It’s with sadness we announce the departure of Marie as our Community Cinema Coordinator. Marie joined NEAT in March 2020 to develop and support our cinema volunteer promoters. Unfortunately, shortly after joining, the pandemic lockdown forced cinemas to close nationwide.

Despite the challenges, Marie remained creative and developed a diverse online cinema program called NEAT at Hame. This included a collaborative screening of the Gaelic film Iorram (Boat Song) and Misbehaviour, featuring a live virtual panel discussion with Philippa Lowthorpe (Director) as part of International Women’s Day 2021.

As lockdown lifted, Marie collaborated with third-sector organisations across Aberdeenshire to promote further screenings, ensuring that NEAT cinema screenings were as inclusive and accessible as possible. These screenings ranged from an autistic-friendly screening with SensationAll to a collaboration with Aberdeenshire South Foodbank, Home Start, Number One Larder (Banchory), and West Banchory Church. There was also a screening of Peanut Butter Falcon with the Aberdeen & Shire Down’s Syndrome Branch. In partnership with the RNLI and
Aberdeenshire Council, Marie transformed Macduff Fish Market into a cinema for the day and screened Launch! On The Sea With Scotland’s Lifeboats, which dived into archive footage of Scotland’s RNLI lifeboat crews, with an immersive soundtrack from some of the UK’s most exciting contemporary musicians.

In October 2022, Marie launched NEAT’s inaugural film festival, The Festival of Darkness: Dracula, celebrating the 125th anniversary of Bram Stokers’ Dracula, which was inspired by Slains Castle. She transformed the old Blair Seminary College into a cinema for the weekend, screening An Interview with a Vampire in the Library and Nosferatu with a live music score by David Allison in the Study Hall. A
30th-anniversary screening of Lost Boys was co-promoted by ARC Cinema Peterhead. Families enjoyed The Little Vampire in Aden Country Park. The festival ended with a screening of Dracula (1931) at Port Errol Hall, where Bram Stoker gave a presentation when staying in Cruden Bay; this time, it was Mike Shepherd and Dacre Stoker’s (Bram’s great grand-nephew) chance to make presentations.

Emyr Bell, the Creative Director, said, “This festival was such a success; I’m so grateful to Marie for bringing this idea to life and for making it such an inclusive, engaging, and entertaining experience for everyone, especially after the dark and miserable two years we had just lived through as the fangs of the pandemic sunk in deep. Marie has already done much planning work for our next Festival of Darkness: Witches 2024, which will honour the needless persecution and execution of those accused of witchcraft”.

Marie’s advocacy for NEAT started long before she joined us in 2020. As an Arts Development Officer with Aberdeenshire Council, she supported NEAT’s growth and success.

We are truly grateful to Marie for her contribution and commitment. We wish her the best as she begins a new chapter at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee studying for a Bachelor in Design degree in Jewellery & Metal Design. We look forward to seeing her creativity flourish and wish her every success.

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