Robin Haig is a filmmaker from the Scottish Highlands. Her films, both fiction and documentary shorts, have screened internationally. They focus on human connectedness and examine our relationship with self, each other and the land. Her most recent film Hula, starring Blythe Duff, won several awards including the BAFTA Scotland New Talent Award from Drama and toured with the Screen Machine, Scotland’s mobile cinema, preceding Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.

“I applied for the Filmmaking Residency at Cove Park to develop an idea for a feature film that had been bubbling inside me for some time. The residency was about research, experimentation, exploration and play, and required an idea to be at seed stage rather than already formed. It was just right for the stage I was at and felt like a timely gift.

Part of the residency invited me to collaborate with individuals from different sectors. As I was developing an idea inspired by the Highland Clearances, a period in Scottish history from approximately 1750-1850, I chose to work with an historian and a story developer. I split my residency in two. The first was relaxing, spending time reading, exploring and building my knowledge of the period I was interested in. I spent three days with historian James Hunter (The Making of the Crofting Community, Set Adrift Upon the World), asking questions and taking notes. The second period was more intense, it was about making myself put all I had collected and distilled into a story outline. This was driven by story developer Sarah Golding (The Constant Gardener, Lady Macbeth). As a director I think in images and emotions and it is often challenging to translate these into plot. The process of working with Sarah helped me to do this.

Hearing about the practices and processes of the other creatives who were there at the same time as me, and having impromptu conversations, was both inspiring and informative. It’s these encounters that often spark ideas in the most unexpected ways. One such moment was hearing a sound piece in which someone said “Sh sh sh sh sh sh sh sugar coated almonds”. This sparked an entire storyline in my film and resulted in my protagonist saying the line.

Some people return to Cove Park to develop further work and I hope to do the same. I cannot imagine where I would be with this idea without the facilitation of the residency; the space and people I worked with, and the other writers and artists I met. It allowed me to take an idea from seed stage and form it into an outline for a feature film. Thank you Cove Park for this opportunity. What’s the next step you ask? To bring on board a producer and writer to move the project to script stage.”

Robin Haig