‘Lost’ film on Highland life set to premiere 60 years after it was made

Frame from the recently rediscovered Scottish documentary Lost Treasure, shot in Sutherland and Glasgow, July 1956. Photograph: National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive

Frame from the recently rediscovered Scottish documentary Lost Treasure, shot in Sutherland and Glasgow, July 1956. Photograph: National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive

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A FILM that portrays the hardships of Highland life 60 years ago is set to be viewed by the public for the first time.

Lost Treasure was intended to document the depopulation of the region but was abandoned part way through production, when the company ran out of money. Since then, it has been gathering dust on the shelves of the Scottish Screen Archives.

Frame from the recently rediscovered Scottish documentary Lost Treasure, shot in Sutherland and Glasgow, July 1956. Photograph: National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive

Frame from the recently rediscovered Scottish documentary Lost Treasure, shot in Sutherland and Glasgow, July 1956. Photograph: National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive

Filmed in 1956, the film society Dawn Cine Group wanted to portray how the Highland communities were left desolate after migration to cities in search of better prospects – or being chased out by powerful landowners.

Only 40 minutes of footage was ever recorded.

In the 1970s, one of the film society members donated the film to the Scottish Screen Archives after storing it in their garage for years.

The footage was recorded without sound, but the original script has survived, containing detailed notes of the intended dialogue, music and even the poetry - in both English and Gaelic - that was intended to accompany what had been shot.

Frame from the recently rediscovered Scottish documentary Lost Treasure, shot in Sutherland and Glasgow, July 1956. Photograph: National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive

Frame from the recently rediscovered Scottish documentary Lost Treasure, shot in Sutherland and Glasgow, July 1956. Photograph: National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive

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Edinburgh’s Drew Wright and Hamish Brown, of electric pop band Swimmer One, have created a soundtrack which will be performed live during the screening, taking place on March 16 at Glasgow Film Theatre.

Finnish cinematographer Minttu Mäntynen pieced the film together from the raw footage.

The film was shot mostly in Sutherland and Glasgow.

Frame from the recently rediscovered Scottish documentary Lost Treasure, shot in Sutherland and Glasgow, July 1956. Photograph: National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive

Frame from the recently rediscovered Scottish documentary Lost Treasure, shot in Sutherland and Glasgow, July 1956. Photograph: National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive

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