Directed by Ted Simpson – who will appear live on stage for a Q&A following the screening – The Cull explores how best to manage a species that, while an integral part of Scotland’s natural world, is present in such high numbers that it has a massive, and often negative, impact on the landscape of the Highlands.

Deer are culled each year in an attempt to manage and maintain the landscape and ecosystems that they are a central part of, but a debate has long raged regarding the size, nature and purpose of the cull. This documentary explores that debate and asks how deer fit within the wider conversation around ‘rewilding’ – itself a concept that generates strong opinion from all sides.

Filmed on location throughout the Highlands, The Cull has resonated with audiences both in the UK and internationally, scooping Best Mountain Environment and Natural History Film at this year’s Banff Mountain Film Festival – the most prestigious festival of its kind in the world.

“Talking to people from all over the Highlands and on all sides of the debate, the film presents

the issues as seen by real people on the ground,” explained Ted. “Ultimately, we want this film to pose questions to the audience – and challenge them to think deeper when we look at ourselves and how we interact with, care for and perceive our wild spaces.”

Here in the UK, the Cull also scooped the award for Best Environmental Film at last year’s Kendal Mountain Festival, with the festival jury commenting: “This is an incredibly important documentary. The (re) wilding debate is hugely charged and pitches the metropolitan resident vs. the rural. This documentary balances views. It doesn’t preach but allows the viewer to engage more thoroughly with the debate. For anyone involved in the outdoors this is essential viewing.”

Ted Simpson will introduce his film, and take questions after, when The Cull screens as part of the 2021 Peebles Outdoor Film Festival at the Eastgate Theatre, 7.30pm Fri 13 August. For tickets, and the full festival programme, visit eastgatearts.com