Greg McCarron
6th April, 2022

On Thursday 13th May 2021, a collection of newly digitised films showcasing Shetland life in the 1950s and 60s was premiered in a free, online event from the Shetland Film Archive. "Shetland On Film" presented archive clips alongside specially recorded introductions from Shetland heritage experts and the families who donated the original material.

Laurie Goodlad, local writer and tourist guide, provided an overview of Shetland's herring industry before the screening of a 1950s era documentary (filmed by James Thomason and donated by Janie Thomason) which took us back to the herring boom. Linda Nicholson, a tourist guide based in Sandwick, recorded an introduction to the 1960 Sandwick Regatta from Sandsayre Pier, providing a link between past and present.

Isobel Irvine introduced a collection of films produced by her father Derek and uncle John, a teacher based in Edinburgh who would take groups of school children to the isles for summer holidays. They clearly enjoy their Shetland adventures, whether walking down a thriving Commercial Street or going for a dip in Scalloway's open air pool! This collection also included footage of the Queen and Prince Philip visiting Shetland in 1960.

'We're really excited to share this new material with the people of Shetland and beyond' said Chairperson Greg McCarron, 'Shetland On Film will allow people to access moving image heritage from home, which we hope will bring back happy memories and inspire conversations about the past."

"Shetland on Film" was a big success, with 153 people watching the premiere event across Facebook and Twitter, after which the films were available for a two week catch up period. The total number of views after two weeks was an incredible 8,623; demonstrating the significant reach which can be achieved with an online screening across social media. There were also lots of enthusiastic comments about the footage and the work of the archive; and It was especially rewarding to hear that people had seen clips of their parents and grandparents. Based on this success, we plan to hold more online premieres in future.

"Shetland on Film" was supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI's Film Audience Network, and funded by Screen Scotland and Lottery funding from the BFI.

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