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‘Launch!’ comes to Belmont Filmhouse

Lifeboats News Release

Launch!, a short film directed by Shona Thomson, that captures the stories of Scotland’s volunteer RNLI crews, will be shown in Aberdeen’s Belmont Filmhouse on 16th and 17th October.

A Kind of Seeing // Shona Thomson

Following the screening, members of Aberdeen’s own RNLI volunteer crew will be on hand for a Q&A session, answering questions about what it’s really like to volunteer for the charity that saves lives at sea.

Directed, researched and edited by Shona Thomson in a co-production with Screen Argyll, the film has been two years in the making with unprecedented access to the RNLI’s own archives. 1920s film footage of lifeboats sourced from the National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive is woven with 1960s colour promotional films and breath-taking digital video captured by RNLI crews’ 21st-century helmet cameras whilst out on the wild sea.

Launch! is supported by EventScotland as part of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, by The National Lottery and the Scottish Government through Screen Scotland, and Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network.

Reflecting modern volunteer lifeboat crews, Launch! also features images of the women who save lives at sea in Scotland. These were taken using glass plate photography by Jack Lowe as part of The Lifeboat Station Project – Jack’s eight-year mission to photograph all RNLI lifeboat stations in the UK.

Crew members Chloe Urquhart and Mark Gray will be taking part in a dedicated Q&A session with the director, Shona, at the Saturday showing, followed by Ciaran McRae and Andy Haines on Sunday.

The film’s director and award-winning curator of A Kind of Seeing, Shona Thomson said: “However long it’s taken to make, Launch! has always been a film about celebrating and sharing the crucial work of RNLI volunteers across the country – it’s using the past to talk about the future.

“By bringing it to audiences in their local cinemas, this tour is reaching into the hearts of communities and offering everyone a safe and special big screen immersive experience. It’s really inspiring to see this exciting creative collaboration between the Belmont Filmhouse and RNLI Aberdeen crewmembers attending both screenings. I'm so proud they will offer fascinating lifeboat stories from the seas off the coast of Aberdeen and the east of Scotland being presented alongside Launch! I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone there.”

A spokesperson for Aberdeen RNLI said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be co-hosting this showing of Launch! at the Belmont Filmhouse. The film really captures the RNLI, its history and it’s volunteers in Scotland so wonderfully. Launch! been touring Scottish cinemas since June and we’re excited to bring it to Aberdeen and have some of our own volunteer crew on hand to answer questions after the showing. It’s definitely not one to be missed!”

Tickets to the film can be purchased via the Belmont Filmhouse website here:

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.