As a clumsy five-year-old I twisted impatiently on a wooden bench
in the community hall. Most of the population of my small Scottish
village waited for the whir of a 16mm projector and the start of the
cowboy film, Winchester 73. My first film
and I was hooked. My dad had a 9.5mm camera/projector with short
films of him as a teenager. When I myself was 14, I bought a Russian
Quarz 8mm camera and Luch projector. I was in love with movies.
My first date with Jan, who is now my wife, was to see a double-bill of: Yojimbo and Les yeux sans visage at a late-night showing in Aberdeen. Jan and I ran 8mm and 16mm shows in our first home including 3-D films
I graduated from Edinburgh University with Honours in English Language and Literature, and from Aberdeen University with a Diploma in Education. My first permanent job was as a teacher at an Edinburgh school, where, of course, I helped found a film-appreciation club and made 8mm dramas. Later I became General Secretary of the organisation for British film appreciation clubs. Finally I earned money to support the cinema habit by writing manuals and help-screens for computer systems.
Now in our mid-sixties, Jan and I visit a local multiplex, several
movie clubs and festivals … but mainly watch films in our home
cinema. There is no connection between my height and the screen
width, though both are around 1.95 metres.
I am not a film maker at competition level, but a film watcher and juror. I regularly judge club, regional and international festivals. I have made silly British jokes while on juries in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, France and Germany. But above all I admire and respect film makers, no matter how their movies are rated.
I served on the national committee of IAC (the British Federation), and am now webmaster for several film and theatre groups in Britain and the USA as well as for the UNICA News and UNICA Web sites.
I believe that film is primarily about communication. It must teach, delight, frighten, or move us emotionally. I do enjoy books, theatre, music of most kinds and painting … but still believe cinema at its best is an art form that is more powerful than all the others.