Rogue Productions – St Andrews’ Student Filmmaking Society

Since its foundation in 2000, Rogue Productions has sought to promote and support student film production within St Andrews. From providing training, to renting out equipment and running workshops, Rogue has provided opportunities for St Andrews’ students, many of whom have gone on to pursue a career in the film industry.

Rogue was founded in 2000 by student Jon Livesey. Early members of the society included Richard Poet and Frances Stirk (who subsequently married). Noted early productions included ‘Tequila’ and ‘Therapist’ – the protagonist of which was both a rapist, as well as the victims’ therapist (hence the word play on ‘Therapist’).

The films produced in these first couple of years were screened during the summer of 2002 at a Festival not dissimilar to the present day Half Cut.

2002-3 saw a hiatus in production, but the Rogue members helped instead on setting up a film festival called iMovie (subsequently renamed Campus Film Fest), which was modelled on a concept imported by David Roemer, a Bobby Jones Scholar from Emory University. The premise of the festival was that teams of 10 people had a week to make a short film, with a maximum running time of 5 minutes. The festival continued until 2006. This event can be regarded as a precursor of the present ’60 Hour Film Blitz’.

2005 saw the inaugural edition of the Half Cut Film Festival, which is now part of the On the Rocks Arts Festival (and is currently known as Half Cut SFF). As Scotland’s only student run short film festival, Half Cut has become an invaluable showcase for student filmmakers around Scotland.

In 2007-8 Naysun Alae Carrew became President of Rogue, producing a series of clay animations (Trouble in Paradise I-IV) and other shorts to great critical acclaim from the Half Cut judges.

In 2010 Rogue became one of the six sub-committees of the Student’s Association. Despite this increased presence within the University, there has been a marked decrease in the number of films produced by Rogue in the past two years. Possible explanations for this include the ‘democratization’ of film production (more students own good quality equipment), a lack of continued investment in cameras and post-production facilities by the Student’s Association, and the ease of distribution through online platforms and social media.

Consequently the society has shifted its focus from funding and providing technical support for ultra low-budget, local student film productions, to supporting higher budget, semi-professional documentaries or St Andrews student film projects, which are being carried out elsewhere. Recent examples include ‘Daughters of Dolma’ and ‘Chinese Whisper’. We could refer to the current stage as the ‘globalisation’ of Rogue.

Starting from the academic year 2012-13, the society will be rebranded into Ré Productions for copyright reasons.

Notable Rogue Alumni:

 The most notable Rogue member to date, Naysun Alae-Carew, won a BAFTA Best New Talent Award in 2011 for his short film ‘Zombie Musical’.

Other alumni who had a defining role on the early years of the society include:

  • Jon Livesey  – Rogue Productions founder and President 2000-3. Has worked as a cinematographer on various grade A film projects and TV shows
  • Ben Hecking – Rogue member 2002-6; Cinematographer, currently based in London.
  • Richard Poet – Rogue member 2000-2; Visual effects editor, based in Glasgow. Worked on such projects as The Dark Knight. He also won a BAFTA for his direction of a music video.

Ioanid Nagy-Vizitiu