Sell-outs demand extra screenings at The Phoenix

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Oban’s community-run cinema is becoming a magnet for independent film makers.

Duty manager at The Phoenix Marco Pacitti said: ‘We  are being approached by quite a few film makers who are really enthusiastic to get their films out there and head for us.

‘I think they find Oban unique because of its demographic. People from the islands and those who can’t get trains and buses to Glasgow come here to get their independent movie fix. We’re trying to be a hub showing both blockbusters and independent films. We’d also like to hear from local film makers who might like to show their work,’ he said.

Screenings of movies such as Steven Lewis Simpson’s native American film Neither Wolf Nor Dog sold out at The Phoenix in December and was declared a best seller of the cinema’s six-day film festival.

The Phoenix had to add on five extra showings of another sell-out success this time of a self-shot film documentary after audiences could not get enough of The Yukon Assignment.

The raw but rather endearing documentary brought was brought to the screen by a tiny film production company in West Cornwall. Directed by and starring British adventurer Chris Lucas, 34,  as he journeys 500 miles through the Canadian wilderness with his 64-year-old dad in a canoe, it gives a persuading nudge to the importance of spending  family-time together.

Although spending five weeks exploring the Yukon in order to make that special time is in the extreme, it makes gripping viewing because what you see is so honest and real.

There were luggage mishaps, close calls with bears and Mother Nature, mountain peaks and the mighty waters of the Yukon to conquer, earwigging on Niall’s pillow talk as well as a scattering of campfire chats to listen-in on but nothing too deep to handle. At one point Chris, whose wife was seven-months pregnant at the time, asked Niall for tips on fatherhood, to which his dad replied: ‘Hide!’

This was not a high-budget film and there were no helicopters to capture all the magnificence of the region but the family home-movie effect definitely added a massive dollop of quaintness to it in a very British way.

It left viewers with a taste for adventure and an urge to call home …. and maybe even book a trip to spend time with our own mums, dads, sons or daughters.

It has taken a four-year labour of love to get this film finally onto screen. It’s producer Charlie Fripp said  The Phoenix cinema has been ‘brilliant’ helping it along the way and those behind the Yukon Assignment have been ‘blown away’ by the amazing reception in Scotland. They are now hearing back from people who have been inspired to go on their own journeys which is ‘life-affirming’ added Charlie.

As for the extra Oban screenings, Chris Lucas said he was ‘excited’ and hoped the film would continue to encourage and promote wilderness adventure.

The film is now continuing its UK-wide tour until mid-June before being released online. If you miss it at The Phoenix, you can still see the trailer at






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