about shona main

shetland-shonaI am a writer and filmmaker who was grew up in Shetland. My working life started at D.C.Thomson & Co where I worked on Jackie magazine. I left to study law at Dundee University and after a short career in politics I returned to writing and, thanks to an NUJ ‘Digital convergence’ course for washed up old journalists, I began making films. I returned to Shetland in 2019.

In 2012-2013 I made Clavel (2014), a film about James Robert Sinclair, a Shetland crofter I remembered from childhood and had always been fascinated by. You can see the trailer here. It has been screened at 31 (I think this is correct: there’s a point you should stop counting) different festivals, halls, events and cinema clubs and is still being shown.

In October 2016 I became an SGSAH funded PhD candidate at Stirling University and Glasgow School of Art. The area of study is the nature, dynamics and ethics of the practice of attention. I do this by examining the ethical approach of the pioneer filmmaker Jenny Gilbertson and, in turn, my own.

Whilst making Clavel, I became very interested in the films Jenny Gilbertson. You can read more about her here but in what interests me about her is how used film as a way to be with people and to learn about them.

My Phd is practice-based which means I submit a film and ta written thesis. My research has taken me back to the places GIlbertson filmed in Grise Fiord and Coral Harbour in Arctic Canada where I met her friends that she filmed with and heard about the time they spent with her as a friend and as a filmmaker.

All the photos in this blog are mine except this one of me, with my head in the clouds. I have Nick Bruno to thank for that.

Other films

Wildie and Lalla (2021) with Catriona Macdonald and Angelica Kroeger.

Cinematographer and co-editor.


Catriona Macdonald’s honouring of the forgotten Shetland writer Jessie Saxby (Wildie) through her love for her daughter, Lalla. This film was commissioned by Shetland Arts Refresh Now and supported by Creative Scotland and Shetland Charitable Trust.

The tent shall stand when the palace shall fall. The tent that Essie built (2018) with Essie Stewart

Cinematography, director and co-editor.


Sutherland traveller Essie Stewart builds a bough tent from scratch for the last time. This film was commissioned by Historic Environment Scotland, The Engine Shed, The Highland Folk Museum and High Life Highland.

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