James Mackay Papers

Scope and Content

This collection contains personal and business papers relating to Mackay's activities as a producer, particularly the films of Derek Jarman. Includes diaries, correspondence, production papers, financial papers, film scripts, screenplays, posters and press-cuttings, 20th century.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Mackay (fl 1970s-) is noted as the producer of some of Derek Jarman's greatest films, including The Angelic Conversation (1985), The Last of England (1988), The Garden (1990) and Blue (1993). More recently, he has produced Bernard Rudden's Daybreak (2000) for FilmFour. He has also produced music videos for The Smiths, Suede, Patti Smith and The Pet Shop Boys.

In the late 1970s, Mackay produced a series of programmes for the Edinburgh International Film Festival titled New British Avant-Garde films and arranged a similar programme for the Forum section of the Berlin Film Festival. Later, he would revisit curating as Film and Video organizer of the B2 gallery from 1981-1983. He began producing in 1981 through Dark Pictures, the firm that he founded as a production and marketing company for new films and video, beginning with a series of shorts by Derek Jarman.

The years 1981-1984 saw him produce three notable video to cinema projects; Jarman's Imagining October and Ron Peck's highly acclaimed What Can I Do With a Male Nude?, both shorts, along with Jarman's feature The Angelic Conversation. In 1985, he produced Super Eight, a documentary about the history of Super 8mm film-making from home movie format to political and artistic tool for Channel Four Television, as well as developing Jarman's Caravaggio for the British Film Institute.

Since 1996 Mackay has sought to rebuild ties with his native Scotland, lecturing at Napier University (where he introduced digital cinematography as early as 1996) and working with the Scottish Arts Council on their Lottery Film Committee. Amongst his current projects, Mackay is developing a film version of a Michael Nyman opera, a new feature by Lynn Hershman and a multi-screen project with Turner Prize nominee Hannah Collins.

Access Information

Usual BDC and EUL arrangements apply.


Biographical information taken from notes supplied by Mackay.

Other Finding Aids

Not currently listed.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, 25 April 2005, and encoded into EAD 6 June 2005.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual BDC and EUL restrictions apply.

Custodial History

Donated to the BDC in 2002. Additional items also deposited on loan in 2002.

Related Material

None known.


It is not known whether this collection has formed the basis for publication.