Video: Snapshot of nation set for premiere

IT has been edited down from more than 300 hours of footage submitted by more than 1500 people the length and breadth of Scotland.

But a cinematic snapshop of the nation in 2012 is finally set for a red-carpet premiere - and a moment of glory for more than 120 would-be filmmakers.

Material for the 12-month project billed as Scotland’s first ever “crowd-sourced film” was sourced via a social media campaign and the staging of dozens of workshops around the country.

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The first edited footage of We Are Northern Lights has today been revealed by the project’s coordinator, Glasgow film-maker Nick Higgins, in a teaser trailer, along with a series of stills from the finished film.

His project, which was funded to the tune of £250,000 by Creative Scotland, will culminate in a gala premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival next week, followed by a nationwide tour.

And it is thought up to 50 of the “co-directors” of the project will be in attendance.

Footage featured in the final film was captured at major events like T in the Park and the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh, as well as club nights, a ballroom dancing event and a fashion show.

However there has been footage used captured in some of Scotland’s most remote outposts, including the St Kilda, Skara Brae on Orkney, and the Isle of Eigg, in the Small Isles.

The teaser trailer - posted on the project’s official website today - also shows ordinary people enjoying a barbecue, playing musical instruments, walking in the snow and even swimming in the River Clyde.

Mr Higgins, who also lectures in media and culture at Edinburgh University, as well as making documentary films, worked on the project with Colin Monie, a film editor who worked on the acclaimed Peter Mullan feature Neds.

He said the film was only finally edited in December following months of viewing submissions, then trying to narrow down the footage he wanted to use.

The 41-year-old told The Scotsman: “I was back in 2010 that I had the original idea. I thought it was an interesting time in Scotland and was very keen that it was opened up to ordinary people to submit their own footage, not just filmmakers.

“We pretty much promoted it through social media like Facebook and Twitter after launching the project in March, although we ran more than 50 workshops around the country during the three-month submission period.

“We wanted to make the project as accessible as possible, so we encouraged people to submit footage from their mobile phones if they wanted, despite being warned about that in advance, but the quality of the footage we got was excellent.

“We ended up with 50,000 people visiting the website over the three month submission period and got more than 300 hours of footage sent to us.

“I was watching a lot of the material when it came in but still had a lot to watch when the submission deadline passed. It definitely became much more than a labour of love, but I’m very pleased with how the final film has turned out.

“Whilst individually the videos might not be considered of national importance, collectively they combine to create something truly original and inspiring. It’s an image of a new Scotland that might surprise some people.”

We Are Northern Lights will be premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival on 16 February, when Nick Higgins will also take part in a Q&A. Full tour dates are available at

The 121 co-directors of We Are Northern Lights

Lindsay Brown, Justin Owen, David Mackenzie, Calum Maclean, Pauline Johnson, Norman Bissell, Amand Connor, Kev Mclaughlin, Ken Jack, Àdhamh Ó Broin, Anita Norfolk, Paul Fegan, Billy Sangster, Christina King, Soozie Tarkenter, Scott McKelvie, Etienne Kubwabo, Gary Cullen, Kerry Louise Leonard, Andrew Williams, Noreen Real, Elena Sedounouv, Darren Dowling, William Dowling, Betty Allardyce, Scott Ironside, Leo Bruges, James Houston, Hamish Ian Finlay, Alastair Cole, Jamie Price, Chris Robertson, Connor Duff, Mike Donald, Simon Sylvester, John Haydock, Martin Glegg, Colin Stephen, Julien Pearly, Tine Rillaert, Peter Terner, Amanda Patterson, Glenn Cormie, Brian Sweeney, Jamie Gillespie, Lucy Conway, Andrea Sayers, Emily Ward, Andy Low, Melanie Low, Gordon Old, Paul McCann, Jean Donaldson, Lindsay Allardyce, Gary Brown, Andy Wales, Patrick McKinley, Peter Mackie Burns, James Madden, Scott Morrison, DT Wilson, Thomas Stenhouse, Sophie Morrish, Bubble TV, Andrew McNeil, Walter Haywood, Elena Kholkina, Deborah MacVicar, Anne Corrance Monk, Gillian Martin, Paul Bissett, Ross Colquhoun, Jason Roseweir, John Sharp, J Scott Murray, Daniel Griffin, Demelza Kooij, Fynn Elkington, Scott McGoldrick, Hannah McAndrew, James A Robson, Jim Monaghan, David Calder, Laura Dolan, Hannah Rastell, Guy Thomson, Greg Hughes, scotscapian, Lorna McAdams, Amy Bartraham, Kellie Donnelly, Renée Slater, Jacqui Innes, Maria Duncan, Peter Thomson, David Graham Scott, Jim Dallas, Chris Ferguson, Teresa Bell, Leo Saidenough, Marie Olesen, Nicholas Quinn, Eilidh Robertson, Andrew Merson, Chris Leslie, Lizanne Phee, Allan Groves, Corinna Kidd, Frazer Watt, Mark Beagan, Jack Archer, Liam Young, mpvt, Robert Burns Museum, Mehmet Kozal, Stuart Crawford, Sahra Bhimji, Lu Martin, Nicola Whyte, Abigail Howkins, Eilidh Murdoch