Award for Lawson’s Scottish short

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A SHORT film starring Denis Lawson, which was funded and made in Scotland, has won the top award at a highly rated French festival.

Leonard, in which Lawson plays a man struggling with a compulsive disorder, claimed the 2002 Audience Award at the Clermont-Ferrand short film festival.

Clermont-Ferrand is a specialist short film festival and its most sought-after prize is voted for by the audience at the end of a week-long event.

The film was produced with help from the New Found Land funding scheme, which is sponsored by Scottish Screen with Scottish Television and Grampian Television.

Sandy Ross, managing director of Scottish Television, said: "We always knew Leonard was a very good film, with a stand-out performance from Denis Lawson at the heart of it.

"This award confirms to us that the New Found Land scheme is one of the most successful film schemes launched in Scotland."

Leonard is said to have created interest among international buyers, and the reaction has delighted its director, Brian Kelly. "It is very pleasing to get this kind of accolade from the audience rather than being judged by a jury or a panel," he said.

New Found Land has also financed Solid Geometry, another 30-minute production due to start shooting within the next two weeks.

The film, which is directed by Lawson, will star his nephew, Ewan McGregor.

For Steve McIntyre, the chief executive of Scottish Screen, an additional pleasure of Leonard’s success was the fact that the film had been premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

He added: "Brian Kelly is one of Scotland’s brightest young directors and it is gratifying to watch his progress through our short film schemes. I have no doubt we will be seeing a lot more of his work in the future."

In his next project, Kelly will direct one of this year’s Tartan Shorts, Billy Bongo, under the BBC Scotland/Scottish Screen short film scheme.

For McGregor, the film represents part of his busiest Scottish schedule since he starred in the 1996 film Trainspotting.

After completing work on Solid Geometry, he will star with Tilda Swinton in the 4 million Young Adam, adapted from a story by Alexander Trocchi.