Denise Mina (Photo: Ollie Grove)
Denise Mina (Photo: Ollie Grove)

13th Cromarty Film Festival plans announced

The full programme has been announced for the 13th annual Cromarty Film Festival.

Guests including best-selling author Denise Mina, acclaimed journalist Lesley Riddoch, sound engineer to the stars Stuart Wilson and directors Zara Balfour and Vicki Lesley will introduce some of their favourite films and more at the Black Isle town 6-8 December

Everywhere from the famous Cromarty Lighthouse to an old slaughterhouse – turned – coffee shop transform into pop-up cinemas for three packed days of movie magic

The cine-loving community is currently building a new permanent cinema which will open in January 2020.

The beautiful Black Isle town will welcome famous faces and award-winning behind-the-scenes talent in a three day celebration of cinema.

The festival opens in spectacular style with a selection of short films curated by Glasgow Short Film Festival projected onto the side of the iconic Cromarty Lighthouse whilst locals and guests warm themselves by roaring fire braziers with a dram. Throughout the weekend quirky spaces around town become magical pop-up cinemas – whether it’s a former beachside slaughterhouse turned coffee shop, an old buoy store or local resident Ben’s living room (which sells out every year, so best book early).

Highlights for the 2019 festival include:

Denise Mina (Photo: Ollie Grove)

Bestselling Scottish crime writer Denise Mina discussing the enduring appeal of Charles Laughton’s extraordinary 1950s expressionistic thriller The Night Of The Hunter, with Robert Mitchum in terrifying top form as a psychotic preacher

One of Scotland’s best-known commentators and broadcasters Lesley Riddoch introducing her favourite film, the wonderful Geena Davis in the criminally under-appreciated amnesiac thriller The Long Kiss Goodnight. Lesley will also host a screening of her own recent film Faroe Islands – The Connected Nations, part of the Nation trilogy of films exploring the very different path our Nordic neighbours have followed from that of the UK. This event includes a bonus screening of Shutdown, documenting Greenpeace’s daring occupation of a Transocean rig off the shore of Cromarty this summer.

Oscar and BAFTA-nominated sound recordist Stuart Wilson – who has worked with the likes of Martin Scorcese and Wes Anderson and created sound for Skyfall and all the recent Star Wars films- will introduce the Oscar-winning The Constant Gardener, which he worked on, and talk about the challenges and rewards of shooting on location in Africa.

Award-winning director and producer Zara Balfour introducing her debut documentary feature Children of the Snow Land, a deeply touching film about five teenagers returning from boarding school in Kathmandu to their homes in the high Himalayas – one of the poorest and most remote places on the planet.

Vicki Lesley with the second public screening of her first independent documentary The Atom: A Love Affair, telling the turbulent story of the West’s love-hate relationship with nuclear power over 70 years.

Dartmouth Films founder Christopher Herd introducing a strand of hard-hitting and provocative documentaries including this year’s Cannes winner for best documentary For Sama, which explores the life of a young female journalist through love, marriage and childbirth in war-torn Syria.

Inverness curator Lawrence Sutcliffe returning with two more ‘so bad they’re good’ obscure Scottish B-movies – The Man From Planet X, which sees a spaceship landing on an isolated Scottish moor and David Lean’s Madeleine, based on the true story of a young Glasgow woman from a wealthy family who was arrested in 1857 for the poisoning of her lover, leading to ‘the trial of the century’.

Scotland’s mobile cinema the Screen Machine will be parking up by the pier to screen some of 2019’s biggest blockbusters and critical hits, from Todd Philips’ Joker to Toy Story 4 to Bo Burnham’s hit US indie comedy Eight Grade and the Oscar-nominated feature animation The Breadwinner.

The Screen Machine

The Screen Machine will also host the fascinating Her Century, a look at the last hundred years of women’s lives in Scotland curated by Emily Munro from the National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive. From work to home, classroom to croft, girlhood to motherhood, the rare films in Her Century capture lost times, hidden stories and the heartening victories of Scottish women.

Lcal hero Ben turning his living room into a cinema for a free screening of Wim Wenders’ Salt of the Earth, documenting acclaimed Magnum photographer Sebastiao Salgado’s journey to capture the epic beauty of our planet

The festival being rounded off in true community style with a communal curry meal and convivial screening of Won’t You Be My Neighbour?, the new documentary by award-winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom). It profiles Fred Rogers, a creative genius whose compassion inspired generations of children through his quietly radical television show, Mr Rogers’ Neighbourhood

A spokesman for the team behind the festival said: ‘The planning is done: great guests and fantastic films sorted, workshops planned, curry and kegs ordered, and now we can start to get excited about welcoming people to the small but mighty Cromarty Film Festival.’

Cromarty’s community are such film fans that they are in the process of constructing a brand-new, purpose-built cinema which will open in January 2020. The cinema – which will serve the community of 750 locals plus visitors – will run screenings year round.

Tickets are on sale at The Hugh Miller Institute, Church Street, Cromarty, available for Film Society members and Festival Friends from 10am-noon and for all comers from 1-3pm.

Until 4 December, tickets will be available from Eden Court box office, Inverness. Tel. 01463 234 234 or online at

During the film festival, tickets will be available from our box office at the Old Brewery Hub, commencing at 5pm on Friday 6 December.

Cromarty Film Festival 2019 is funded by Screen Scotland.