Grant and Directing

“One of the most interesting film-makers in Britain today.” – MJ Simpson, British Horror Revival

I’ve directed some films so I call myself a director.

Some of the films I’ve directed have been paid for (by other people) and some have been shown on the TV, at cinemas and at festivals. Some have even won awards. In the interests of fairness however, a couple of the films have had really terrible reviews but I like to interpret those in a way which makes me sound like they really meant that I’m some kind of maverick.

Some of these films have been reviewed in newspapers, magazines and websites such as Sight and Sound, The Times, The Guardian, The Sun, The Telegraph, The Observer, Radio Times, Vice, Clashmag, Dazed, Mojo, Q, Uncut, Louder than War, Record Collector, Nova and Pitchfork. And the awards/accolades include one of Sight and Sound’s films of the year, The I’s Best Documentaries of the Year, EIFF’s Audience Award (and another nominated), BAFTA Scotland NT nominee and ‘Pick of the Day/Highlight of the Week’ in The Guardian, Times, Telegraph and Observer

Regardless of the reviews though, I do like to think of myself as a creative and exciting director who is always trying to achieve originality in all aspects of a film’s production.

I started my career as a camera assistant and worked my way up through the camera department ranks which has allowed me to work with – and learn from – some of my favourite directors and cinematographers. It really was a great experience as it allowed me to sneakily ask questions and advice from those more experienced to aid my own films.

I’ve been lucky enough to work with Ken Loach, Danny Boyle, Jonathan Glazer, Stephen Soderbergh, George Clooney, Neil Marshall, Christopher Doyle, Anthony Dod Mantle and the ‘blue’ television ‘comedian’ Jim Davidson who were all amazing to learn from. Well, maybe less so Jim. And I’ve been lucky to watch the process of them directing actors such as Scarlett Johansson, Bob Hoskins, Brad Pitt, Rutger Hauer, Keira Knightley, Adrien Brody, Daniel Craig, Halle Berry, Anne Hathaway and the “hilarious” television star Jack Whitehall. All amazing experiences which I’ve been incredibly honoured to have observed.

Anyway, more about me and my films…

…These awards and festivals I mentioned, below is a selected list/filmography of them – and some nice words:

‘Teenage Superstars’ – Feature Documentary (2017). Sky Arts/Creative Scotland

Edinburgh International Film Festival. Nominee: Audience Award, Best Documentary

Raindance Film Festival

Mojo Magazine – 4 stars

Uncut Magazine

Louder than War – 4 stars

Record Collector and Long Live Vinyl – 4 stars

‘Far From the Apple Tree’ – Feature (2019).

Featured at 2017’s EIFF ‘Works in Progress’ strand. Released on DVD in UK by Redemption Films and in US by Kino Lorber – early 2021

” This is an excellent piece of work. No doubt some viewers will be turned off by its unwillingness to compromise for the sake of accessibility, but others will fall in love.” – Eye For Film

“McPhee’s third trippy feature confirms him as one of the most interesting film-makers in Britain today.” – British Horror Revival

“A funny thing happened after I finished it. I sat for a moment. I thought for a few minutes about what I had just seen… and then I watched it again. I’ve been doing this thing for a while now, but I can’t recall another instance where I watched a film back-to-back. Far From the Apple Tree is simply one of the most authentic horror films I’ve ever seen.” – Modern Horrors

‘Big Gold Dream’ – Feature Documentary (2015). BBC Scotland/Creative Scotland

Edinburgh International Film Festival. Winner: Audience Award

BIFA Long List for Best Documentary

I’s best films of 2017 (after TV screening)

Dazed’s best film so 2015

Raindance Film Festival

Leeds Film Festival

Cambridge Film Festival

Sight and Sound Best of 2015

“Brilliant film about post punk/ pop in Scotland and beyond…Big Gold Dream is amazing” – Tim Burgess from The Charlatans

“I loved it” – Andrew Macdonald – Trainspotting Producer

“Just Watched Big Gold Dream Re-Write History to fit a Story – Fuck Off” – Film Director, and pop star Richard Jobson, who was not featured in the film.

Sarah’s Room – Feature Drama (2014)

Bafta Scotland NT 2014 Nominee: Best Soundtrack

Bafta Scotland NT 2014 Nominee: Sound Design

Jerome Indie Film Festival. Winner: Best Film

Bootleg New York. Winner: Best Cinematography

Fife Film Expo. Winner: Best Film

Fife Film Expo. Winner: Best Cinematography

Eureka Springs Digital Film Festival. Runner up: Best Film

Autograph Hunters – Documentary Short (2005)

Edinburgh International Film Festival: Nominee, Grierson Award

If you want to know more, the page has a bit more info on the films and a blog with a bit more on how I made them, and my experiences (and some of the bad reviews).