As the debate around land reform continues to grow in Scotland, landowners, estate workers and the charitable sector gathered in Edinburgh for the world premier of a documentary that puts the issue under the spotlight.

Directed by international filmmaker Tom Opre, known for his explorations of wildlife conservation and indigenous rights, the documentary was produced with support from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) Scotland. The screening was followed by a question and answer session from a panel of stakeholders.

The team behind the project say the film, titled The Last Keeper, captures the essence of Scotland’s land use conflicts through compelling storytelling and extensive research.

Director and the producer of The Last Keeper, Tom Opre, said: “Scotland’s landscape is steeped in history and controversy.

“Through The Last Keeper we aimed to unravel the complexities of land ownership, environmental stewardship, and the human stories behind these debates.

“Our goal was to spark meaningful dialogue and inspire viewers to consider the diverse perspectives at play.”

Director of the GWCT Scotland, Rory Kennedy, highlighted the importance of the project: “GWCT Scotland operates amid the intricate dynamics of land use debates on a daily basis.

The Scottish Farmer: A panel Q&A followed the screening A panel Q&A followed the screening

“The Last Keeper serves as a platform to amplify voices often overshadowed by louder, more emotive, narratives. By offering a nuanced portrayal of the issues, this film encourages informed discussions and fosters a greater understanding.”

The documentary follows Opre and his team as they traverse Scotland, engaging with individuals on both sides of the land use debate.

More than 190 hours of footage captured the struggles, aspirations, and personal stories of those deeply entrenched in the issue, from traditional landowners, to conservationists and policymakers.

GWCT adviser Marlies Nicolai emphasises the film’s significance. She said: “GWCT’s involvement underscores our commitment to facilitating constructive dialogue and promoting evidence-based solutions.”

The film has already been selected for a number of leading film festivals and will be available across mainstream digital streaming platforms.”

Agriculture Minister Jim Fairlie was in the audience and spoke to The Scottish Farmer after the screening.

He said: “I thought the film was really good. It was interesting and very well balanced – it was a pretty balanced picture although the question and answer panel afterwards was a little more one-sided.

“I think the conclusion is that there is still a debate to be had about what the future is going to look like.”

When asked if documentaries such as The Last Keeper could play a part in educating the wider community about the agricultural sector, Mr Fairlie said: “All you have to do is look at BBC Scotland’s This Farming Life. That has played a huge role and the farming community loves Jeremy Clarkson and Diddly Squat Farm, so that has had an amazing impact.

“He didn’t have any frills, just nuts and bolts and showing what farming looks like.

“People got into it, so I think these things are great – and the more mainstream the better.”