SCOTLAND/SWEDEN I 2019 I COLOR I 90 MIN. I ENGLISH
With Scheme Birds, filmmakers Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin have delivered a nuanced, lyrical portrait of Scottish teenage Gemma and her small group of friends and family. Striving to succeed amid socio-economic strife in Jerviston, a government housing “scheme”, the community still reels from the bruising deprivations of Thatcherism, and opportunities are elusive. Relief is found in the boxing gym, in small acts of violence, or the cheap booze shared in abandoned play areas. The shadow of austerity lingers throughout, yet lush, expressive cinematography reveals an underlying luminosity that suggests optimism. There’s still light between the grey urban vistas and decrepit buildings. As the heart and soul of the film, Gemma’s voice, resilience and keen awareness of her situation suffuse the film with melancholy. But from a place of futility and crippling ennui, Scheme Birds ultimately ascends to a place of hope…or even something like grace.
Review by: Jim Kolmar
Ellen Fiske | Sweden, 1987
Ellinor Hallin | Sweden, 1986
Ellen Fiske studied documentary film direction at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Stockholm. She has directed the short films Keep Me Safe (2014) and Lone Dads (2015), both of which are set in deprived areas of Scotland. Ellinor Hallin is a director and director of photography with experience in documentaries. She works in Swedish Television SVT and Zentropa Sweden. Scheme Birds, a film in which they both collaborated, was nominated in the category of best documentary at the European Film Awards.