Catching the eye of Martin Scorsese

Image by Brigitte Lacombe
Image by Brigitte Lacombe

You’re not quite sure what to expect when you seal an envelope addressed to Hollywood film director, Martin Scorsese in New York. Enclosed was a letter from the National Library of Scotland asking him to support our Moving Image Archive campaign. I wasn’t too hopeful but you just never know so I posted it and kept my fingers crossed.

After five weeks I came in one Monday morning to an email from The Office of Martin Scorsese. I held my breath and opened it. The answer was ‘yes’!

The letter to Mr Scorsese explained that the Library was raising funds to transfer the nation’s Moving Image Archive to a new home within a transformed Kelvin Hall in Glasgow. With a base in the west end of the city and state of the art premises, the National Library would be able to reach out to bigger audiences and offer them so much more.

The general public, communities, schools, colleges and universities would have a new and exciting venue for learning, research and to visit for sheer pleasure. With an archive covering 100 years of Scottish history on film and an opportunity to access manuscripts, rare books and maps in digital format, we felt sure that he and other names from the world of film would be interested and keen to back us all the way.

Now that I had Mr Scorsese’s offer of support I felt confident that our run of luck would continue. By the time we were ready to start filming I had a line-up of names from film, television and the arts offering their services in the name of the Library.

Actors Brian Cox, Alan Cumming and Bill Paterson, broadcaster Kirsty Wark, writer Ian Rankin and film makers Mark Cousins and Virginia Heath were all eager to get involved. We even had the attention of film producer Iain Smith, famous for producing Mad Max, Seven Years in Tibet, and The Fifth Element.

All of these talented and extremely busy people gave us their time during the summer and visited the Library in Edinburgh to be interviewed for our short film.

Meeting these extraordinary individuals was an experience in itself but to hear them talk with such passion and enthusiasm about film, archives, the National Library and the move to Kelvin Hall was both inspiring and motivational. Their words underlined how important the campaign was and I knew as the camera rolled that the footage we had on film would not only encourage people to donate but it would also make the people of Scotland feel proud of their rich history that is captured so beautifully in an archive dedicated to the moving image.

You can watch the final cut and donate by visiting our campaign page.


Sarah Adwick, Development Officer at the National Library of Scotland