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Title: DRIFT BACK, the

Reference number: 6222

Date: 1957

Director: [d. Margaret Tait]

Sponsor: County Council of Orkney Education Committee

Production company: Ancona Films

Sound: sound

Original format: 16mm

Colour: bw

Fiction: non-fiction

Running time: 10.56 mins

Description: The first in a series of films for the Rural Cinema Scheme in the Orkneys, it records the return to the island of Wyre of Neil Flaws, a farmer, and his family at a time when the drift from the northern isles of the Orkneys was of concern to some Orcadians.

The Drift Back was the first, experimental number of a series of films for the Rural Cinema Scheme in the Orkneys. These were films of local news items and the series was called 'The Orkney Magazine'. Dr. Margaret Tait offered her services free to the Rural Cinema Scheme Organiser, at the time a Mr Alex Doloughan.

The content of the film recorded the return to the island of Wyre of Neil Flaws, a farmer, and his family at a time when the drift from the northern isles of the Orkneys was of concern to some Orcadians. Also featured briefly in the film was Ingsay Farm where a Mr George Tait had recently 'drifted back' after some years farming in Aberdeenshire.

The music for the film was played by local musicians. The soundtrack included 'wild' recordings made on a magnetic wire. From discussions stage to completion of the film took three months and the premiere was held on the island of Wyre. As well as screenings at Rural Cinema Scheme venues, The Drift Back was screened as part of the normal programme at the Phoenix Cinema in Kirkwall and was included in a programme of Orkney films shown by Dr. Tait at the Aberdeen branch of the Caithness, Orkney and Shetland Association on 23rd October, 1964 [All above information taken from letter in Paper Archives 4/5/119]

Paper archives held by Scottish Screen Archive.

The Tait papers are deposited in Orkney Archives. Currently being catalogued. For any enquiries please contact Principal Archivist.

"...she had very little state support and few commissions during her working life, and most of her films were self-funded. An exception was The Drift Back (1956) - on the return of expatriates to the island - which was assisted by the Orkney Education Committee and Rural Cinema."
[Source: taken from online resource. No longer available. 3/4/2008]

Film User Vol. 11, No. 30 August 1957

Today's Cinema Vol. 88, No. 7765.30 April 1957

The British Artist's Film and Video Study Collection at http://www.bftv.ac.uk/avantgarde based at Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design holds an artist's file on Margaret Tait.

The British Film Institute National Library http://www.bfi.org.uk holds many of the published articles on her and her work.

In 1979 Margaret Tait was the subject of a BBC Scotland 'Spectrum' arts programme.

Credits: [comm. s. Harald R. Leslie QC]
[ed., sd., p. Margaret Tait]

Shotlist: gvs rocky stacs and shore, Orkney Islands (0.27) George Tait, farmer at Ingsay Farm with his daughter, gvs sheep and sheepdog in field (0.43) c/u head and shoulders woman (0.55) shot of girl feeding cats outdoors (1.01) shot of George standing outside stone house, tractor drives past (1.16) horse drawn cart drives by, hayricks (?) in background (1.30) exts Harbreck Farm, Wyre (1.43) Neil Flaws preparing to move to the farm - gvs as belongings are loaded on to boat from van (3.22) Neil's wife Alice and their children John and Sheila board the postboat from Dingwall, gvs as they clamber over rocks to board it (3.48) ints family on boat, they are thrown from side to side with the swell of the water (4.12) gvs arrival on island of Wyre, the men of Wyre help unload furniture and goods from boat, carry up beach (4.52) the men perform an ancient ritual passing a bottle of whisky around the group and taking a swig (5.49) tractor is used to unload belongings, it gets stuck in mud and the men have to push it along (6.15) exts farm buildings, gvs goods arriving there and gvs men unloading these (8.04) the next morning gvs family looking at their new home, exts as Neil Flaws opens front door and they all enter (8.29) gvs farm outbuildings, Neil Flaws feeds pigs in barn (8.51) happy family scenes, youngest daughter stares to camera (9.12) gvs Wyre school playground, children playing games, they are called in to school by teacher (9.42) two boys walk along stone wall, gvs over island in background - various farms and fields, including the farm of 'Bu' (?) where writer Edwin Muir lived in early childhood, gvs boys playing (10.51) ecs (10.56)