Short film world on a (shoe)string

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EAST Renfrewshire’s film tradition flickers on, thanks to two retired film buffs making their own movies on a shoestring budget.

Retired advertising man Bill Welsh made The Extra last year when he premiered the third film from Shoestring Pictures, Cocktails for Four — a project in collaboration with friend and former broadcast engineer Alistair Biggar.

Back then, Bill said: “The company’s called Shoestring because we don’t have any money — we just rely on the goodwill of other people.”

It seems that the duo still have their fans, as Giffnock’s own movie company have now shown their latest flick — Troubadors — and are taking it on the international film festival circuit.

The plot is a take on the 1863 opera Les pecheurs de perles (the pearl fishers) by Georges Bizet — a tale of two men whose friendship is threatened by their love for the same woman — and her own, rather different, aspirations.

Writer/producer Bill and director Alistair recently premiered their take on it at a red carpet event held at the Orchard Park Hotel.

Bill told The Extra: “Troubadors has been our most challenging work to date but audience reaction has been so positive.

“I’m now totally convinced that the original concept of re-styling a 19th century century opera into a 21st century film is fully justified.”

The film is full of local talent, with Giffnock Theatre Player regulars Jack Hodes and Stuart McLaren taking the lead roles alongside Syrian-born Raghad Chaar, from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Also appearing — in his third Shoestring Pictures film — was 11-year-old Nairn Archer, from the Hamilton District Youth Theatre.

Troubadors is now off on the road to a number of international competitions — as well as the closer-to-home Glasgow Film Festival’s short film category.