A THREE Towns woman has taken part in an international collaboration to produce a film based on her own story of love and loss by the sea.

Betty, from Saltcoats is an active member of The Flames, a Tricky Hat Productions’ performance company for people age 50 and over.

The film, Umi and The Sea, is a gentle look at a dark subject, comparing sea stories from Scotland and Japan.

Betty said: “The sea and me have always had a positive relationship. In lockdown I was on my own but I looked out at the sea. I can go out to the shore and walk for miles.

“I met my husband, a fisherman, on Arran. He died two years ago and I find him at the sea.”

Betty was filmed at Saltcoats Beach while other other parts of the film were shot at a beach in Sendai, Japan.

The film weaves the lockdown experience of Betty on the Ayrshire coast with the Selkie legend and the emotional impact the sea has on the people of Sendai in Japan.

Sendai has mixed feelings about its relationship with the sea. The coast near Sendai was devastated by the tsunami in 2011, and huge barrier walls have been built along most of the coastline, separating the people and the sea, and severely affecting fishing and tourism.

Added to that are the plans to release contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant only 50 miles away. The Japanese Flames were filmed on one of two beaches left without barriers.

In the film, Betty walks on the beach, looking out at the sea towards the Isle of Arran while her voiceover describes the many meanings the place holds for her.

She runs her hands across the sand, and picks up debris washed ashore by the waves.

Betty said: “Beachcombing is fabulous. Today I found a multi-coloured plastic troll. It reminds me of the poem Beachcombers by George Mackay Brown: “Monday I found a boot – Rust and salt leather.

I gave it back to the sea, to dance in…”

Some of The Flames been given iPads and training to film themselves, some are being filmed at a social distance, but they are all at home and telling their stories about a new way of living and how they are navigating through the uncharted territory of lockdown.

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