Filmmaker Interview #24 – Garry Fraser

Garry Fraser is an Edinburgh based filmmaker who started in short film and is now moving onto features. Garry has a colourful past that you are welcome to read about here, but he shouldn’t be defined by that past. He has gone on to make some very interesting and hard hitting films from his unique world view. Garry is definitely ‘one to watch’, everyone that I spoke to at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival had heard of Garry or knew him and it is only a matter of time before he gets his big break. We are delighted to be hosting Garry’s short film Muirhouse Christmas at July’s Write Shoot Cut screening night where the man himself will be in attendance to give a Q&A.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you are currently working on?

I’ve just finished my first feature documentary film that will be released as a 60 minute BBC broadcast and an 80 minute cinema cut for Creative Scotland. I’m now focussing on my first feature drama Young Offender with Bedlam Productions, the guys who produced Kings Speech. Its going to be a brutal look at the Scottish Young Offenders System.

Who/what inspired you to embark on a career in Filmmaking?

I wrote a short story then worked with Pilton Video [now Screen Education Edinburgh] on my first short film called In 4 Life. I got flown down to MTV London and I knew there and then that this was what I wanted to do.

Have you had to make any sacrifices and how have you coped with that?

Family and friends without a doubt. I honestly believe that when you are a writer/director you have to keep pushing yourself everyday and know what the sacrifices are. Mark twain once said “I’m afraid if a let go of all my devils my angels might go to”.

What is your ultimate goal/what drives you?

Using my social enterprise to drive filmmaking as an art into council estates, to turn out feature after feature with banging sound tracks, get a BAFTA within five years and an OSCAR before a die!

How do you define success?

Waking up every morning.

How do you feel about collaboration?

It’s not something I’ve really ever consciously though about. I love working with photographers, looking at film one frame at a time. I’ve got something like 27 scripts written over the last 6 years, but I find it hard to part with my own experiences, I would love to work with other writers and producers on original material in the future.

Do you have a niche or genre that you specialise in?

Folk say “urban realism” but it is what it is, drama, factual, poetry, short storys, whatever the platform to shout from!

What was the title of your first film (Your first first film, not the one you are happy to call your first film) and can you tell us a bit about it?

In 4 life. Shot in a day, no actors showed up, Paul Chan, the sound op suddenly became the actor, then it got nominated for an MTV Award after getting shown in the Edinburgh Filmhouse.

Favourite Filmmaker?

Kenny Glennann

All-time top 5 movies (as of this date, we all know it changes daily)?

Never changes:

  1. King of new York
  2. True Romance
  3. Menace II Society
  4. Platoon
  5. Boyz n the Hood

What is the best short film you’ve seen?

Tolerance

First film you ever saw in the cinema?

Natural Born Killers

A random/funny story of anything you have experienced in the film world?

I was sitting outside the Filmhouse cinema writing a script with my showreel in hand when Shane Meadows walks past with wee Tommo [Thomas Turgoose]. I had a sign beside me saying “writer/director will work for food, geez a job a kin dae that”. They had a laugh and took my showreel. I had just finished my HND, the next morning I woke up to a phone call from Shane inviting me up to the Première of of his film Somers Town, thats when I realised anything was possible in our industry.

Favourite film related website?

Write Shoot Cut (of course)

[Neil- right answer!]

What advice would you give to first time filmmakers?

Don’t be afraid of anything and remember your budget when writing your script.

You can find out more about Garry at his production company website and on Vimeo.

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11 Responses to Filmmaker Interview #24 – Garry Fraser

  1. d cartwright says:

    watched your tv documentary tonight Garry – fantastic piece of work well done
    you should be proud of your achievements

  2. stacey shields says:

    Hi gary just watched ur film on tv I love it I was in tears at sum bits as I can relate to sum of ur past the only thing a was gutted at was hope u don’t mind me sayin was u neva told us if u got clean in the end a da put up a paragraph at the end updated how u are now. Stacey

  3. dolly1969 says:

    Watched yr film last night, i was glued! Well done to you for turning yr life around, hope you stay clean though after all you’ve been through

  4. emzymac says:

    Fantastic TV last night. Well done on all you’ve achieved

  5. cath says:

    HI GARY AS AN OLDER WOMEN WHO WAS WASTING TIME LAST NIGHT I WAS STUNNED BY YOUR LIFE STORY. I WOULD LIKE TO LET YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE A TONIC. YOU KEEP ON YOUR JOURNEY SON YOU ARE DOING JUST GREAT, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, TAKE EVERYDAY ON YOUR JOURNEY AND LONG MAY THAT VOYAGE LAST FOR YOU AND YOUR LOVELY FAMILY. AN AYR MAW X

  6. carol bell says:

    I watched this last night. I have a son who has a drug problem and is trying to sort himself out. Not easy but last night you gave me hope. You keep on your journey and I look forward to seeing your films in the future. no one can do this for you

  7. Carolanne says:

    Really enjoyed your documentry Garry. I applaude your honesty and am sure we’ll see lots more of your work on TV. All the best..

  8. sheila says:

    documentry was great, looking forward to seeing more, you are a inspiration,

  9. Garry Fraser says:

    thanks for the kind comments folk, it makes the film feel worth it, Yes I am still clean, I came off just as we started editing it, nothing like working 13 hours a day to keep the mind occupied, I feel so humbled by the response, love Garry & family

  10. auds says:

    Your children will be your legacy Garry, going a great job

  11. Garry Fraser says:

    Well as i said thanks for the positive comments, Am up for a BAFTA this month for a 75 min version of the BBC/creative scotland film most have seen but Everybody’s child is a completely different film still about social exclusion but really the directors cut a cant wait to get back to drama & make art for the people, Garry

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