Mareel Student Showcase 2019
by Alex Garrick-Wright -
At the end of each academic year, the students from Mareel gear up for the Student Showcase; a chance to display the fruits of their creative learning to friends, family and the public.
For the music students, this means a professionally-produced, livestreamed concert in the Mareel Auditorium – on the same stage where a whole spectrum of famous artists have appeared, from comedian Sarah Pascoe and legendary rockers The Blockheads, to the world-class Scottish Ensemble. For film students, it’s a chance to see their work on the silver screen, in the 136-seat cinema.
Lights, camera… action
The film screening opened with a short video introduction by student filmmaker Neil Tulloch:
“Doing this course has been the best experience of my life,” he told the audience. “I’m really looking forward to the BA in the next academic year.”
Neil’s film, The Space Between Us, was a rollicking sci-fi adventure bursting with passion and imagination. A story about a war between cyborg Martian colonies and the Earth, the film is a gleeful mix of Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Star Trek, and even Red Dwarf. Utilising green screen effects to create the bridge of the Earth flagship, with space battles rendered in impressive custom CGI and an exciting score (by one of the music students), The Space Between Us was the perfect posterchild for the creativity and ingenuity fostered by the course.
Other films ran the gamut of styles, from Sergio Leone-inspired western to horror. Hitmen in a cyberpunk world shared the screen with stop-motion warriors made of sweets and Vimto-fuelled parkour. The Robbery featured a high-octane (and well-choreographed) fight scene with axes, while Inside the Mind of Eric was an interesting psychological horror with shades of Nightmare on Elm St, and a Tales from the Crypt-style twist ending.
The most impressive film, by BA student Roberto Getto, was My Island, My Studio, a well-shot, visually impressive short film featuring prestigious Shetland-based artists Paul Bloomer, Gail Harvey and Howard Towll talking about their studios and the inspiration they draw from the islands. Shot entirely in monochrome, My Island, My Studio was a professional effort that would shine at any film festival.
Following the film screenings was the concert for music students. Again, variety was the key to the evening, with students covering a whole spectrum of music, from cover songs to original compositions, and styles ranging from folk instrumental to mumble rap.
Every student brought something new to the stage. Multi-instrumentalist Zdenka Mlynarikova stood out with covers on both guitar and piano, while Adrian Ratter’s mesmerising French-Canadian folk guitar playing was a true highlight.
There was a great deal of original composition on display too, from Erin Goudie’s powerful songs, to Chris Cole’s gritty rock instrumentals and Dylan Leask’s mumble rap, with something for everyone.
Those who can… teach
The students put on an amazing night of entertainment and creativity, and made themselves – and their lecturers – rightfully proud. However, the students have only been able to flourish in the rich and unique learning environment that’s been created for them in Mareel – an environment that you won’t find anywhere else.
“This is my first year teaching those courses,” said Keiba Clubb, lecturer in Film Studies, “so it’s quite an emotional thing, really, to see all the work they’ve been doing all year on the big screen, and what a phenomenal opportunity for the students to have that facility available to them.
“I never had anything like that when I was younger! And now, you’re in Shetland – you don’t even have to leave and you can study from Vocational Pathways level, all the way up to BA level, and that is a phenomenal thing to have here. And Vocational Pathways is obviously for the school children, but the NC and the BA – that’s open to anyone! Any age, any background, everybody has these opportunities. On a small island! It’s just excellent.”
Bryan Peterson, Shetland Arts’ Head of Creative Opportunities, agreed: “Although it sounds a little bit buzzword-y- ‘situational learning environment’ – the fact is there’s not many places in the UK where you can actually study music and film in a music venue and cinema.
“Most students would only be able to see their films in a cinema if they entered into a film festival. Film can be quite a lonely pursuit sometimes – you spend so much time on it, as a labour of love, and you kind of just throw it out there. So being able to see it in a room full of supportive people is quite an amazing thing.
Fraser Mouat, lecturer in Music and Audio, said that the evening’s performance had been ‘fantastic’, with a clear improvement in the students’ confidence and abilities across the year.
To find out more about creative learning opportunites at Mareel visit the Shetland Arts website.