Panorama | Insights
Gemma’s idealism isn’t the kind you’d expect. She loves Motherwell, Scotland, decimated skyline and all; she doesn’t expect to leave. "It’s a non-snobby place to stay." Her adolescence is the stuff of cloudy romance: flares and bongs and fistfights, a boyfriend and no parents, a grandfather who owns a boxing gym, friends to write ACAB on walls with ("They are, aren’t they?"). Captured from the outside by Swedish filmmakers Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin and led by its subject’s curious, direct voiceover, at its best Scheme Birds approximates the kind of focused, tender portrait an older Gemma would want to keep of herself.
Filmed over four years, as Gemma becomes increasingly responsible for her own life, the project apparently came about while Fiske and Hallin were filming another idea in Scotland and ran into the 16-year-old. "This sounds so boring, this documentary you’re making," she said. "You should make a documentary about me instead." And so they did; the results are "intimate and wrenchingly affecting." - Wendy Ide, Screen
Best Documentary, Tribeca 19