Cutting Loose

Finlay Pretsell, Adrian McDowall, Sonja Henrici (Producer), Noe Mendelle (Producer)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


“I’m trusted with a pair of scissors and I’m in here for murder”.

Prison life in the build up to the annual Scottish Prison Service hairdressing competition. Winning the coveted prize is the ultimate goal, but Francis, the current champion has other objectives on his mind. We hear dreams and aspirations of some of Scotland’s most dangerous prisoners turning their lives around through cutting the hair of fellow inmates on a daily basis.

“10 minutes in here is like 10 minutes outside jail”

We discover how hairdressing is helping many of Scotland’s prisoners come to terms with their crimes and preparing them for life outside.

Exec Producers: Mendelle/Henrici

Contribution of the Research:
This is part of our nurturing, talent development scheme – taking and supporting young Scottish talent to move on from short to mid length documentary. And to negotiate a shared creative language between television and independent cinema.

This film was produced in Scottish prisons over a period of several months filming and with the close collaboration of prison officers. The presence of the filmmakers in prison brought a cultural contact to prisoners and offered them a space to reflect.

The main character has now been out of prison for a year and through the identification of the film seems to be able to keep on the straight and narrow. He has been attending screenings and acted as speaker for the film.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputFilm
Size30 min
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventDokuweeks - New York, United States
Duration: 3 Aug 20129 Aug 2012


  • prison
  • documentary
  • hairdressing


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