Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

New film shot on Lewis is now showing in cinemas

Belgian filmmaker Bouli Lanners says the beauty of Stornoway inspired his film Nobody Has To Know starring Game of Thrones actor Michelle Fairley.

The film Nobody Has To Know was filmed on the Isle of Lewis.
Bouli Lanners stars in Nobody Has To Know alongside Game of Thrones star Michelle Fairley. Image: Ruth Marsh

He doesn’t know where it came from or why, but for some inexplicable reason Belgian filmmaker Bouli Lanners has always felt Scottish.

As a young child growing up in the rural Belgian countryside, Bouli had a fascination with the bagpipes and even took a DNA test to find out whether he had any tartan running through his blood.

“I don’t know why and I don’t know where it comes from, but I’ve always thought I was Scottish,” says Bouli.

“As a child I was fascinated with the bagpipes, but in the Belgian countryside in 1975 you can’t find a bagpipe teacher.

“I even did a DNA test to see if I’m Scottish but I’m not.

“But I do have a map of Scotland tattooed on my arm.”

Filmmaker Bouli Lanners says he’s always felt Scottish. Image: Bouli Lanners

Film shot on Isle of Lewis

More than 50 years on and Bouli’s unfathomable yet deep affinity with Scotland plays out on the big screen with Nobody Has To Know, a romantic movie he has written, directed and filmed on the Isle of Lewis.

Described by critics as a tearjerker, the film tells the story of Phil, a Belgian farmhand (played by Bouli) who is left with amnesia after suffering a stroke, who is told by the farmer’s daughter that they have been secret lovers.

“I wanted to do a movie in Scotland for so many years but I couldn’t find a good story,” says Bouli.

“At first I wanted to write a crime story but then I decided it had to be a love story.

“If you make a love story and it doesn’t work it’s really awful though, so I was scared to make it.

“But I wanted to make a love story about older people like me, not people in their 20s. I wanted to speak about love when you’re in your 50s and 60s.”

Bouli Lanners, front, pictured with the film crew on the Isle of Lewis. Image: Bouli Lanners

Game of Thrones star

In the film, Game of Thrones, Suits and 24 star Michelle Fairley plays Millie, who is helping Phil with his recovery.

“Michelle was great, she’s amazing,” says Bouli.

“I’m very proud of the whole cast because they’re all great.”

Growing up in rural Belgium, his mum a cleaner and his dad a farmer, Bouli’s life was a world away from the glitz and glamour associated with the film industry.

A keen painter, he briefly attended art school before moving to Liège where bar work led him into the film industry.

Game of Thrones star Michelle Fairley takes on the role of Millie in the film. Image: Ruth Marsh

“When I worked in bars, I met people working in movies and that’s where it all started,” says Bouli.

“I was small and fat so I used to get typecast and that’s where I learned about the film industry.

“Writing films came later.”

A major turning point for Bouli came when he lost his father.

“It was a shock when my father died,” says Bouli.

“At the time I was trying to shoot my first short movie.

“It was a major turning point as losing my father made me determined to make something of my life.

“I know my father is there with me and I think about him.”

Bouli Lanners says losing his dad inspired him to make something of his life. Image: Ruth Marsh

Falling in love with Scotland

It was 39 years ago when Bouli first set foot in Scotland as an adventurous 19-year-old.

“When I first came to Scotland I slept in my car,” laughs Bouli.

“I loved travelling across Scotland as it was easy because people were friendly everywhere.”

The one place that really captured Bouli’s heart though was Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.

“I think I’ve travelled all the roads in Scotland but my favourite place is Stornoway on Lewis,” says Bouli.

“It’s the place I feel most at home and I have friends there so I visit every year.

“It reminds me of when I was young in Belgium, there is something from my past on this island.

“It’s different from the rest of Scotland.”

Bouli Lanners loves everything about Scotland, especially Stornoway. Image: Bouli Lanners

Soaking up island life

Stirring something deep within his soul, the island inspired the script for Nobody Has To Know.

“For the film, I needed to understand everything about life on Lewis so I rented a cottage there for seven months,” says Bouli.

“During that time, I went to church every week where I was made to feel very welcome – so much so that the preacher and his wife invited me over for dinner.

“Although I have different points of view on religion, they respected me and I respected them.”

Bouli Lanners says he visits Scotland every year. Image: Bouli Lanners

Scotland feels like home

Today Bouli lives in Liège, a historical city on the river Meuse, with his wife Elise.

But at any given opportunity Bouli visits Scotland.

“I feel at home in Scotland so I need to come back every year because when I don’t visit I miss Scotland,” says Bouli.

“I feel at peace in Scotland and I love the people, I love the language, I love the tartan, I love the haggis, I love the whisky, I love the music, I love the landscape; everything is beautiful in Scotland, I could talk about Scotland all the time.”

Bouli Lanners says he feels at peace in Scotland. Image: Bouli Lanners

Already watched by cinemagoers from across the world, ironically the UK is one of the last countries to show the film.

“I hope people enjoy it,” says Bouli.

“I know that people in Belgium and France are going to Lewis because of the movie and I’m very proud of this.”

Nobody Has To Know was released in UK cinemas last week.