Highlands & Islands

Angelika and Jolanta murders influence new film Graders

David Hutchison and Joanna Kaczynska. Pic: Copyright of J Daniel Pacey
Image caption Director and writer David Hutchison with Polish actress Joanna Kaczynska

Two Eastern European women's murders in Scotland have influenced the writing of a script for a micro budget film shot in Assynt, Buckie and Edinburgh.

David Hutchison's Graders stars Polish actresses Joanna Kaczynska and Agnieszka Bresler.

Mr Hutchison said he recalled the murders of Lithuanian Jolanta Bledaite and Angelika Kluk, from Poland, while writing the screenplay.

Graders, shot on a budget of £4,000, is to be sent to film festivals.

It features a song by Gaelic Mod gold medallist singer Eilidh MacKenzie, who was brought up on Lewis, in the Western Isles.

The cast includes Janet de Vigne, from Edinburgh, who provided the voice of a woman contacting an Indian call centre from Kingussie in the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.

Image caption Angelika Kluk was killed by serial killer Peter Tobin

Graders tells of a woman's search for her sister who has gone missing while working in a fish factory in the remote Scottish Highlands.

Mr Hutchison said his feature was not about the two women's murders, however, their families' trauma over the deaths was among the influences in the writing of it.

Miss Bledaite was murdered in Brechin, in Angus. Her head was found by two young sisters playing on a beach at Arbroath in April 2008.

The 35-year-old was murdered by two men, also from Lithuania.

Miss Kluk, 23, was murdered in Glasgow in 2006 by serial killer Peter Tobin.

'Snow blizzards'

Mr Hutchison said: "I wondered about the families of these murdered girls.

"It made it seem worse that it had happened in a different country where they did not have such a network of family and friends."

Mr Hutchison also drew on his experiences working in a fish factory when he was a teenager.

He said: "I had worked in a seafood factory in Lochinver, where I'm originally from, and it had such a transient population.

Image caption Jolanta Bledaite was murdered in Brechin, in Angus

"Someone would work for a few days then leave."

The Polish actresses in Graders play sisters Ania and Celina.

Kaczynska appeared in Peter Mullan's film Neds, while Bresler has her own Polish theatre company and has previously put on a play about Miss Kluk.

Described as a chiller, the film has been sent to film festivals and Mr Hutchison, who has previously worked on Gaelic animations for television, has also sought a distributor.

Recalling the challenges in getting the feature completed, Mr Hutchison said: "Shooting in Assynt in October was cancelled due to snow blizzards.

"Finally started shooting again in November and we finished most of the shooting by February 2011. Post production took up until end of May."

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