Prince of Muck

No man is an island

Prince of Muck Retired patriarch, Lawrence MacEwen, is beginning to live out his final days. As Laird of the Isle of Muck, it has been his mission in life to preserve the fragile society on this Scottish Inner Hebridean island, so it may pass to his son, Colin, and future generations. Prince of Muck is a beautifully realised, cinematic documentary about a man struggling to accept he no longer controls his son, his life, nor the isle he so loves.

 Prince of Muck
(2021) on IMDb

The Producers

Cindy Jansen - Director

A Binger FilmLab and Berlinale Talent Campus alumni, Jansen's controversial, award winning films and videos range from linear narration to fragmented artworks, unearthing universal stories from ordinary human experience.
Her first mid-length documentary, the Golden Calf nominated Auld Lang Syne, screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, (IFFR), establishing her reputation for cinematic framing, contemplative style and slow-burn reveal editing.

Photo credit: Koos Breukel

Annemiek van Gorp - Producer

Annemiek van Gorp studied Sociology/Organisation/Art & Culture at the Erasmus University
Rotterdam and worked as production manager/line-producer and producer for numerous film and
television projects. She is a tutor/coach at the Netherlands Film Academy in Amsterdam.

Grant Keir - Producer

Grant Keir owns, and produces with, production company Faction North. He develops and produces feature films, feature documentaries, television and cross platform projects with a range of national and international partners. Grant teaches Pitch Training to his fellow industry producers, funded by organisations such as Creative England and ScreenSkills. He was Head of Studies on the leading international Rough-Cut-to-Industry-Launch Training Programme, Dok Incubator, 2018-2020. Grant’s recent credits include the TV documentary ‘Dreaming without Sleeping’ for BBC Scotland and the feature documentary ‘Suzi Q’ (Dir Liam Firmager - Melbourne Film Festival 2019). The short drama, ‘Lift Share’, by writer / director, Virginia Heath, was backed by the Scottish Film Talent Network (SFTN), premiered at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2018, screened at Underwire Film Festival in London in November 2018 and won Best Short at the Annual CPH Film Festival 2019. Grant produced the short documentaries ‘Three Chords and the Truth’, by Virginia Heath (2019) and ‘Silent Laughs’, which Premiered at EIFF 2016 and continues to screen at festivals around the world as part of the Scottish Documentary Institute’s Bridging the Gap series. Feature Film productions at his Edinburgh-based production company, Faction North, include a film that has already become a Scottish Classic: ‘From Scotland with Love’, (2014).

René Goossens - Producer

René Goossens studied Dutch language and literature and philosophy at the Catholic University
Nijmegen and film with Frans Zwartjes at “De Vrije Academie” The Hague. He owned a film
commercial company for several years and started working in the film industry after that.

De Productie - Production Company

Annemiek van Gorp and René Goossens have been working together in De Productie since September 1998. De Productie produces art-house drama and documentaries with a strong social involvement and an artistic challenge. We regularly participate in co-productions and we work with both budding talent and experienced directors. We try, where possible, to bring the two together. De Productie does not only intend to be a meeting place for local and national talent, but also a reliable partner in international co-productions. We are particularly interested in creative and quirky films that stand by the form chosen and that have an appealing, sometimes bold or controversial subject, in which form, content and emotions are in balance with each other. Our films are often a mix of fiction, documentary and art. We are especially looking for universal stories, straight from the heart, as varied and colourful as the creators of these stories are. Makers of films that are interesting not only for the Dutch market, but also abroad, and that have the potential to grow and reach out for a larger audience.

Faction North - Production Company

Faction North Ltd combines the talents and experience of producer, Grant Keir, Director Virginia Heath and Producer - Director Peter Day. We write, direct and produce award-winning drama, documentary, TV and cross platform content for the international and UK domestic markets. Led by producer Grant Keir, the company was established in 1998 and has offices in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Making The Film

Director's Statement

The themes and formatting choices of Prince of Muck are in line with my earlier film Auld Lang Syne (2015), in which complex family ties play an important role in the narrative and an internal dynamic directs the drama.

The island of Muck has been in the hands of the MacEwen family for more than a century; the “elite” of the island as the owner, main property holder, employer and landlord. Lawrence has always wanted to be a farmer on Muck, but his children have tried their hand at first building a life in Great Britain before returning to Muck. Lawrence’s older brother, Alastair chose to leave Muck for mainland Scotland and farm there. But some time later Alastair committed suicide, leaving behind a wife and three young children.

This all left me quite concerned about the situation on the island. Was it truly the MacEwen family’s choice to live in isolation on the island, or would they not have been capable of living elsewhere? And how do they balance the inherited responsibility with the care for the community and their own family? These questions drove me to portray Lawrence, his relatives and their island.

Prince of Muck has become not just about a family’s history on an island, but rather an example of a much more universal, classical rendition of interdependence. My directing choices support this. The tone and rhythm of the film are one of 'distant involvement’, there is no explanatory voice-over and no questions are heard. In connection with the closed manner of relaying the story in image and sound, the advantage that comes with this positioning gives the viewer room to project his or her own story onto the film.

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