GLASWEGIAN movie director Peter Mackie Burns rubbed shoulders with actors at an early age – thanks to his Glasgow Times paper round.
The filmmaker began his journey to making movies by delivering the Evening Times, as this paper was then known, when he was only a boy – and his memory of the job includes one rather famous customer.
“I was an Evening Times paperboy and now I am a film director,” he said with a smile.
He joked: “I was a paperboy from second year to sixth year, it ruined my life.
“When everyone after school went up the road to watch the television or play football I would go and deliver the Evening Times six days a week.
“It was Cranhill in the East End even though I didn’t live there. I bought a round from someone.
“I worked it out – I was smart – that I could get to the shops and meet the customers going up the road. I managed to get half my round done in record time.
“I met so many people. I am still in touch with families whose papers I used to deliver when I was a teenager. I used to deliver the paper to that brilliant Glasgow actor Gerard Kelly. I used to deliver his paper to his ma and all that. He would tell me what he was doing and what shows he was in.
“I loved being a paperboy. I loved the crime stories, I used to think this would make a brilliant movie. I learned about Glasgow from reading the Times every day.”
From a young age, Peter perhaps knew his future lay in the art of making films developing his craft with his family who loved nothing more than a trip to the cinema.
It was those early trips to the city cinemas that his passion for filmmaking was born.
“My local cinema was the Parade in Dennistoun, I would go there every weekend and I would go to the ABC,” he beamed.
He added: “My grandparents and my parents loved going to the pictures so I got into going when I was wee and I just kept going.
“Now I have got two kids, a 12-year-old girl, and a five-year-old son and I go to the cinema with them every week. It is a brilliant thing to do but it is not the same.”
From watching the movies to making them Peter has come a long way since those early days in Glasgow.
On Friday, he released his second feature film Rialto which follows on from the success of his 2017 debut Daphne.
Glasgow audiences were teased with the film when it premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival earlier this year.
Filmed and set in Dublin, Rialto tells the story of a Colm, played by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, who is grieving the loss of his father.
He is married with two-grown-up children and has a managerial job on the Dublin docks – but a meeting with sex worker Jay, played by Tom Glynn-Carney, changes his life forever.
“Rialto is about a man whose grieving. Over five days, his life just changes in a way that will never be the same again. He pulls the pin on his life,” Peter said.
He continued: “His father died a month before the story starts. His father bullied him and was an alpha male type.
“Our guy is definitely not an alpha male type.
“He is quite timid, a gentle guy with two grown-up kids and wife. He worked in the docks in an office for all of his life, moved from a working-class area which is called Rialto in Dublin to a middle-class area.
“The death of his father sort of triggers something in him and he realises he is unable to talk to his wife or his pals.
“He is sort of stranded and he becomes obsessed with a young guy he meets in a shopping centre. The young guy is a sex worker. He finds himself pulled into this young guy’s world which is revelatory and unusual to him.
“The film is about how these two men find a relationship, I think there is a very flawed safe space for them to talk about their feelings.”
Having made movies in Dublin and London, the natural question to ask Peter is whether he has thought about doing a project in his home turf – and he admits the very idea of such a film would be his greatest challenge yet.
“The biggest challenge for me would be to make a film about here – that gets the humour, the people and the culture,” he said.
“The idea of doing something about Glasgow I would love to do but I would love to do something about Glasgow that I haven’t seen before.
“There is so many brilliant characters. There is so many pockets of Glasgow that are both old and new. I like people in stories and how they all rub up against each other.
“I would love to do something, I am always looking and I keep trying to write something about Glasgow – and I keep thinking it is not right yet. I am not ready to tell it yet.
“I think there is a great thing about Glasgow, I don’t know if it is tele. I don’t know if it is a film. When I saw Lynne Ramsay’s Ratcatcher, when that movie came out – that was my childhood
“She captured my childhood in a way that defined Glasgow at that period but I think there is another brilliant film or two – I don’t know what it is yet – to do now for people.
“I would love to but I don’t know how to do it,” he added.
The one thing he does, however, know how to do is achieve his dreams, and with that sort of determination film fans will only have faith that Peter manages to make a movie in hometown sometime in the future.
“I come from the East End of Glasgow now I make movies and travel the world,” he said.
He added: “I couldn’t have a better job. I was speaking to my daughter the other day who asked, ‘Dad, what would your ideal job be?’
“I am doing my ideal job, I am so lucky. I am proud of the work, I love doing, it’s hard work but it’s good fun. Making movies – it’s like a dream.”
Rialto is out now.