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Standby For Tape Back-up

Monday, May 9, 2016 - 9:15pm
Screening Partner

Standby For Tape Back-up

Ross Sutherland | 
UK |
 2015 | 
73 minutes

Back in the age of the VCR, we all had that one special tape. Whether it contained your favourite Saturday morning cartoons, your child’s first steps, or a movie you looked forward to watching on a rainy day, it meant something special. For Ross Sutherland, such a tape belonged to his grandfather. A curious assemblage of British game shows, scenes from Ghostbusters and old soccer matches, the tape means something far greater to Sutherland, who sets out to discover why this random combination of images is so profound to him. An accomplished spoken word artist, Sutherland finds poetry in the banal as he unravels the mysteries of his own life hidden inside his grandfather’s recordings. From one scratchy scene to the next, the truth is uncovered, as the story loops, fast-forwards and then rewinds in rhythmic cadence. A powerful ode to life and an argument for analogue preservation, Sutherland’s film perfectly captures the bittersweet nostalgia we get when reminiscing about love, loss, and Ghostbusters. -CP

I don’t think it’s going out on a limb to suggest that poet and performer Ross Sutherland’s Standby For Tape Back-up probably features the most profound use of the opening credits of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in theatre history. Toss in some extracts from Ghostbusters, The Crystal Maze, Michael Jackson’s Thriller video and a horrendous 1991 advert for NatWest cash machines that I’d hitherto suppressed the memory of, and you’ve got the recipe for a bums-on-seats Gen Y nostalgia fest. -TIME OUT


Ross Sutherland

Ross Sutherland is a poet and filmmaker from Edinburgh. He first presented Stand By For Tape Back Up as a piece of live theatre in 2014, playing over 150 performances across the UK. The play was subsequently nominated for the Art Foundation Award for Poetry. In 2015, the story was adapted for film in collaboration with British filmmaker Charlie Lyne. Stand By For Tape Back-Up was nominated for Best Documentary at the Edinburgh Film Festival, and won 3rd place in the audience award at Fantastic Fest in Austin.