Brooklyn sculptor creates Sundance film in north-east of Scotland

A Brooklyn-based sculptor has created and starred in an art film shot entirely in the north-east.

Hugh Hayden, 31, along with fellow New Yorker and director Zachary Heinzerlingh, filmed the visually stunning and sometimes disturbing short piece “Hugh the Hunter” while on Glenfiddich Distillery-sponsored residency.

Based in Dufftown in Moray, the 10-minute movie tells the story of an alternative universe where Mr Hayden lives the life of an upper-class, tweed-wearing, gun-toting member of the Highland gentry, instead of his usual life creating artwork for some of the Big Apple’s trendiest’ galleries.

Mr Hayden used all that the north-east of Scotland and beyond had to offer to craft the production’s highly unusual props and scenes.

Birds of prey from the Huntly Falconry centre, meat from a butcher in Keith, tights from John Lewis in Aberdeen and the Castle of Park bed and breakfast in Banff all feature.

The movie’s focus on the beauty of camouflage, from the estate tweeds of Mr Hayden’s alter ego to the naturally concealed grouse of heather moors, was one of the factors which resulted in it being shown at this year’s prestigious Sundance film festival in Utah in the US.

Mr Hayden said: “I’ve always been interested in estate tweeds as a form of camouflage, and the evolution of tweed into tartan as a form of camouflage.

“I was interested in making an analogy of the landscape, and how birds and animals have evolved to blend in and stand out of the landscape, and how humans do the same thing socially, in society.”

One of the scenes required a large chunk of meat to construct a bizarre, fleshy log, and in obtaining the peculiar prop Mr Hayden discovered his favourite thing about Scots.

He said: “When we went into the butcher to get the pork tenderloin, we met a hunter who had just killed a huge red deer.

“We asked him if we could use it in the film, and he told us to just head around to his house when he was out, and he would leave the door unlocked.

“That’s what’s so great about Scotland, you can just borrow a three-and-a-half-foot diameter head and take it back the night after and nobody bats an eye, it’s really indicative I think of the kindness of the Scottish people.

“Scotland was definitely a great opportunity for personal artistic growth, and I’m glad to be able to share some reflection of how beautiful it is to people in America.”

You can watch Mr Hayden’s film at www.pressandjournal.co.uk.

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