Meet the filmmaker: Martin MacLeod

Published: 7th March 2019

An interview with the creator of our Young People & Nature film series


The Trust recently commissioned up-and-coming filmmaker Martin MacLeod, 22, to direct, shoot and edit the Young People & Nature series of films - designed to help share what young people think about their connections with nature and the outdoors.

Originally from Pitlochry, Martin grew up making films with friends and family. As his experience grew as he started to take on small commissions making short promotional films, often for local businesses. Martin says, “I didn’t realise that making films was something I could actually pursue as a job.”

Studying drama gave him the opportunity to start to write and direct short feature films, while commercial commissions have continued to come in. He has recently travelled to the Netherlands and Oslo to make films.

 “I get a lot of inspiration from landscapes, especially when I am looking at possible filming locations,” says Martin. “This project has made me think about the outdoors a lot more. Asking the question of how you engage with the outdoors to those young people I met, made me think about the role of this film to inspire others about nature. I hope that’s what the films have done in the end.”

What are your personal connections with wild places?

“Growing up in Pitlochry and having spent most of my childhood outside, I have always had a personal connection the outdoors. I think it’s so important for young people to get outdoors more often. It’s great break from technology, the stress from day-to-day life and allows you to see things that perhaps you wouldn’t normally.

My favourite experience in Scottish wildness was when we shot my first proper short film at the ‘Wailing Widow Falls,’ an incredible waterfall located a few miles from Kylesku. It was a technically-challenging shoot but completely worth it in the end. The things you do for that perfect shot!”

Why was Year of Young People 2018 important for Scotland?

“With the current political climate, making young people feel increasingly disenfranchised, I think it’s really important for Scotland to recognise and celebrate the ideas of its young people now more than ever. From what I’ve seen, Year of Young People has been a fantastic opportunity to help promote this.”

What inspires you about film, and what film-makers have influenced you?

“What I really love about film is its ability to creatively communicate ideas and stories from a single person to millions of others. To be honest, it’s almost impossible for me to choose a favourite film or filmmaker, but I’m influenced by the creative people around me and the beautiful locations that Scotland and the rest of the world has to offer.”

Did anything surprise you filming/interviewing young people about their connection with nature / the outdoors?

“I would say that the common thread that I’ve seen whilst interviewing young people, is the benefits in terms of mindfulness and well-being from spending time outdoors. I was surprised to hear how stressful young people are these days, whether that is due to school, work or other commitments. I think the perfect remedy, as most interviewees have said, is to head outside, take a breather and unwind. I couldn’t recommend it enough.”