Film made with £50 budget proves a banker for success
Edinburgh actor Craig Moncur
Now an actor-turned-filmmaker has been invited to show his debut five-minute feature at one of the world's top independent film festivals.
Craig Moncur, who played the main character in BAFTA award-winning series Jeopardy, and has had parts in Rebus and Monarch of the Glen, decided to go behind the camera after a taking a four-day course last July.
But he didn't expect the monologue he wrote, shot and edited, named The Banker, to reach more than internet 120,000 hits within two months and inspire a call from the prestigious Myrtle Beach International Film Festival.
In the film, a well-to-do banker sneers at the world for focusing on the small, inane things, while big industry bosses subtly control what really matters.
Craig, 27, from East Craigs, said: "I had no idea it would be that big. I expected to get maybe a couple of thousand hits over the course of the year, but it went out when the banks were seeing the second round of bail-outs and people were interested.
"In one day I got 17,000 hits and it built up from there. Then one day I got a call from the director of the festival. He told me he liked the film and that showing it was a good way into Hollywood. You would normally have to pay a fee even to have films considered for entry to the festival, so I was delighted.
"Some of the films that are going to be shown have crazy budgets of up to 100,000, but mine cost around 50 as I paid the actor's expenses."
Craig, who played Harry Hastings in the BBC's award-winning Jeopardy and was Jamesie McMurray in Rebus, said he had always wanted to write. He began penning The Banker last July after a course in basic film-making at Napier University, then filmed and edited it over four hours in November.
He said: "I wanted to do a monologue looking at how many people are influenced by money and seem to be using it for the wrong reasons. I wanted to get a serious idea across about politics and bankers, so I thought a poem would be effective and draw people in.
"People are influenced by music and if you hear a good song they'll often hum it all day, so I thought the flow would keep it in people's minds. The banker in my story tells of how big industries rule the world in a cold and conceited manner.
"I wanted to point out that when people have too much money, it becomes irrelevant to them. The next thing they want is power and, because they are untouchable and out of touch with the world, this is a dangerous thing."
The Banker is set to be shown at the festival, held in South Carolina, between April 19 and 23. It is one of four international films on the programme. Craig said: "I would love to go, but I can't afford it. I am also making a new 20-minute film now and I'm being ambitious about it. I don't want to be seen as a one trick pony."
Watch the film at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=peX4dBEF0Vg.
AS William Montague III (Michael Daviot) reads from Huxley's Brave New World Revisited, which discusses the issues of overpopulation and mind control on society, he explains that the ills of our planet can be laid at the feet of the powerful.
Moncur effectively moves between a few simple camera angles, a slowly-ticking clock and the occasional raised eyebrow.
He succeeds in getting his darkly-comic message across succinctly, though there's little sign of a happy ending for the film or humanity. JONATHAN MELVILLE