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FilmG Awards

14 February 2020

A film highlighting the effects of climate change on the Scottish islands has picked up the Film Dùthchais (Community) award at this year’s prestigious Gaelic Short Film Competition (FilmG) ceremony in Glasgow.

AN DRÀSTA! (RIGHT NOW!), made by Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust) on the Isle of Lewis, features young people from across the Western Isles who have been involved in the recent Climate Strikes.

The film focuses on the effect that climate change will have on their own communities, and other communities across the world, and encourages people to get involved in Climate Change activism to make a difference.

Liam Crouse from Uist, who featured in the film, said: “The Western Isles are among the first areas in Scotland that will be affected by the steadily worsening conditions which climate change, and sea-level rise, will bring. Areas such as Am Bràigh in Lewis and Cille Pheadair in South Uist are extremely vulnerable to the more severe and more frequent extreme weather. AN-DRÀSTA helped to highlight this existential threat to politicians, islanders and the wider public.”

Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn, a community owned estate in the north west of Lewis, receives £1,000 to spend on equipment.

Louise Senior from Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn, said: “The young people who volunteered their time and energy to make the film showed such passion and we are so pleased to see their dedication recognised with an award. The whole process has been a real team effort so we will have to sit down and decide together how best to use the prize money.”

This year’s hotly contested People’s Choice award went to Staffin Primary School in Skye, who mounted a robust social media campaign to garner an impressive 1210 votes to come out on top. Their tongue-in-cheek tourism infomercial, Fàilte don Eilean, takes a practical but entertaining approach to advising tourists on how to behave when visiting the island.

Presenting the award was the Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, Kate Forbes MSP, who said: “It was great to attend the FilmG awards, an evening which showcased the great wealth of talent out there and which celebrates Gaelic storytelling and media skills. It was my pleasure to present the People’s Choice award to Staffin Primary School for their highly entertaining and original take on tourist advice.”

FilmG is run by MG ALBA and Skye-based media company Cànan Graphics Studio, to encourage the growth of Gaelic media talent. It has been running for 12 years, and has been the platform for many people now working within the Gaelic TV and film industry.

Cànan Graphics Studio Business Development Manager, Garry Noakes, said: “The judges were handed an unenviable task in choosing the winners from such a strong field of entries. Congratulations and kudos to all who took part in the film making process and have contributed to making FilmG 12 such a big success.”

Murdo MacSween, Communications Manager for MG ALBA, said: “FilmG is hugely influential, with films covering important topics but also injecting some fun into the process of how to create Gaelic content. The awards this year were fantastic in celebrating what the future of Gaelic media has to offer and I’m looking forward to seeing more and more from everyone who took part.”

Meabh NicChoinnich from South Uist, who stars in the film, was also shortlisted in the Best Performance category, but on the night the £200 prize went to joint winners, Euan MacDonald and Lachlan Peel, both from Edinburgh, for their performance in Lachlan’s film, Àrdan is Aineolas: Soidhnichean. Lachlan, a winner in last year’s competition, was also nominated in the Best Film and Best Student Film categories for his film, which takes a light hearted look at why the general public seem to get so upset by Gaelic signage.

The title of Best Film went to Shannon NicIlleathain of Tobermory, who scooped the £1,000 prize with her delightful documentary, Seònaid, which looks at the life of Janet MacDonald, who has spent her life supporting the Gaelic language on Mull. Shannon had also received a nomination in the Film Dùthchais as Fheàrr category.

Best Student Film, and the £1000 prize, was won by Joseph Flower of Dunbar for his film Sgiùradh, based on the traditional folk tale of the washer woman, but with a twist. Joseph himself doesn’t speak Gaelic, but his sister Izzy does, and she was nominated in the Best Performance category for her role in the film.

The Best Industry Director award went to Hamish MacLeòid of Glasgow for his spectacular climbing documentary, Aig an Oir, filmed on a rocky Ayrshire crag, the use of drone footage brilliantly showing the scale of the climb. Hamish’s film was also nominated in the Best Film category, but his Best Industry Director prize sees him win £2,500 to spend on equipment.

Winning a television production placement in the Highlands through HIE is Mara Drysdale of Lochcarron, after picking up the award for Most Promising Director. Her documentary Gualainn ri Gualainn traces the history of the Lochcarron shinty team and its importance within the community.

Best Mobile Short was won by last year’s winner of the same award, Eilidh NicIain from Dingwall, for her psychologically disturbing film Smuaintean an Diabhail, in which we see a young woman journey from sane to psychotic over the course of the film. Eilidh was also nominated for Best Performance for her own role in the film, and wins a placement on BBC’s The Social as her prize.

The only film to pick up two awards in this year’s competition featured in the Youth category and was made by Anndra Cuimeanach of Gairloch. Siùbhal gu Sear sees Anndra travel the breadth of Scotland on two wheels within a day, and was the recipient of Best Documentary and the Gaelic Award for Fluent Speakers.

This year’s award for Best Film in the Youth category was picked up by Culloden Academy in Inverness, for their surreal comedy, Eilean nam Muc, following one farmer’s attempts to produce a more humane black pudding.

Ardnamurchan High School in Acharacle, were the recipients of two awards for their two films in this year’s competition. The school received four nominations in total, but were the very worthy recipients of the FilmG International Representative award for their film Reòite, and the Gaelic Award for Learners for their film An Cuach, na h-Iuchraichean agus an Dron.

This year’s Best Young Filmmaker was Alice Gordon of Glasgow, with her cleverly made film An Losgann agus An Sgairp, which takes viewers on a thought-provoking journey into the darker side of vlogging. Alice was also nominated for Best Performance for her part in Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu’s (Glasgow Gaelic School)’s film Ar Solas.

And fellow Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu (Glasgow Gaelic School) pupil, Conor Galbraith, picked up the award for Best Performance for his entertaining portrayal of Detective John Reid in the school’s who-dun-nit police drama, Fo Chasaid Muirt.

The award for Best Production was won by Plockton High School in Wester Ross for their high crime drama, An Corp, which sees murder and suspicion on the west coast.

Isle of Lewis school, Sgoil an Rubha’s film Cuairt Cuimhne took home the award for Best Youth Group Film for their heartfelt story of how we can learn and support each other across the generations.

A programme with highlights of the FilmG 2020 awards ceremony at The Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow airs on BBC Alba on Friday, February 21st at 9pm.