update 17: the last post


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  • Deirdre Campbell - 13 January 14 -

    Dear May

    I am sorry to see your blog go as I have only just discovered it late in 2013 and had the good fortune to have the opportunity to see your film Devils Plantation and then alerted a friend to go along and see it. We were both very impressed and would love to see it again.

    I am sad that film makers in Scotland cannot receive funding for their work and get their art out to a wider audience.

    I look forward to your next project.

    Good luck in all you do – keep positive and strong.



    • May Miles Thomas - 13 January 14 -

      Thanks Deirdre,

      That’s very kind of you. I’ve loved writing the blog but need to move on with my new project which I hope to start shooting this year. Of course funding would be useful but as it is, I – and many of my fellow filmmakers – are ineligible under the current criteria at Creative Scotland. Maybe that will change when they appoint a new Head of Film/Media. Thanks again for watching my film and for recommending it to your friend. It means a lot to me.

      Best wishes,

  • Donna Coomer - 12 January 14 -

    Rock on May, and be sure to take us along!

    • May Miles Thomas - 12 January 14 -

      Thanks Donna! I will.

  • Doug Aubrey - 9 January 14 -

    Wonderful blog post May to end the Devil’s Plantation with. I fully understand and appreciate the issues and concerns you raise. It seems as the act and art of film-making becomes ever more accessible, film’s distribution and exhibition has gone in the opposite direction.

    You, I and several other wonderful Scottish film-makers whenever we do get a chance to screen our works often globally, end up playing to full houses and audiences who appreciate our work – even if Scotland’s less than wild bunch of film festival directors and the pitiful group of so-called film critics here, cynically ignore what we do and the reaction it gets elsewhere.

    Sadly film-making and the thing that use to be called Feature documentary in Scotland is controlled and made by an exclusive Edinburgh club, who increasingly seem to be making the same kind of film you refer to in your blog.Film-making comes with an academic tenure attached to it, rather than the kind of maverick spirit, vision and sense of independence that you represent as a true professional. But in the end the fact is you’re still doing it and that’s what really matters. I – like you wake up in the morning and the first thing I think is I’m a film-maker with an independent spirit who’s on a journey that matters – even if a few cynical broadcasters and an academic clique like to think otherwise.

    All the best with the new project!
    Doug Aubrey

    • May Miles Thomas - 9 January 14 -

      Thanks Doug,

      I’ve written this blog since 2007 and in many ways I’m sad to close it. Over the years I’ve had tens of thousands of active readers, many of whom, like us, have seen a vibrant, risk-taking filmmaking culture hijacked by a minority of self-serving, perennial subsidy seekers with no vision other than keeping themselves afloat on the public dime. These are hard times – and as long as people are forced to work on zero-hours contracts, minimum wage, or depend on food banks, filmmakers ought to look to themselves to change how films get made and seen and quit lobbying for the status quo, or worse, the return of Scottish Screen and its attendant nepotism.

      All the best,

  • David Gibson - 8 January 14 -

    Hello May,
    As always the quest for Truth in art is elusive.

    But the certain truth which you write I share.

    Is it possible, in 2014, in the UK, ‘Artists’ have befallen the same fate of the Mineworkers, Steelworkers, Shipbuilders, etc. un-globalised and priced out by cheap imitations and commercial pap?

    What kind of Society and Culture feasts on TV with trailers for ‘another’ series of programmes lifting big fat people from their homes, for example, into an ambulance with roof cut off to accommodate the person so obese yet yearning for celebrity at any cost.

    Today, in my studio, looking at thousands of photographic negatives, all self funded, and thinking about over 30 years of making art – paintings, films, etc. The self costed journey I can hardly fathom and knowing the vast amount is unseen, incomplete, and no one comes knocking with offers of critical appraisal, exhibitions, publications, archive etc. All, I must continue to do as always I have done – D.I.Y.

    Add the Town Planning-as-Art, also some nigh 30 years worth, the stuff which ‘should’ make Places, Society and Culture better for People but not realised.

    Deduction suggests dumbed down freedomless society feeds on the stuff keeping culture and certainly art at base level of sub-worth elevated to the lowest common denominator of trash as illusion of wealth and celebrity afforded to anyone desireing their ‘own’ truth or vulgarly consuming that of ‘the other’ greedily and accepting no morals or ethics because its ‘democratic’ to do so-the majority does it.

    Ironic? This suggested ‘fascist’ democracy for UK living in 2014.

    The only solution may be to fight greed by making art selflessly with soul seeking truth.

    I give you honesty May, one to one, recognising and rejecting all that is false.

    As always, I wish you the best of all you can muster and good luck on the next chapter and project. The last one was quite brilliant and not elusive.


    Yours aye,


    • May Miles Thomas - 9 January 14 -

      Thanks David,

      I’m very touched by your comments. It seems that on the ground of creative endeavour here in Scotland many people feel the same way as you and I – just as I know that for many years you’ve had the conviction to keep working for what you believe in. There’s something fundamentally wrong with a system of arts funding that fails to support, recognise or give a platform to those of us who, year in, year out, continue to contribute to the culture, regardless of a lack of public largesse or media hype. I wish you all the best with your future projects. Never give up.


    • Obladi - 2 May 14 -

      Mr Gibson, I’m afraid your viewpoint is riddled with contradictions. Sorry, but it is. I’ll give one or two examples but I am really not here to discuss this sort of thing.

      On one hand you criticise society in very scathing terms on the basis that it feeds on dumbed down junk. And yet the thrust of your argument is that these people should in some way pay towards your art, thereby paying you to look down your nose at them. Not on.

      You also give the impression that your involvement in art has been 30 years of unrewarded toil. If you feel that way about it, I can only wonder why you do it since the money seems to be so bad.

      On a divergent note, it seems odd that you are so absorbed in those self funded negatives you mention when the world has moved on to digital. Maybe that explains your situation though, even if it leaves us rather puzzled about you.

      Analogue man In a digital world anyone? Do you want to go large with that?

      You know, why should “artists” expect any better treatment than miners? Why do you talk about self funded negatives as if we are somehow under obligation to fund your interests?

      Sincerely, If art goes hand in hand with the sort of snobbery you exhibit, you can keep it. An if you have a problem with the socio-economic system, spell it out — don’t criticise it on your own selfish terms for your own selfish reasons. The logical extension of what you argue is that you would be happy enough in this very same system if only it would more lavishly fund your “art”.

      • May Miles Thomas - 2 May 14 -

        Deep breath – okay, I approved this comment only because it’s either a hoax rant or it’s a genuine criticism of my friend, David Gibson, who took the time and effort to write. So Obladi – if you, as you say, are not ‘really here to discuss this sort of thing’ then why are you here? This is my blog, not Mr Gibson’s so I would appreciate it if you stay on-topic and not spill your guts in my wee corner of the blogosphere.

  • Mary Henderson - 8 January 14 -

    What a depressing situation, with a small smidgin of hope. At least you are still in there fighting – as I expect lots of others are. All the best with your endeavours anyway. The poetry film sounds a great idea.

    • May Miles Thomas - 8 January 14 -

      Thanks Mary,

      You’re right – it is a depressing situation but it’s positive too because it means being forced on your own initiative and resource so I intend to go on fighting to make what I can with what I’ve got. I know many talented but overlooked filmmakers who are effectively barred from applying for funding because, like me, they don’t meet the funder’s criteria. Onwards and upwards!

      Best wishes,