We are excited for the arrival of acclaimed filmmakers and distinguished guest speakers in Montrose for this year's festival. Below, you'll find a list of our expected guests who will be attending.
Where a guest is coming, they will be participating in live onstage Q&A sessions after the screening of their film. We can't wait to share these films with you and hear your questions!
Please continue to check back for updates, as more attendees are still in the process of confirming.
As always with live events, guest attendance is never guaranteed.
Friday 15th September
Nishtha Jain, Director of The Golden Thread
Nishtha Jain is an award-winning filmmaker from Mumbai, known for exploring gender, caste, and class through films like Gulabi Gang (2012), Lakshmi and Me (2007), and City of Photos (2004). Trained at the Jamia Mass Communication Research Centre, New Delhi, and the Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, Jain's works are celebrated globally. Her accolades include a Chicken+Egg award (2020) and membership in the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences (AMPAS).
Mel Ruth Oakley, Collections Curator for Dundee Heritage Trust
Mel Ruth Oakley is the Collections Curator for Dundee Heritage Trust where she cares for and manages the Recognised Collections for Verdant Works and the Royal Research Ship Discovery. Mel is currently working projects to prevent skill loss for operating historical working machinery and preserve the story of Jute in Dundee from the late 1940’s to the closure of the last mill in Dundee.
The UK Premiere of The Golden Thread opens the Festival at 7:30pm. (Opening Reception at 6:30pm)
Saturday 16th September
Dr. Neven Fučkar, climate scientist at the University of St. Andrews
Dr. Neven Fučkar is a climate scientist who specialises in the dynamics and impacts of extreme climate events. Formerly a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow and COP26 Fellow at the University of Oxford, he completed his PhD at Princeton, examining the ocean's role in climate. With a broad expertise, from weather modelling to polar processes to machine learning, Dr. Fučkar's research influences our understanding of climate systems and their effects on human well-being.
Nicole Pearson, Environment Manager with SSE Renewables
Nicole Pearson is an Environment Manager with SSE Renewables, working in offshore wind. Nicole has a B.Sc. in Ecology and Conservation from the University of St Andrews and an M.Sc. in Ecology and Environmental Sustainability from the University of Aberdeen. She has a varied background, from working in local authorities to conservation organisations. She has a strong interest in conservation and working with the local community to encourage people to connect with nature. She also writes a nature themed blog, Wee Wild Wonders.
See Into the Ice at 1:00pm
Peter Cairns, Producer of Riverwoods and Executive Director of SCOTLAND: The Big Picture
Peter Cairns has spent over two decades as a photographer, videographer, nature tourism operator, and environmental communicator. He is co-founder of SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, having previously directed major conservation initiatives. A long-time advocate for rewilding, Peter is a serving board member of Trees for Life, and is a Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers.
Fiona Guest, Scotia Seeds
Fiona Guest has been pivotal in championing the cultivation and preservation of Scotland's native wildflowers, since joining Scotia Seeds in 1995. From Mavisbank's 40 acres, she harvests premium seeds for diverse habitats and gardens. With a dedication to sustainable farming, Mavisbank thrives as a haven for wildlife, reflecting Fiona's biodiversity ethos.
Riverwoods shows at 3:00pm.
Steffen Krones, Director of The North Drift
Steffen Krones, a German filmmaker, began his career through skateboarding and later pursued digital media design. After moving to Canada, he collaborated with other filmmakers, directing award-winning videos, short films, and documentaries, such as The Journey of the Beasts which was presented on German TV Channel ARD as a 'must see'. Krones works across various media, producing content ranging from commercials to innovative hybrid formats. steffenkrones.com
See The North Drift at 5:15pm
Becca Harvey, focus of The Ice Mile and acclaimed swimmer
Becca Harvey, a Freelance Swim Professional and ice swimmer, specialises in cold water swimming and has a passion for coastal wildlife conservation. Her expertise extends from cold water introductions to luxury boat trips, as well as public speaking to emphasise the importance of the wildlife and the environment in water-related activities.
Sunday 17th September
Graham Fellows (aka John Shuttleworth), Director of Father Earth
Graham Fellows has been a paperboy, a champion mouse breeder, a builder's labourer, a barman, a teenage pop sensation, a stage actor, a soap star (well, a few episodes of Coronation Street in 1983), a milkman, a character comedian, a film director, a film star, and a singer/songwriter. Here you can find out more about all the above, read song lyrics, view previously unavailable archive material, plus current info about what Graham is planning next. In the meantime, you should know that despite being left handed Graham has written... "The finest lyrics known to man" ~ The Independent.
See Father Earth at 12:00pm.
Juma Adero, Director of If Turtles Could Talk
Juma Adero is a Kenyan-based filmmaker and writer known for crafting unique narratives that challenge societal norms. His documentaries Shoto and Zumari, created in 2018 as part of a US Embassy initiative, have received much acclaim, and he holds a postgraduate degree in Development Communication from the University of Nairobi. Recently, Juma's film Hypnagogia won five awards at the Nairobi 48-Hour Film Festival, highlighting his multi-faceted talent.
If Turtles Could Talk shows as part of the Keep It Wild shorts programme at 1:30pm
Jake Molloy, key contributor in The Oil Machine
Jake Molloy spent four decades in the oil sector before retiring from his role as RMT Union's regional organiser in Aberdeen representing offshore oil and gas workers. Recognised for championing improved offshore conditions, Jake's insights are instrumental in The Oil Machine. His advocacy extends to ensuring a Just Transition in energy, highlighted by his contribution to the Our Power: Offshore Workers’ Demands for a Just Energy Transition report, published earlier this year by Friends of the Earth Scotland.
Kenny Alexander, North Sea gas worker, turned activist
Kenny Alexander, once deeply entrenched in the petrochemical industry, spent 35 years working in North Sea gas and around Grangemouth's oil and gas complexes. Today, he champions environmental causes. With personal ties to Montrose and offshore training experiences there, he offers a unique perspective on the environmental conversation.
See The Oil Machine at 4:00pm
Mark Fletcher, Director of Patrick and the Whale
Mark Fletcher, with over 25 years of experience, is a renowned wildlife film editor and writer. Having worked with acclaimed filmmakers and written for David Attenborough, his contributions have won over 50 Emmys. His portfolio includes a wide range of films like Andes, the Dragon’s Back and Clever Monkeys. He works globally from his cutting room in Wiltshire. markfletcherproductions.com
Patrick Dykstra, focus of Patrick and the Whale
Patrick Dykstra is a BAFTA-winning cinematographer known for his work on BBC's Blue Planet 2 and other nature programs including Netflix, National Geographic, Discovery, and BBC. Previously a corporate lawyer, he left to pursue passions in filming and adventure. He has filmed in over 102 countries, including extreme environments. He spends significant time each year with sperm whales in Dominica. When not on the road, he is at home in Bristol. pictureadventure.com