John Archer

Documenting Grierson

Born the son of a headmaster in Cambusbarron, near Stirling, John Grierson directed one of the first documentaries, Drifters, set up the influential GPO Film Unit making Night Mail, and went on to be the first director of The National Film Board of Canada.

The annual awards for best documentary are made in his name. He set out to make films to change the world, and made not just films, but filmmakers.

Oscar Marzaroli- Man with a Camera

Paris had Cartier-Bresson, New York - Diane Arbus and Glasgow - Oscar Marzaroli. Man with a Camera celebrates the life and work of Glasgow's pre-eminent photographer, using some of the 50,000 shots taken over thirty years - a moving portrait of a love affair between a man and his city, and the affection in which he is held today.

Marzaroli's black-and-white photographs have become synonymous with a post-war Scotland in the throes of regeneration. They captured both the aspects of the old, such as the rag-and-bone man in the Gorbals or the cockle gatherers of Barra, and the paraphernalia of the new - cranes, towers and construction at Glasgow's Charing Cross.

As Glasgow's landscape changes once again and the high-rises that Marzaroli documented going up are gradually being razed to the ground, this film celebrates Marzaroli's remarkable photographic legacy.

View clips on the BBC website.

Director Brian Ross

Producer John Archer

What Do Artists Do All Day- Frank Quitely

BBC4 Series- What do artists do all day

Frank Quitely is the alter ego of Glaswegian comic-book artist Vincent Deighan. As one of a group of British writers and artists who have reinvented the superhero genre, Frank's depictions of iconic characters like Superman, Batman and the X-Men have provided inspiration for some of Hollywood's biggest movie franchises.

In this film, we follow Frank over the course of a day and night as he works on a single page from his latest work, the epic superhero saga Jupiter's Legacy.

Director Joseph Briffa

Producer John Archer

Scottish Country Dancing: Controlled Abandon


Celebrating 90 years of The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. At weddings, Hogmanay, a local ceilidh, or formal dinner dances Scottish Country Dancing can be an art form with the precision and nuance of ballet, or just a great big glorious hooley. Following dancers at the International Summer School in St Andrews then back home to Munich and Tokyo this warm and heartfelt documentary looks at this global phenomenon. Includes detailed dance instruction and rare archive for newcomers and aficionados alike.

Director Joseph Briffa 

Producer John Archer

Dream Me Up Scotty

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Alex Norton goes on a Scottish accent safari hunting for the good the bad and the totally bowfing of mock jock acting. For over 100 years audiences have struggled to understand our braw brogue: silent Harry Lauder films attempted an accent in the captions, and in Hollywood’s golden era , everyone wanted to paint their tonsils tartan– but as examples from Katharine Hepburn, Orson Welles and Richard Chamberlain show, they couldnae. Then Disney made Brave and proved that it disnae have to be all bad.

Director John MacLaverty

Producer John Archer

Alasdair Gray: A Life in Progress


Kevin Cameron has spent well over a decade with Glasgow’s best-known artist – and has produced a remarkable profile of him at work on some of his best-known murals in the city, as well as tracing his hugely varied career from his days studying at art school.

It is no exaggeration to say it could completely redefine how Gray is perceived as he prepares to turn 80 next year. - The Scotsman, 13 October 2013

Cameron’s film places Gray within the context of a world in which he is renowned, but also explores the reality of his life in the city that provides his greatest inspiration. - The Skinny, February 2013

For more information, have a look at A Life in Progress website.

Iboga Nights

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David Graham Scott returns to the drug that saved his life- is ibogaine really a wonder drug?

Ibogaine is an extract from a plant root that hails from Africa. A burgeoning movement in the west has promoted iboga as a quick fix route to painless withdrawal for drug addicts. David successfully treated his own methadone addiction ten years ago, and now he wants to find out how effective the treatment is for others. 

In a Dutch suburb several addicts embark on the long night of psychedelic detox under the watchful eye of an experienced iboga practitioner. One client collapses and ends up on a life-support, the provider is jailed and David starts to question the safety of iboga treatment. 

David follows several addicts, gaining a personal understanding of their world and how their lives hang in the balance. Will iboga work its miracles?

Directed by David Graham Scott

Produced by John Archer

For more details see the Iboga Nights website here

Watching Ourselves series 2


Our second series of Watching Ourselves returns with Greg Hemphill at the helm to celebrate more gems from the past 60 years of television in Scotland.

In a four part series, we examine how Hogmanay shows have, for better or worse, defined our culture at this very Scottish time of year. We revisit the heyday of the Scottish swashbuckler, a genre ruled by swordfights and skullduggery and talk to some of its dashing heroes.  Over the years producers and directors have made ground-breaking programmes capturing the artist at work, no mean feat when you're dealing with some of the nation's most challenging talents. And finally there's the weird and the wonderful ways in which television has celebrated the life and works of our most cherished national hero, Robert Burns. From the kitsch to the clever, the far-out to the fabled, Burns has been a staple of Scottish television since the formative years.

Featuring interviews with Michael Gambon, John Cairney, Billy Connolly, Eileen McCallum, Mary Marquis, Janis Forsyth, Iain Glen, Andrew O'Hagan, Alex Norton, Brian Cox and more!

Boccia Brothers

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With the countdown to the London Paralympic Games well under way, this documentary tells the inspiring story of a bid by two brothers from Lanarkshire to be chosen for the once-in-a-lifetime event. Narrated by Billy Connolly, Boccia Brothers follows Peter and Stephen McGuire from Hamilton in the lead up to the selection process for the Games.

Their discipline is Boccia, a sport similar to French boules and which is believed to have ancient Greek origins. The programme picks up the story with the McGuire brothers riding high in the sport's rankings.

Stephen and Peter have an undiagnosed form of Muscular Dystrophy. Their lives have been burdened with their fair share of heartbreak and misfortune, yet they are inspiring and funny throughout. As well as being skilled practitioners of their sport, they are engaging and amusing characters during the journey.

The story of their quest for selection goes from the Scottish Championships to the International Championships in Portugal and on to the crunch date when the contenders find out if they have made a final cut.

Directed by Martin Clark and Cara Connolly

1911: Review of the Year

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Hopscotch Films were commissioned by BBC Learning to create a unique window into what life was like one hundred years ago. With a mix of archive, animation and specially shot footage, we tell the story of six amazing events from the perspective of the witnesses. These are the stories you would be reading about in the newspapers one hundred years ago:

Bombing Raids in Libya:  Italian forces attack Libya in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire.  They drop bombs from small planes in the world’s first air raid.

Industrial Unrest in Glasgow: Women protest against a cut in wages and ten thousand workers strike at the Singer factory.

Armed Gang in shootout with the Police: Home Secretary Winston Churchill watches as police and army battle a gang of jewel thieves.

Art Theft in Paris: the Mona Lisa  is stolen from the Louvre.  It’s so famous it’s unsellable, the police suspect it’s a prank by the modernists.

The Conquest of the South Pole: Admunsun triumphs over Scott in a tale of adversity and heroism.

Street Protests for Democracy : Suffragettes storm parliament and smash windows demanding the vote.

Produced by; John Archer, Carolynne Sinclair Kidd

Directed by: Clara Glynn, Dhivya Chetty, Ewan Morrison, Joseph Briffa, Aileen Ritchie