Scotland’s creative industries festival, XpoNorth is showcasing films on 27th and 28th June, showcasing the work of filmmakers from the Highlands and Islands and beyond. Over fifty films will screen during the two-day event in The Playhouse Cinema, Eden Court in Inverness, one of which is Sundown, by multi-award winning and BAFTA Nominated film director and actor, Ryan Hendrick.
Ryan spoke with The Fountain about working under several guises on film sets, a feature he has been hoping to release and bringing Sundown to XpoNorth.
TF: So your film, Sundown, will be screened at XpoNorth, how exciting?
XpoNorth is such a vibrant and fun festival. Sundown will be the third film I’ve taken to XpoNorth. Sundown is a film that celebrates the Scottish Highlands, so it feels incredibly fitting that the unveiling of Sundown is taking place at a festival that has so much love and commitment to the creative culture and talent of Scotland.
TF: And you worked with Caitlin Blackwood and Frazer Hines on this short, how was that?
I’ve known both Caitlin and Frazer for a few years now, in fact it was Frazer who introduced Caitlin to me. I went into Sundown ready for a challenge. I had two well known actors, one with over fifty years of experience and another who was just returning to the profession having not acted since she was eight years old. I knew I would have to work with each of them differently in order to relate to the material. Most of this happened before filming began. I met with them both separately and discussed at length, the characters and tone of the film and then once we arrived on location the three of us discussed it together. Once we started filming they were ready to go and knew what they were doing, they only needed minor tweaks and direction from me during the shoot. Both of them were very open to collaboration which just made it so much easier for me.
They both have completely different approaches but that worked perfectly as the story requires to opposing characters with one situation in common.
TF: Are you going to be distributing this at any cinemas across the UK, are we able to see it outside of XpoNorth?
I really want this film to be seen as many people as possible. It’s a film that works best with a large audience. The emotions in the room are very apparent when sitting with an audience for the first time. It is currently being considered for various festivals around the world, after that I would love to see it on television. Cinemas would be great but shorts don’t tend to end up in cinemas, which is a shame. I would love cinemas to bring back the “eight reeler” type format where they show a short film before the main feature film begins.
TF: And you act, write, edit, as well as direct, which is your favourite of all the film hats?
Indeed I have worn various creative hats on this journey. I am a writer/director by trade, that has always been my main focus and drive. I did train as an actor, partly to enhance my directing skills, but also because I love to portray interesting characters. Acting has taken a back seat, mainly because the Scottish acting scene is tough, very little work available and so many talented actors. Also with the politics that comes with this industry I don’t like not being in control of my own career. As a filmmaker I have much more control on my own career. I hope to come back to acting once I’ve established myself fully as a Writer and Director.
TF: What more can we expect from you in the coming year?
My main focus for the last few years has been my debut feature film Journey Bound. A comedy road movie through the Scottish Highlands with an all-star Scottish cast including Ford Kiernan, Clare Grogan, Sylvester McCoy and many others, not to mention the legendary Runrig are both appearing and writing some of the soundtrack. It has languished in development hell as getting films made in Scotland (particularly your first feature) is close to impossible. However it is all coming together now as we are going to be starting work very soon.