A journey through music, place and time with two of Scotland’s most distinctive voices, the screening will be accompanied by a live set from the former Arab Strap frontman and friends; Moffat will go on tour with the film from Spring 2016 onwards.
In the spring of 2014, Scottish cult-pop raconteur Aidan Moffat and award-winning film-maker Paul Fegan made plans to tour the length of Scotland – to socialise with local characters, carouse into the early hours, and explore the country’s music traditions as part of a folkloric pop voyage called Where You’re Meant To Be.
It was meant to be the basis for a film depicting Moffat’s road trip. It was meant to be a film that celebrated Scotland’s communities and lore, as the former Arab Strap frontman toured his modern re-interpretations of old folk songs. But just before they hit the road, Fegan and Moffat met Sheila Stewart: a 79-year-old force of nature, the last in a line of travelling folk royalty, and a balladeer whose life – and unexpected death in December last year – upturned Moffat’s folk assumptions, and diverted the course of Fegan’s film.
The ensuing film, Where You’re Meant To Be, is a warm-hearted and open-armed journey through Scottish music, landscape and time. It’s also a moving, wry and enlightening depiction of two of our country’s most distinct and vital voices, as they cross paths (and words): Moffat believes Scotland’s oldest songs are ripe for re-working against a contemporary urban backdrop. Stewart does not.
Following Moffat’s initial encounter with Stewart last spring, and with her wrath ringing in his ears, we see him embark on a trip around Scotland’s remote parts with his band in tow, to immerse himself, and his bawdy muse, in folk clubs, gatherings, our oldest songs. He encounters myriad colourful myths and characters along the way: feuding monster hunters at Loch Ness; a heartbroken crofter singing at his kitchen table on the Isle of Skye; a gaggle of chain-mail clad warriors, re-animating history in a village cemetery outside Oban; and many folk singers, folk tales, folk songs.
The film includes Sheila Stewart’s final interview and performance footage – skinning a rabbit in her kitchen, chastising a hand-wringing Moffat in her Volvo, smoking and ruminating on life by the gravestones of her celebrated family of travellers, the Stewarts of Blair, who date back to the 12th Century. Sheila Stewart was their last in line.
When Moffat’s tour of Scotland comes full circle – back to Glasgow, where he lives, and where it all began – he finds himself cornered as Stewart takes her last stand at the Barrowland Ballroom. The world-famous venue is a fitting locale for their crowning face-off: a symbol of social gatherings past; the best-loved rock stage in the world; and a recurring character in a film – and love story – with a sense of community at its heart.
It’s also the venue which will host a very special premiere of Where You’re Meant To Be on Friday 19th February as part of Glasgow Film Festival – the first time the Barrowland has ever been used for a film screening. There will also be live performances from Aidan Moffat and his backing band (featuring members of The Twilight Sad and Bdy_Prts) and other traditional musicians who star in the film. The first 300 ticket-holders will receive a limited edition seven-inch tour EP.
It promises to be an unmissable evening, and a fitting premiere for a beautiful film about two vital Scottish artists; about a road trip that found its own path.
Following its premiere, Where You’re Meant To Be will tour venues across Scotland, with full tour dates announced soon.
Aidan Moffat said of the film: “Originally, I wasn’t even supposed to be in the film all that much, which is why I agreed to it. But somehow I ended up dressed in chainmail and dry-suits, lugging around a fake Nessie hump, and being scolded by a septuagenarian folk legend in an extremely confined space. It was meeting the formidable Sheila Stewart that set the new course for the film; but we met some other brilliant folk along the way, ending up with what I hope is a fun film on legacy and tradition in Scotland today. And, for a film about death, it’s pretty funny.”
Where You’re Meant To Be: Premiere (as part of Glasgow Film Festival): Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom, Feb 19th 2016, 7.30pm (tickets £15). Tickets on sale now – call 0141 332 6535 or book online at glasgowfilm.org or whereyouremeanttobe.com
Watch the Trailer.
For interviews, hi-res film stills, press tickets etc please contact Ruth Marsh on 078244 68396 / firstname.lastname@example.org
About Aidan Moffat
Aidan Moffat is one of Scotland’s most distinctive musical and literary voices. A compelling performer, lyricist, author and storyteller, the former Arab Strap singer won 2012’s Scottish Album of the Year Award for his collaboration with Bill Wells, Everything’s Getting Older. His latest album with Bill Wells, The Most Important Place In The World, was released last year.
About Paul Fegan
Paul Fegan’s debut short documentary, Pouters (2012) (a Bridging the Gap commission), won countless awards including Best Documentary (Jury Award) at London Short Film Festival, Best Film (Audience Award) at Hamburg International Short Film Festival and Best Scottish Short Film (Jury Award) at the Glasgow Short Film Festival. He also directed Moffat and Wells’ promo video for The Copper Top. Pouters can be viewed here.
About Sheila Stewart
Sheila Stewart MBE (1935-2014) was Scotland’s definitive ballad singer. A storyteller and traveller who was born in a stable in Blairgowrie, she honed her voice while berry picking in Perthshire, sang for the Pope and performed in the White House, and her tales and songs and lore found friends in the likes of Hamish Henderson, Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl. In the foreword to Stewart’s 2011 autobiography, A Traveller’s Life, storyteller Jess Smith called Stewart “the vibrant heart of Scotland’s travelling folk”.
Where Your Meant To Be was supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme and Creative Scotland’s Screen Funds.
Mark Thomas, Screen Officer, Creative Scotland said: “Creative Scotland is delighted to have supported ‘Where You’re Meant to be’ through Culture 2014 and Creative Scotland’s screen funds. ‘Where You’re Meant to be’ is Paul Fegan’s debut feature documentary and is a modern day road movie that follows musician Aidan Moffat on a traditional folk music journey into the heart of some of Scotland’s local communities. The UK premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival within the iconic Barrowlands Ballroom is the perfect setting for the film and an exciting addition to what will be a fantastic programme of pop up cinema events across the city.
Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com. Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland
Scottish Documentary Institute
Scottish Documentary Institute (SDI) is an internationally recognised documentary centre based at Edinburgh College of Art/University of Edinburgh specialising in documentary training, production and distribution, set up in 2004. We run a diverse slate of international activities in order to stimulate and inspire the documentary scene in Scotland and beyond. Straddling between art and industry, we support authored films driven by content and emotional experience. We have developed audience innovation tools and strategies through bespoke campaigns for our award-winning films (I Am Breathing, Future My Love) and are committed to the promotion of documentary and filmmakers worldwide.