame lies with film studios or with the cinemas themselves is something that I’m unsure of, but the fact of the matter is that Scotland deserves its own system like London’s Film Critic Association national press shows. That way, press screenings would take place at a set time with plenty of notice, rather than hasty emails being sent out last minute. I mean, why should film writers for the The Scotsman, The Skinny and even local bloggers, much like myself, have to miss out simply because we don’t live in London? It would make things a lot easier for film writers all over the country to have a balanced, fair and accessible screening system.
Yes, it may be overoptimistic to think that Scotland could ever have a system that reflects the one successfully used in London, but is that not what trial and error is all about? By not having press screenings in Scotland, film studios are missing out on a vital way to increase the ad space of a particular film and to create more hype. After all, hasn’t the U.K. film industry been suffering because of lack of attention placed on homegrown films? Maybe if U.K. based film companies and the government focused on building word-of-mouth specifically on British made films, then audiences would be more in the know of what they’re about and interested in seeing them for themselves.
While press screenings certainly aren’t the be all and end all, and some of you will read this and think I’m being a selfish, moany git, they’re there mainly for the benefit of film companies as a way of promoting their latest productions. That doesn’t mean they can’t also be used as a way of rewarding writers who spend our free time writing about an industry we’re so invested in, despite the fact that it is shockingly unwilling to recognise what we do as part of the production cycle.