“I did the whole art thing in London for a number of years before starting work at Napier. At that time London was a fantastic place to be in terms of the visual arts.
Paul Gray is programme leader for BA(Hons) Film in our School of Arts and Creative Industries at Merchiston campus.
“It was hugely different coming back up to Edinburgh. We moved from a busy street in Brixton, an amazing environment, to this little cottage surrounded by trees in the dark: silence.
“A significant thing that happened here was a solo photography show with some video work that came from a residency that I did at Tynecastle Stadium.
“I’m a big Hearts fan and it was around the time when they were in financial difficulties. There was a danger that the stadium was going to be sold.
“So I spent about 12 months just going down and documenting the environment. The culmination of that was that I put a book together called ‘All for One’.
“But the thing I got really excited about during the residency was that I also did this interview piece, called Prediction, with fans going into the ground. I realised I really like collaborating with other people. That whole interaction. After that point I began to shift all my practice towards filmmaking.
“You really feel alive when you’re on set working with others to try and create something. With And Violet, the feature I made, the writing period, pre-production and the editing process was really long. But right in the middle of all that were 19 days of filming that were just the most fantastic, exhilarating experience.
“It’s a cliché to say it’s not really a choice, it’s just what you do, but it’s true. And it never stops… although my kids would probably like it to stop sometimes. They’ll want to go watch the Marvel movies and I’ll be taking them to the Filmhouse to watch some European arthouse kids’ movie. They love it, really.”
Photo used courtesy of Rob O'Donnell.