Between Weathers Associate Producer Ron McMillan
In early 2009, when Jim Brown decided he wanted to put Scotland back on the global movie map, he contacted Ron McMillan with a simple question:
‘Do you know anything about Shetland?’ ‘He did.’
Ever since he started freelancing out of Seoul, Korea in the run up to the 1988 Olympic Games, Ron McMillan has been a writer, photographer and inveterate wanderer. Seoul in the late 1980s was a turbulent spot frequently in the news. For two years Ron reported on the street riots and political uncertainty that preceded the Seoul Games, which he photographed from Opening to Closing Ceremonies for the Seoul Olympic Organising Committee.
Ron spent the next ten years based in Hongkong, travelling on assignments everywhere from Afghanistan to Japan for publications in Asia, North America and Europe. His photographs and articles from an unprecedented five visits to isolated North Korea ran worldwide, including the covers of TIME, Newsweek and L’Express. He visited Mainland China on assignment almost fifty times, and in May 1989 was possibly the only journalist to photograph Chinese Army tanks parked up in a western suburb of Beijing. A week later, the tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square. By then, to Ron’s eternal regret, he was in Hongkong.
BETWEEN WEATHERS, Travels in 21st Century Shetland was the first Shetland travel narrative since Victorian times. Nominated for the 2008 Saltire Society Literary Awards, it is now in its third printing. In June 2010, Sandstone published Ron’s first novel, the crime thriller Yin Yang Tattoo, which has had great reviews in the UK, the USA and Thailand as well as in Korea where the story takes place.
Ron accompanied Jim Brown on fact-finding missions to Shetland that resulted in the selection of the island of Fetlar as the setting for BETWEEN WEATHERS, Jim’s scripted feature film based on the well used Shetland phrase.
‘Fetlar is stunningly beautiful, and it has recently experienced some of the very issues that are central to the BETWEEN WEATHERS storyline. Our reception from the islanders has been, without exception, heart-warming. I am very excited by the possibility that BETWEEN WEATHERS can help promote the many attractions of Fetlar in particular, and Shetland in general.’
Jim said, ‘It’s although this film was destined to be set in Shetland. Returning from LA as I sat in Heathrow waiting for my flight to Aberdeen I noticed on the monitor some of the most stunning scenery that I had ever seen in all my travels round the world. It turned out to be Shetland. I was at this time working with Ron on a Jimi Hendrix treatment so I called him and asked if he knew anything about Shetland. He said funnily enough he did. After absorbing myself in his great travel book about that very place we headed to the islands on a fact-finding mission. It was like a dream come true, the place and the people were just perfect for a story and characters that I needed a home for, the rest as they say is history. It just goes to show, that you just need to be in the right place at the right time.’