December 31, 2010

Spirit of Scotland documentary to be screened at Cineplex theatres across Canada

John McDonald, producer/director of On The Day, the documentary feature on the Grade 1 Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band’s run-up to the 2008 World Pipe Band Championships, has scored a major coup with an agreement with Cineplex that will see the 83-minute-long movie shown across Canada on February 9th and 13th, 2011.

The movie will be screened at Cineplex-Odeon theatres in Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Alberta and Manitoba. McDonald said that showings in the Maritime provinces are also possible, depending on demand.

“This is going to be huge,” McDonald said. “As an independent filmmaker this is a great opportunity for me professionally as well as for the piping community to put its best foot forward. For the audience to see the film on the big screen with 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound will be just an awesome experience.”

McDonald said that tickets are scheduled to go on sale on January 14th, with discount for groups.  Cineplex will market the movie with e-blasts to season subscribers, in-theatre posters, trailers at first-run movies and news releases. The February 9th screenings will be at 7 pm, and the February 13th at 1 pm.

McDonald said that the cross-Canada screening agreement came about when he met another Pasadena, California-based filmmaker who had an “event screening” for his own film, Spirit of the Marathon.  McDonald met with Cineplex representatives last May during the Toronto “Hot Docs” festival, and the organization liked On The Day and eventually struck an agreement.

He added that a similar project may be in the works for the United States and Australia, again, depending on the success of the Canadian screenings.  

On The Day chronicles the week-long convergence of pipers and drummers to create the Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band, and experiment that saw many of the world’s top players come together to see what they could produce at the World Championships. The band qualified for the final competition, finishing third in the event, and emerged eleventh overall in Grade 1 on Glasgow Green.

The band, which is sponsored by Glenfiddich, was led by Pipe-Major Roddy MacLeod and Lead-Drummer John Fisher. Spirit of Scotland has not played as a whole since the 2008 World’s, but several pipers performed in concert with the Celtic folk group, Cappercaillie, at the Piping Live! festival in August 2010.

[Disclosure: the editor of pipes|drums is a member of Spirit of Scotland.]


  1. I bought a copy when it came out, and after having watched it, I would love to see someone do a bit lighter take on a competetive pipe band. same idea of following one around, but really following it”. Catch all the good

  2. Very cool. I hope it’s a success. I’d be interested in seeing what kind of audience numbers the film is able to attract. While big names and famous players” (another Canadian theatre company – no pun intended)

  3. Have watched the DVD a number of times. Really hope it comes to a screen near me, figure if it’s that good on my system it should be amazing on the big screen with the big sound.

  4. This movie is quite good. The interviews are done in such a way that one gets a wonderful glimpse into the personal lives, history, and perspectives of many of the players. And, I particularly love the series of scenes that show the nervous tension while the band waits to get the call to find out whether or not they’ve made it through to the final. It’s the real deal, and is beautifully captured. It is great that folks will be able to see this in the big screen. Great work John!

  5. What about Atlantic Canada? It says Playing across Canada” and it may include the Maritimes. Have we been annexed and we don’t know it? We have a strong piping scene and culture we’d love to be included in this screening.”

  6. Just want to let you all know that On The Day will be screening in the Maritimes, and we’ll have the exact theatre locations on January 14, 2011. We’re looking at a minimum of 40 theaters in Canada at this time. This will be your chance to see the film as it was meant to be seen! — John McDonald, Filmmaker/Piper



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