TWO Scottish filmmakers are in the running for BAFTAs glory - with their first ever full-length movies.
Fife-born director Paul Wright has been nominated in the outstanding debut category for fishing tragedy drama For Those in Peril at the British Academy Film Awards.
One of the hits of last year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, it has already won two major industry honours at the Scottish BAFTAs - for best film and best film actor for star George MacKay - while Wright won the best debut director honour at last month’s British Independent Film Awards.
He will be up against Aberdeen-born writer-director Scott Graham in the same category for Shell, which explores the relationship between a teenage girl and her father living and working in a remote petrol station in the Highlands.
The film was meant to get its world premiere in Edinburgh in 2012 but was withdrawn at the eleventh hour by its distributors after they discovered it had been ruled out of the running for the best British film award.
It was also honoured at the BIFA awards when star Chloe Pirrie was named best newcomer and won three major awards after it was eventually unveiled at the London Film Festival in 2012.
MacKay, who was also one of the main stars of “Proclaimers musical” Sunshine on Leith, which was released just before For Those In Peril last autumn, is up for the prestigious “rising star” award at the BAFTAs.
However box office hits Sunshine on Leith and Filth, as well as Colin Firth’s new blockbuster The Railway Man, which is based on the memoirs of Edinburgh-born prisoner of war Eric Lomax, all missed out in the BAFTA nominations.
Wright, who won a BAFTA three years ago with the short film Until The River Runs Red, told The Scotsman: “Anything that brings extra attention on the film like this is obviously great news.
“You always kind of hope to make a connection with audiences in some way when you’re working on something and although it’s not the kind of film that everyone would enjoy, we did think it would connect with some people in a big way.”
Graham said: “I had completely forgotten the nominations were coming out so it was a nice surprise to hear I’d been nominated.
“Although we had a cinema release in the spring of last year and we were pleased with how it did, it still feels like a bit of an under-the-radar film, so this can’t do any harm in giving it more exposure.
“I’m already working on another film, which is set on the isle of Iona, which I hope film this summer, so this will hopefully also help raise the finance for that.”
Meanwhile Edinburgh-born filmmaker Ainslie Henderson, who won the BAFTA for best short animation for The Making of Longbird last year, is in the running for the same award this year, for I Am Tom Moody.
And another Scot, Jamie Stone - who is also the son of broadcaster Sally Magnusson and grandson of the late Mastermind host Magnus Magnusson - is one of three filmmakers behind one of the short film contenders, Orbit Ever After.
Scotland’s national arts funding body had provided £300,000 for For Those In Peril, Shell and Sunshine on Leith, which BAFTA said had helped MacKay win his “rising star” nomination.
Caroline Parkinson, director of creative development at Creative Scotland, said: “Scotland has a wealth of film talent and it’s wonderful to see such talents recognised by BAFTA in this mix of superb British film nominations.”
Meanwhile space thriller Gravity is leading the race for BAFTA glory at next month’s ceremony, with 11 nominations, including best film. best director for Alfonso Cuaron and best actress for Sandra Bullock.
Historical drama 12 Years a Slave is in the running for 10 awards, including best film, best actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor and best director for British filmmaker Steve McQueen.
Ejiofor said: “I continue to be immensely proud of the recognition this film is getting around the world. There is, of course, something particularly special about receiving a Bafta nomination from home.”
Also up for 10 awards is the anarchic comedy-drama American Hustle, another contender for best film, which has also won a best actor nod for Christian Bale, a best actress nomination for Amy Adams and a best director shortlisting for David O Russell.
Ejiofor will compete for his best actor award against Bale, Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips, Bruce Dern for Nebraska and Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street.
Bullock and Adams will be up against Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, Emma Thompson for Saving Mr Banks and Dame Judi Dench for Philomena in the best actress category.
Contenders for outstanding British film are Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Gravity, Philomena, Rush, Saving Mr Banks and The Selfish Giant.
Contenders for main British Academy Film Awards
12 Years A Slave
Bruce Dern for Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years A Slave
Christian Bale for American Hustle
Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf Of Wall Street
Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips
Amy Adams for American Hustle
Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine
Emma Thompson for Saving Mr Banks
Judi Dench for Philomena
Sandra Bullock for Gravity
Best supporting actor
Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper for American Hustle
Daniel Bruhl for Rush
Matt Damon for Behind The Candelabra
Michael Fassbender for 12 Years A Slave
Best supporting actress
Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle
Julia Roberts for August: Osage County
Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years A Slave
Oprah Winfrey for The Butler
Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine
Steve McQueen for 12 Years A Slave
David O Russell for American Hustle
Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips
Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity
Martin Scorsese for The Wolf Of Wall Street
Outstanding British film
Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
Saving Mr Banks
The Selfish Giant
Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer
Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson for Good Vibrations
Kelly Marcel for Saving Mr Banks
Kieran Evans for Kelly + Victor
Paul Wright and Polly Stokes for For Those In Peril
Scott Graham for Shell
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