In the frame: Mark Stewart

Mark Stewart

Mark Stewart

Edinburgh Office Head & Corporate Finance Partner

Proud Partners of Edinburgh International Film Festival

We are delighted to be sponsoring the In Person strand of the 2019 Edinburgh International Film Festival and we’re looking forward to an exciting few weeks of film premieres, exclusive screenings and special events. The full festival programme was announced today so to celebrate, we sat down with our Edinburgh Office Managing Partner Mark Stewart to talk all things film.

What's the first film you remember seeing?

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. My first cinema trip in 1977! I was 9 years old and I vividly remember everyone running around the playground at school for months afterwards, playing with imaginary lightsabers and pretending to be Han Solo and Princess Leia.

Is there a particular film which has really stuck with you? What stood out about it?

The Deer Hunter; an unbelievably good film. It’s about three steel workers from Pennsylvania, played by Robert DeNiro, Christopher Walken and John Savage, who go to fight in the Vietnam War. The three are separated during the war, and after Vietnam falls and the rebels come in, Walken’s character is left behind. He has amnesia and becomes a drug addict, so he has no idea who his friends are or where he’s from. When DeNiro’s character gets back to the States, he realises that his friend is still alive, stuck in Vietnam, so he travels back out there determined to bring him home. That’s what stood out for me - never leave your friends behind. No matter what you go through, no matter what happens to you, your friends are always there for you and you look out for each other.  

What film could you watch over and over again?

The Shawshank Redemption, which I must have seen 40 or 50 times. Coming from a sporting background, what I love about it is the message of never giving in. Andy Dufresne was an innocent man thrown in prison, and he could have just folded, given in to the system and let himself be beaten down - but he didn’t. He kept persevering and digging that tunnel. He had an endgame, he worked for it, and eventually he got his just rewards. That’s what you’ve got to do in life - when you’re faced with hard times you have to be resilient, be determined, and you’ll come through it in the end. Your experiences make you what you are.

Is there a filmmaker or actor who inspires you?

I’ve always been a DeNiro fan. I like people who portray strong characters, and he’s one of those actors who captivates you every time - every movie he’s in, you want to watch, and he always gives a great performance. He’s proven to be very diverse too, which is admirable. At the beginning of his career he was in danger of becoming pigeon-holed as one-dimensional, but he developed and mellowed, and has shown himself to be very flexible. No matter what he turns his hand to - drama, thriller, comedy, even bagel ads! - he delivers quality every time, and that’s what I like.

What parallels do you see between the world of filmmaking and the world of accounting and business advisory?

A film director and a business leader need to have very similar attributes. To get the best out of their people they need to create a team environment and a culture that allows everyone to play to their strengths, and recognises and rewards different personalities and abilities. You can’t be the superstar without a quality cast in a supporting role. To that extent, movies, sports and business are all aligned.

What are you most looking forward to about this year’s Film Festival?

Sunshine, good movies, beer and having some fun with clients and staff.