Scenes for Survival | Danni the Champion


7 Sep 2020

News Story

Young Danni isn’t like the other girls in town. She’d rather be watching drag races down at the airport or tearing about behind the wheel of her brother’s car, Lynyrd Skynyrd tunes blasting on the stereo. Bored of her life on the island and stifled by her passive-aggressive parents, she dreams of hitting the road and showing everyone what she can do. A powerful short from writer Iain Finlay Macleod, starring Francesca Taylor Coleman and directed by Laura Cameron-Lewis.

Produced by the National Theatre of Scotland, in association with BBC Scotland, Screen Scotland, BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine project, An Lanntair and Studio Fir Chlis with support from Hopscotch Films.

Danni the Champion has now been selected for screening at seven international film festivals to date. The international festivals include: 30th Flickerfest International Short Film Festival 2021, Venice Shorts 2020, Chicago Indie Film Awards 2020, Breakout Film Festival 2020 & 2021, Short to the Point October 2020, 59th Ann Arbor Film Festival and Tokyo International Short Film Festival 2021.

"What I’ve enjoyed most about Scenes for Survival is hearing so many different voices and stories from all over the country. It’s a great format for experimentation and hearing hidden stories you wouldn’t otherwise have heard. It also gave hope to a lot of people during a difficult time, it still does. And it has a real legacy due the Scenes for Survival Hardship fund. I hope it continues. The films are entertaining and thought provoking. It creates a sense of community and connection and has real worth."
Iain Finlay Macleod, Writer

‘I’m thrilled to be working with NTS Scenes for Survival on Iain Finlay MacLeod’s incredible monologue Danni the Champion. As a theatre director who has recently transitioned into making film and television this has been an especially exciting project to work on and it’s been an absolute honour and a joy to bring the world of Danni to life. Exploring the beauty, rhythm and sounds of the Isle of Lewis and its indigenous Gaelic culture was a key part of the work for us, and It’s especially important that young rural people and Gaelic speakers have the opportunity to see themselves in all their complexity and vibrancy on screen and on the stage. This piece is a powerful antidote to the stereotyping of places outside the cities. Growing up on the island, this is Francesca’s debut professional performance and giving a break to a person from the island and shooting this very contemporary piece on the island is a statement of intent. Dig Where You Stand. We are here, we are an innovative centre and not the edge of the world. It was a really rich process to work together to capture the sense of liveness with an almost improvisational feel in Francesca's beautiful portrayal of this fascinating and powerful character. It’s at once cinematic and yet also theatrical — it was important to me to capture the looseness, the liveness, the drive and an almost elegiac feel as the voice is swept away with the muscularity of the music. The main music in the piece (Fois Anama) is my vision of an ancient keening song, a vigil for the passage of a life from one world to the next which in this film, turns out to be a passage into the next stage of her life - breathing the Gaelic spirituality into a banging, rock and rave fused expression of contemporary life on our island. All in all, I’m honoured to have been given the opportunity to bring to life the compelling thrust in the stream of consciousness of Iain Finlay’s poetic and witty storytelling. We hope that you too are swept along with her to her destiny and her discovery of agency and her own power to control her life. ‘

Laura Cameron-Lewis, Director

BSL Introduction

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