Review – musician and songwriter Abi Rooley-Towle reviews a fascinating DVD release that chronicles the people and history of Lossiemouth…..
DURING THE WINTER months of 2015 a local documentary about the history and life of Lossiemouth from the 1800’s was showcased around Lossiemouth at five packed events.
‘Lossiemouth Northern Lights’ was spearheaded by Yvonne Findlay of Creative Visions, Moray, filmed by Tim Flood and showcasing music by local Scottish composers and singer song writers Trevski, Iain McGillvray and Christian Ministry and Roger Jones. Between them they created a thoughtful, visual, people centred documentary enhanced by catchy and poignant music.
The story of the fishing community and the change to this way of life which occurred in the second half of the 20th century not only provides good archive material but gives the viewer an engaging, thorough yet personal birds-eye of view of this humble, real and special town.
It managed to give a vivid impression of ordinary life, narrated through personal interviews as well as recounting the life of some of its more famous residents such as Ramsey Macdonald.
The film takes a deliberately slow pace, allowing the viewer to feel that they themselves were sitting with the fishing folk and hearing their tales of a life now gone by. Nobody it seemed was left out – important in a small coastal community – while young and old were both successfully involved.
Young people conduct the interviews for the older storytellers, prompting with scripted questions about their lives. The slight gaucheness of the children’s interviewing was refreshingly left in, giving the documentary a sense of immediacy and realism.
Everyone came together at the end to sing the theme song about how the young and old can work together to make a brighter future. The children themselves made the animation with Tim Flood, making carefully thought out sections within the film. The film itself, shot by Tim, included some beautiful photography of Lossiemouth by local photographers Jim Robertson and Derek Stewart.
There was also some wonderful archive photography of the town. An additional element of interest was the special appearance of Dr Paul Whittaker OBE, who works with deaf community and gave an inspirational speech. Reverend Mary Whittaker and her hearing dog Scott also had a major starring role.
This film was researched, directed, organised and produced by Yvonne Findlay who held the creative vision of how the story of Lossiemouth could be told. The outcome is a piece of artistic community story telling at a human pace that delighted and thrilled the local audience – and gave an ‘outsider’ such as myself a rounded view of the history of this Scottish fishing town.
A history that thankfully has been humanely told before the last generation of fishing folk pass on, this is a worthy tribute to community and historical documentary film making.
‘Lossiemouth Northern Lights’ is available from Miele’s and Buckleys in Lossiemouth or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.