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Hebrides International Film Festival to premiere movie inspired by selkie myth and shot in Outer Hebrides

Hebrides International Film Festival
Still from Mara - The Seal Wife.

Hebrides International Film Festival 2021 is to present the world premiere of Uisdean Murray’s movie inspired by the myth of the selkie and shot in the Outer Hebrides.

Uisdean Murray, who wrote and directed the film, hails from North Uist and his movie, Mara – The Seal Wife, has been his passion project for many years.

Two successful crowdfunding campaigns have brought the film to the screens. Uisdean said that this approach meant he could keep control of the production and shoot it his own way – a factor that was important due to the ambitious nature of the story and the logistics of shooting in the remote Outer Hebrides.

Uisdean will be at the premiere at An Lanntair Arts Centre, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, on Tuesday July 20, with a second showing of the film at Kinloch Community Hub, Balallan, Isle of Lewis, the following day.

On Thursday July 22, Uisdean and producer Adam Keltie will be at the showing of the film on their home island of North Uist and will introduce the film.

Film inspired by selkie folklore

Mara – The Seal Wife is a magic realism tale inspired by selkie folklore. In the film, after giving birth to their child on a beach during the dead of night, Sine (Sarah Pritchard) runs into the darkness leaving her husband Magnus (Kevin Kelly) in a state of anguish.

From there, the main characters seek answers behind Sine’s behaviour and discover the harrowing events of her past life that brought her into the realm of the selkies, the mythological creatures that take the shape of seals, but shed their skin to take human form.

Hebrides International Film Festival (HIFF) director Muriel Ann Macleod said: “HIFF is delighted to be able to give Uisdean’s film its premiere in his native islands.

“The festival is dedicated to strengthening the opportunities for island-based filmmakers to get their work made and shown, and the tenacity and commitment Uisdean has shown in developing this project to completion is very inspiring, as is his commitment to making a film that features the islands and the ocean mythology and culture they share.

Hebrides International Film Festival
Hebrides International Film Festival will return later this month and premiere new films.

“This year we can really celebrate the development of island-shot cinematic film in the festival, as apart from Mara we have Alastair Cole’s Iorram and Limbo by Ben Sharrock.

“Mara also features actors with island backgrounds and is in part shot in Gaelic, and I am sure that these screenings will be one of the real hits of this year’s festival.”

Hebrides International Film Festival celebrates global cinema

Now in its seventh year, Hebrides International Film Festival will bring a celebration of independent global cinema to venues across the Outer Hebrides and feature a number of exciting new films.

From July 19 to 24, 43 films from 16 countries will be shown in 10 venues along the chain of islands from the Port of Ness on the Isle of Lewis to Castlebay on the Isle of Barra.

The festival programme will also bring climate change film Ice on Fire – produced by Leonardo DiCaprio – to Hebridean audiences.

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