Film set in Falkirk bus stop in the running for top media prize

A scene from the short film 'Just Say Hi' which is based in Falkirk
A scene from the short film 'Just Say Hi' which is based in Falkirk

A short film set in a Falkirk bus stop is in the running for a top media prize.

Just Say Hi, written and directed by John McPhail, is in the top 13 of the Virgin Media Shorts competition - from 860 entries.

John (27) moved to Falkirk two years ago.

He graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama’s digital film and TV course six years ago, specialising in camera and lighting.

John said: “I worked as a camera assistant on films, TV and adverts but I never really settled in the camera department and last year, I discovered what it was I really wanted to do - writing and directing.”

At the time John was staying in a shared house in Greenock, while working with the SFA’s youth teams, and it was his unusual living arrangements which inspired his first film.

He said: “I was working during the day, and he was working nights so we used to leave each other notes.

“I based a romantic comedy around the idea of a couple who never met.

“It turned out better than I could have dreamed.”

Notes has been shown at a number of film festivals in the UK, Canada and the USA, and has been nominated for, and has won, a number of different awards.

John’s second film, V for Visa, was screened at the Edinburgh Film House - and then at the Tribeca cinema in New York as part of the
Bootleg Film Festival last week.

John flew over for the screening, and picked up the prize for best director.

However, it is John’s third - and shortest - film which is in the running for this competition - and a £30,000 prize!

The film, called ‘Just Say Hi’, is a very cute story about a couple who meet at a bus stop. It lasts two minutes 20, and is filmed entirely in Kemper Avenue!

John said: “We said from the start that we would be delighted just to make the shortlist.

“It is great just to be involved.

“Shane Meadows and David Tennant are both on the judging panel, and our film will get a cinema screening before a film in an independent cinema too.”

John’s next plan is to try to encourage investment in order to make a feature
film.

He said: “Hopefully we will rent a screen in a cinema and invite along industry professionals and media and show off our films to say, this is what we can do with no money, and hopefully kickstart some funding from there.”

To watch and vote for Just Say Hi, go to www.virginmediashorts.co.uk