Radio Silence

What stops a father & son from being able to talk?



  • AWARDED –  Helen A Rose Bequest for distinguished work by Edinburgh College of Art
  • WINNER Audience Award – ECA Film/TV Graduation Screening @ Edinburgh Filmhouse, June 2013 (Premier)
  • NOMINATED – BAFTA Scotland New Talent Award 2014 – Best Factual
  • NOMINATED – RTS (Royal Television Society) Scotland Best Undergraduate Factual Award 2013.
  • SCREENED – Ickle Film Fest, Dundee (Opening Film)
  • SCREENED – 11th Inverness Film Festival, Nov 2013
  • SCREENED – BEELD VOOR BEELD, Amsterdam, EYE Film Institute, Dec 2013
  • SCREENED – Glasgow Short Film Festival, Feb 2014
  • SCREENED – Flatpack Film Festival, Birmingham, March 2014
  • SCREENED – Student Int. Film Festival Croatia, 2014
  • SCREENED – Zanzibar Int. Film Festival 2014
  • SCREENED – DocHeads, London, August 2014
  • SCREENED – Viscult Documentary Festival, Finland, Oct 2014
  • SCREENED – Aesthetica Short Film Festival, York, Nov 2014
  • SCREENED – Cromarty Film Festival Dec 2014
  • SCREENED – Student Cuts, Zagreb, May 2015
  • SCREENED – Shorts on Tap, in association with London Documentary Network, June 2015
  • SCREENED – Dunoon Film Festival 2015
  • SCREENED – Klubodrom, Pula, Croatia, 2015 (Part of STIFF on the road)


Radio Silence – Deleted Scene: The Radio Workshop from Duncan Cowles on Vimeo.

As far back as I can remember my Dad and I haven’t been able to talk to each other very well. I know hardly anything about him, except that he likes jazz music and fiddling with old radios in the garage.

Did my Dad talk to his Dad? I think they worked on radios together.

Radio SIlence - Dad

In an attempt to find out why my Dad and I don’t talk, I look at the life of a man I know even less about. My Dad’s Father.


My Grandpa died when I was five and I have no real memory of him other than when he was on his death bed. Since he’s died, nobody has talked about him (or that much at all). Why?

I travel the UK asking a family I barely know, about a man they’ve never spoken about. Will they lead me to the reason he’s not been talked about? Will they talk at all?

Will the journey lead me to the answer to why my Dad and I don’t talk?

Me trying to capture 8mm


Director’s Statement

Radio Silence is a film I’ve been researching my entire life. My third attempt at making this film has finally resulted in a finished product.

I’ve always been fascinated by family films and so naturally as a filmmaker my family has suffered me pointing a camera in their faces on more than one occasion the past few years whilst at film school. In this film I investigate the reasons why I find it difficult to talk to my Dad by looking at his Father, who has bever been talked about since his death when I was five.

It’s important for me to make sure that my work not only entertains, but contains emotion. (Difficult when you’re a bloke.)

Duncan Cowles at Beeld Voor Beeld festival in Amsterdam.

Aim of Film

By looking at my own relationship with my Father and investigating the reasons why we find it difficult to talk to each other, I aim to provide not just a window into my own circumstance but a mirror so that viewers can think about and reflect upon their own. There are many men, particularly in Scotland who find it difficult to communicate with their Father’s but aren’t brave enough to confront the reasons why. I hope to provoke others to look at, and think about their own relationships within their family and the unspoken bonds that tie them together.


More updates to be posted soon.

Degree Show Website

Mentioned on University website (albeit with the wrong title)

Nicola Herd: “In a set up that could easily have been dull or sentimental, Cowles’ deadpan humour shines through his narrative and makes the short film an entertaining watch from beginning to end.”


Directed by Duncan Cowles


Edited by Anna Deutsch

Co-Produced by Scott Willis

Sound Design by Nick Humphrey

Score by DFRNT

Music from Callum Barton

Exec Produced by Emma Davie

Posted on: 24th December, 2013

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