WRITER and director Zinnie Harris was alone and working away from home when she realised her first pregnancy was coming to an end.

“I remember sitting in the B&B, feeling so sad and miserable,” she recalls.

“Four years later, I was back in the same place – Stratford-upon-Avon, working with the Royal Shakespeare Company who by sheer chance had put me up in accommodation directly across from that B&B.

“I had two children by then, and I remember looking across at the window and wishing I could find a way to go back in time to that other me, to tell her things would work out all right….”

Kirsty Stuart, who stars in A Glimpse.

Kirsty Stuart, who stars in A Glimpse.

This is the premise of A Glimpse, Zinnie’s debut short film, which stars River City’s Jordan Young, from Glasgow, and Kirsty Stuart, of Shetland and Outlander fame.

The film was selected as an Emerging Talent Short by Creative Scotland/ SFTN and produced by Emmy-winning John McKay of Compact Pictures. It is showing this week as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (mhfestival.com) where it has won the top prize for Short Drama.

Kirsty plays a young mother who accidentally, magically, opens a window on her past self at a time when she was struggling and doubting everything in her life. It is a moving portrait of love and loss, bound to resonate with many in a world dominated by Covid.

“I think we have all been exposed to our own mental health over recent months,” says Zinnie. “I’m delighted the film is being shown as part of the SMHA Festival – it’s the perfect place for it.”

Zinnie Harris by Heshani Sothiraj Eddleston

Zinnie Harris by Heshani Sothiraj Eddleston

A Glimpse is a film about pregnancy loss, a very ‘personal story’ for Zinnie, who had four miscarriages almost two decades ago.

“The grief of pregnancy loss is unseen pain,” she says. “It is not treated particularly well by the medical world who tend to see miscarriage as a medical process that has gone wrong.

“But as soon as you are pregnant, you step into the shoes of a parent, so you are losing much more. And it is still not talked about, not really.

“My experience was very different from my ex-husband’s. He was sympathetic, and sad, but he was not grieving to the same degree that I was.”

She adds: “So I wanted to look at it from the perspective of a couple, about how you cope when this happens to you.”

Zinnie is a multi-award winning playwright and theatre director, well known for her work in Glasgow theatres like the Tron and the Citizens, and whose stage plays include Further than the Furthest Thing, How to Hold Your Breath and This Restless House.

Zinnie and her children.

Zinnie and her children.

She has written two 90-minute TV dramas for Channel 4 (Richard is my Boyfriend and Born with Two Mothers) and episodes for the BBC1 Drama Spooks, but A Glimpse is her first film.

“Having the opportunity to move from theatre to film was incredible - like having a whole new toy box; new colours, new dials, levers you can pull, tricks that would never work on stage,” she smiles. “I’d worked with Kirsty many times in the theatre, so it was brilliant to have her with me as I stood behind a camera for the first time. What a journey.”

Filming took place in February 2020, just before Covid descended.

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“It is mad, looking back – 20 of us, in this small room,” Zinnie shakes her head. “At the time, the virus was rumbling in the background, but there were still no cases in the UK. None of us knew what to think – was this going to be a thing or not?”

She will “definitely” be back working in theatre – once restrictions allow the industry to re-open and recover from a long and damaging period of closure – but Zinnie admits her new love affair with film is not about to end any time soon.

“I’m working on a feature film – it’s in the VERY early stages,” she smiles. “But I’m definitely doing this again.”