Deep Fried Film festival comes to Cumbernauld

Cumbernauld is to celebrate independent cinema as it becomes a festival venue.

The ninth annual Deep Fried Film festival will be held in Cumbernauld Theatre and three other venues as its organisers have expanded the format,

Previously the festival has always been held in Coatbridge, but its founder, film tutor Martin Greechan, will now be overseeing the festival at four locations including the theatre.

“I took it to various nonprofit venues and asked them, ‘do you want this?’ and Cumbernauld Theatre was one which said yes,” said Martin, who initially founded the festival to help his own students find an audience and it has grown from there.

Festivalgoers are asked to pay £5 per session and will be shown a selection of films by independent filmmakers from Scotland and further afield, primarily shorts but with a couple of longer productions as well.

The festival raises money for various charities including Cumbernauld Theatre itself and the locally-based Scottish Spina Bifida Association.

“The festival helps filmmakers by promoting independent films that often don’t get good distribution, and the charities benefit financially,” added Martin.

This year’s event is taking place at four venues simultaneously, and all screenings are on the same timetable so there’s no need to travel beyond your local venue to see specific films or take part in any of the other associated events or workshops.

One of the films Martin expects to prove popular this year is the feature A Practical Guide to a Spectacular Suicide, which has already won recognition at international film events.

One interesting aspect of Deep Fried Film is that it embraces a wide variety of cinematic genres, with the only stipulations being that films cannot be pornographic or illegal. An estimated 30 countries will be represented by films shown during this year’s festival.

With screenings being totally open to the public this can occasionally result in nervous moments for filmmakers.

“One of the films we showed a year or two ago has an opening minute or so of dialogue with a lot of swearing,” said Martin. “The audience were mostly older people and the director was convinced they’d all hate it and walk out. But they stayed through that sweary opening and really enjoyed the film, it got a lot of audience votes.”

The festival gives awards based on audience appreciation in categories such as “best documentary” and “best comedy” and also incorporates Deep Fried Art, which is an exhibition and sale of cinematically-inspired artwork by local artists.

The event is on at Cumbernauld Theatre (and elsewhere) from August 30 to September 6.