SCREENING SCOTLAND’S STORIES: Film Adaptations in Twenty-First-Century Scottish Cinema
This thesis surveys book to film adaptations in Scottish cinema in the period 2000-2015. It is the first examination of this practice in a Scottish context which also analyses the operations of Creative Scotland, the public arts body responsible for funding and promoting screen production in Scotland. This thesis asks two central questions: what are the processes by which film adaptations are produced in Scottish cinema? And: do contemporary film adaptations in Scottish cinema engage materially and thematically with ‘the nation’? I do this to test whether or not film adaptation is particularly well suited to speak to a national cultural imaginary. I map out a corpus of film texts produced in the first fifteen years of the twenty-first century, and analyse a selection of those texts in the second half of the thesis. I consider the extent to which industrial and thematic discourses of ‘Scottishness’ are engaged with through and by these films. The understanding of these films as ‘Scottish’, and what that means for both their production and reception, nationally and globally, will be discussed. I argue that the importance of national branding in the production of film remains a crucial component of the global film industry, into which Scottish cinema aims for viability. I categorise my four case studies within the categories of arthouse and popular cinema, in order to better understand the ways in which these films are marketed to, and received by, local and global audiences. Furthermore, this thesis uses these film adaptations to consider the discourses prevalent in Scottish culture in the twenty-first century, by examining those pre-existing texts which are selected for cinematic adaptation. How does the success of prior adaptations shape the range of future texts, and therefore what is deemed viable in Scottish cinema? What recurring representative tendencies are to be found in those film adaptations? How do they relate to the socio-political discourses of their era? This thesis attempts to answers those questions, and in doing so examines how particular discourses are mobilised throughout industrial processes of production, distribution and exhibition, and are readable within the film texts themselves.