Parliament screening for Trump film

LOCAL film-maker Anthony Baxter’s documentary about Donald Trump’s £750 million north east golf development received a positive if “shocked” reaction when it was screened at the Scottish Parliament.

The award-winning ‘You’ve Been Trumped’ was shown to a selection of MSPs, journalists from the national and golfing press, representatives from environmental organisations, academics, legal figures and parliament and party officials in one of the parliament’s committee rooms last week.

First Minister Alex Salmond, although invited, was unable to attend due to “long-standing ministerial commitments”.

The 90-minute film, directed by Mr Baxter, looks at the social, economic and environmental effect of the £750 million development at the Menie Estate, north of Aberdeen, as well as the way the Trump organisation has conducted itself to bring the controversial project to fruition.

It was also attended by Menie resident David Milne, whose property adjoins and overlooks the new resort which has been partly sited on a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Mr Baxter said: “There’s a problem in that people all over Scotland have little idea of what’s happening on the estate and the film is an attempt to get to the heart of that.

“There was an interesting discussion after and one of the SNP MSPs was struck by the bullying tactics portrayed in the film. David said he had asked for local SNP MSPs to visit the site but they hadn’t so there was a mood of shock in the room, but in a way that’s what we’ve seen all over. It’s the biggest planning decision made in Scotland and having them there was important.

Since its completion in April, the documentary has been acclaimed at film festivals around the world and featured in this year’s Canadian International Documentary Festival.

Better known as Hot Docs, the event is the largest and most important documentary film showcase in North America.

It also received a twin Scottish premiere in June with screenings in Aberdeen and Edinburgh and was shown on Mr Trump’s home city of New York. In August it received the Special Jury Prize at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival.

Mr Baxter added: “There was also something poignant about it being in the Scottish Parliament as the Scottish Government had called in Aberdeenshire Council’s original planning decision in the first place.”

Mr Milne, one of several Menie residents who has been engaged in a legal battle with the development company, also said it was vital that elected representatives have the chance to see the film.

He said: “It’s very important to bring this film to Parliament to emphasise to those who make the laws that it’s not abstract. It’s all about living, breathing, people who have a right to live unharrassed in their own homes, in a landscape that should never have been touched.”