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BAFTA WINNER ‘American Cousins’ selected in OFFICIAL Competition for The Angel Awards – Monaco IFF

The BAFTA award winning ‘American Cousins’ by Highland based director Don Coutts, is to be screened as one of the opening films at this year’s Monaco International Film Festival.

American Cousins, a feature film made in Scotland, has won numerous awards since it first premiered at the Highland Festival and is now competing against six other films at the Monaco Film Festival for the Angel Award Trophy - one of the newest awards, set to rival the likes of the Oscars and the Palm D’Or.


Don Coutts, the director as well as other members of the cast and Donald Shaw, of the band Capercaillie, who wrote the score for the film will be guests at the festival.


Talking about the Festival, Don Coutts said: “I’m really excited that American Cousins is going to be screened in Monaco at this prestigious new festival which has attracted a great deal of interest from the international film industry.”


Don, along with his partner Lindy, runs their company, Move On Up, from Cromarty in Ross Shire.  Both are from the Highlands originally, and moved back to the area with their family ten years ago.


Commenting on running a business in such a fast moving industry from the Highlands, Don said: “It can be difficult sometimes for a production company, especially being based out with the main media centres of Glasgow and London, but this opportunity will hopefully open a lot more doors to us for future work. 


As with all films irrespective of where they are made distribution is the most difficult hurdle to overcome so attending festivals like this is very important as it can provide the opportunity to get wider coverage and distribution.”


Don added: “As time goes on the geographical barriers we used to face being based in the Highlands are definitely diminishing.  This is due to advances in technology and people gaining confidence in what we do. As more people deal with our business they realise that being based in the Highlands is actually an advantage in many ways as the lifestyle and the location are truly inspirational and the ideal setting for encouraging creativity.”


To celebrate the prominence of American Cousins at such a prestigious event Highlands and Islands Enterprise, in partnership with the Scottish Highlands and Islands Film Commission (SHIFC), GoEvents and BAFTA Scotland are hosting a reception after the screening for 100 invited guests.


Iain Hamilton, creative industries manager at HIE, said: “It’s great to get such excellent promotion for the Highlands and Islands at such a prestigious event, bringing what we have to offer to the world stage. 


“Sometimes there are misconception about what can be achieved in the creative industries in the Highlands and Islands but there are lots of exciting, cutting edge projects based here with some excellent talent - whether it be home grown talent or people who have been attracted to relocate to the area by all it has to offer.


“We’re really pleased to have the chance to showcase a wide range of creative talent in Monaco.  It’s not just American Cousins, but also musical talent in the shape of a Highland ceilidh band who will perform at the reception. 


“We hope this event will be the start of future collaborations between ourselves and the festival organisers & founders Rosana Golden & Dean Bentley, so we can build quality relationships and work with international partners in the future, continuing to promote the Highlands and Islands to the global marketplace.”


Trish Shorthouse from SHIFC, added: “This event is a great opportunity for us to make links between the Highlands and Islands and an international audience. 


“It is really important to build these relationships and it will be especially helpful in the run up to Highland 2007, the year Scotland celebrates Highland culture.”


Don’s film is being screened at the festival thanks to Trish’s belief in the film and her persistence at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.  She showed the DVD  to Dean Bentley Executive Producer from the Monaco Film Festival who decided it would be ideal as one of the openeing film for their festival.


Trish said: “It is a great buzz to know that Scottish and specifically Highland based talent will be showcased at this event which is so high profile and has a great reputation within the film world.  We hope it’s a starting place for us to do much more of this kind of promotion in the future. 


“Next year we are launching a short film scheme in partnership with HIE and The Highland Council with the hope that it will provide even more quality material to be showcased at future festivals.


“There is a lot of Italian and American interest in the Monaco Film Festival which is especially good for Don’s American Cousins, which has both an Italian and American influence, even though it is based in Glasgow.  Lets keep our fingers crossed that this will be a launch pad for the film in the Italian and American markets.”


Note to newsdesks:
The Highlands and Islands Enterprise network (HIE) is responsible for economic and community development in an area which covers more than half of Scotland, from Shetland to Argyll.  HIE’s headquarters are in Inverness and most of its services are delivered through ten local enterprise companies.  The Network employs around 550 people and last year invested more than £113 million to help people living in the Highlands and Islands realise their full potential.

For further information on HIE, log onto


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