Tilda Swinton says Oscar funded arts project


By Zoë Keown

SCOTTISH actress Tilda Swindon has admitted that her Hollywood bonus for winning an Oscar saved her festival venue.

Swinton, 49, who won an Academy for her part in the film Michael Clayton, said that she had not been able to afford the rent of the bingo hall for her Cinema of Dreams project when she took on the lease.

But her win at the 2007 Oscars came just in time to pay the £20,000 a year bill.

Swinton explained that she never thought she would win.

The star said: “I didn’t have enough money to pay a year’s rent.

“Fortunately, I won the Oscar and the studio gave me a very generous bonus, which turned out to be the exact amount I needed.

“It was a big deal, it just wasn’t on my dance card.

“I’d never seen the Oscars on the television and I’d certainly never been to one and I don’t really understand why they were such a big deal for people.

“I went to the Academy Awards as if I had been given free tickets to the centre court at Wimbledon but what I didn’t expect was that someone would hand me a racquet in the middle of the match!

“It was not the reason I went. It was not the reason I made the film and I certainly didn’t expect it to happen.

“And I feel a little bashful about it.

“I wouldn’t say I’m not grateful but I did not set my sights on it.”

The project was luckily bailed out after the Warner Bros entertainment group rewarded the star with a one-off lump sum, allowing the actress to secure an old dance hall in her Highland hometown, Nairn.

Keen to encourage Scottish children to reach for the stars, and encourage the arts in Scotland, The Chronicles of Narnia star has called for cinema studies to be added to the curriculum in Scottish schools.

On the back of this, the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) patron is set to launch a new charity this week, the 8 ½ Foundation, which aims to introduce children to classic films and encourage their appreciation of the cinema.

Alongside filmmaker, and EIFF former director, Mark Cousins, the Foundation has been established to encourage children aged 8 ½ to the wonders of cinema.

Even though red carpet glamour has saved the day for her festival venue, the acclaimed actress is keen to point out that acting is not all about international glamour.

She said: “We would just like people to know there’s more out there besides Disney and the big multinationals, and that there is more to cinemagoing than just the multiplex experience.”