Film shows many faces

Hundreds of people from across Scotland have come together to make a film that captures the essence of the country.

We Are Northern Lights, which had its world premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival, is the brainchild of award winning Scottish filmmaker, Nick Higgins, an academic in Media, Culture and Practice at the University.

The film, which is Scotland’s first mass participation documentary, will be showcased during a tour of major cities in Scotland this month.

Images of Scotland

The year-long project, which was launched as part of the Year of Creative Scotland in 2012 produced more than 300 hours of footage, submitted by more than 1,500 people.

Interest was generated by social media and workshops staged throughout Scotland. Contributors were encouraged to pick up cameras or mobile phones and share videos about their lives, hopes and dreams.

The footage took five months to edit into a 95-minute feature. A musical score was created with selections from 200 original music submissions, also crowd-sourced from members of the public.

Scotland through the lens

Project co-ordinator Nick Higgin says that that it shows Scots and Scotland through a myriad of lenses.

It was a hugely gratifying experience to receive so many submissions of great quality. While individually the videos might not be considered of national importance, collectively they combine to create something truly original and inspiring. It’s an image of a new Scotland that might surprise some people.

Nick HigginsSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

The film will tour seven cities across Scotland, a tour of regional cinemas is also being planned. The production has also received invitations for screening in New York and Scandinavia later in the year.

We Are Northern Lights presents a fantastic insight into modern day Scotland. It shows what can be achieved when the individual creative impulses of people from across Scotland are brought together.To me, it has set a standard for cultural projects - it's reached out to our diverse communities and inspired them to think about how they can use culture and creativity - not only to promote their local identity but to enhance community engagement. I am sure that everyone involved is very proud.

Fiona HyslopScottish Government Culture Secretary

Nick Higgins is the programme director of the Media, Culture and Practice and Trans-disciplinary Documentary Film post-graduate degrees at the University.