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Spies, police officers and wild swimming: Winners of Gaelic film competition FilmG announced

Spies-R-Us by Parker Dawes won a major prize at the event. Pictures supplied by Electrify Marketing and Communication.
Spies-R-Us by Parker Dawes won a major prize at the event. Pictures supplied by Electrify Marketing and Communication.

And the winner is… The winners of this year’s prestigious Gaelic short film competition FilmG 2022 were announced on Friday in a special awards ceremony on BBC Alba.

Many of the winners across the 17 prize categories were brought into the FilmG studio by video link to accept their award

They enjoyed the craic onscreen with programme hosts and competition stalwarts Fiona MacKenzie and Niall Iain MacDonald.

Students from Ardnamurchan High School and their film ‘Beatha Iain Lom’.

Films followed this year’s competition theme lorg, which means search, find or trace.

With 90 filmmakers attempting to find the winning formula, the judges had a tough job whittling down the entries over multiple days.

Spies-R-Us

Parker Dawes, 14, a pupil at Ardnamurchan High School in Strontian, scooped three awards – Best Young Filmmaker, Best Film Fluent Speakers and Best Production, for his slapstick spy thriller Spies-R-Us.

Parker said: “We chose the spy topic because it was opposite to the film we made last year which didn’t win any prizes.

Spies-R-Us.

“We were interested to see if an action film could get different results – and it worked! I created a storyboard and we had crash mats so everything was well planned.

“I’ve always loved filmmaking and I’ve always looked up to FilmG. I’m really happy to get these awards because my friends and I were so sad when we didn’t win last year. It was great to be on that podium as a winner.”

Thar Nan Sgòth – Beinn Eighe – Above the Clouds – Beinn Eighe

A Gaelic police officer takes on an investigation in one of the dramas presented by MG Alba. Pictures supplied by Electrify Marketing and Communication.

A film about hillwalking and scrambling as a way to get a new perspective on the world from beyond the cold, dark glens and high above the clouds, Thar Nan Sgòth – Beinn Eighe (Above the Clouds – Beinn Eighe) by Anndra Cuimeanach from Gairloch secured the prize for Best Documentary (12-17).

‘A’ Mhuir’ – The Sea

In the Open category a short documentary called ‘A’ Mhuir’ (The Sea) about wild swimming by the students at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in the Isle of Skye who take part in the sport, has picked up two separate awards, Film Duthchais and Best Director for Anna Garvin from Oban.

Emily Murray, 21, from Lewis, accepted the FilmG award on behalf of the class.

She said: “Taking part in FilmG was a good opportunity to practice the skills we had learned in class, such as camera, sound and editing.”

Ms Garvin, 23, who is studying Gaelic in media at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Skye, said: “I feel very honoured to have won this.

“It was my first time directing and I learnt so much about the skills needed to direct from working on this film.

“Entering FilmG was a great opportunity to use all the technical and production skills we had learnt so far to create a film that would be shown to a public audience.”

Am Buaile Dubh

Am Buaile Dubh which takes a look around the area of the same name on the outskirts of Inverness, has secured the Best Performance award for the film’s producer and narrator, Eòghan Stiùbhart.

Mr Stiùbhart, 40, from Inverness, is a Gaelic teacher with over 5,000 followers on Instagram for his Scottish Gaelic learning videos.

Beatha Iain Lom. Pictures supplied by Electrify Marketing and Communication.

He’s also an advocate for men’s mental health.

He said: “Am Buaile Dubh is a crofting and forest area very high up. I went there a lot through lockdown because it’s within five miles of my house yet it’s quite wild and exposed.

“It’s a great place to be outdoors and get exercise, I often run there and back or go for walks to clear my head.

“Going there allows me to be in a little world of my own and it’s very beneficial for my mental health.

‘A sense of belonging and a sense of history’

“I did some research into the old maps and discovered a lot more people stayed there in the old days and came that way as drovers with cattle, there used to be a road to Inverness.

Parker Dawes took home won of the top prizes of the night. Pictures supplied by Electrify Marketing and Communication.

“I was really interested to find bronze age huts and boundary stones which separate the land that was owned by two big families who owned much of the Highlands.

“I’ve also enjoyed finding out what the Gaelic place names mean and it’s helped me to feel a sense of belonging and a sense of history.

He added: “There’s been a long continuity of people who have been there before and will come after which makes you realise you’re part of something bigger.

“For this film I wrote a monologue about what the place means to me which paired this with my own and old images and maps to illuminate the place.

“Winning this award was a real surprise and honour, it was really cool to win the big metal G.”

Thòisich e le Sreothart! It started with a sneeze!

Cheryl Heggie School of Dance in Inverness and Sìne na Screen’s film Thòisich e le Sreothart! (It started with a sneeze!) has also won the People’s Choice award.

This film is about the dancers at the Highland Games who are registered in a mix up of competitions after the registration official sneezes, breaks his glasses and scrambles to gather the flying paperwork.

Am Buaile Dubh. Picture supplied by FilmG. Pictures supplied by Electrify Marketing and Communication.

Undaunted, the dancers compete in traditional events  such as tossing the caber, baking competition, tug of war and hill race, with an entertaining take on each event.

One of the dancers is tossed instead of the caber. Other dancers enter a giant inflatable cake into the baking competition, and the swords come out to intimidate the opposing team in the tug-of-war.

But when the bagpipes start the dancers know that the reason they have come to the Games is to dance, and they all gather on the stage to enjoy a Highland Fling.

All the children in the film are fluent Gaelic speakers from Gaelic medium education at Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis and Inverness Royal Academy.

The adult participants are a mixture of native speakers and learners living in Inverness.

Filmmaker Sìne NicFhionghain from Inverness, said: “We wanted to make a film where as many people involved in the Highland Dancing school, dancers along with friends and family, had the opportunity to be part of a fun project and use their Gaelic.

A cast of 43

Cheryl Heggie School of Dance. Pictures supplied by Electrify Marketing and Communication.

“There were 43 cast members along with numerous props and we only had a short time to film so we had to be organised. It was very cold on the main day we filmed, so all the cast were happy to dance together to warm up in the end scene! One of the dancers broke her ankle the day before so we had a last minute substitute.

“We would like to thank all those that voted for us in the run up to the FilmG awards. Every vote is appreciated and we hope you all enjoy our film. We had great fun planning and shooting the film and we hope it brings a smile to your face!”

Debbie Mackay, project manager at CGS who deliver the project, said: “It was another great year for entries, and we were especially impressed by the high level of storytelling and filmmaking skills amongst our youth categories. As the competition continues to grow, we see filmmakers push themselves to a higher standard year after year. It’s a privilege to be a part of the project.”

Ardnamurchan pupils were keen to get in on the action. Pictures supplied by Electrify Marketing and Communication.

FilmG ‘so important’ to Gaelic media

Iseabail Mactaggart, director of multi-platform content at MG ALBA said: “FilmG has always been so important to Gaelic media as a whole and also to the individual filmmakers and groups who take part year after year.

“Seeing the talent coming through the ranks and refining their craft in order to pick up one of the coveted prizes is gratifying for all involved in Gaelic media, and testament to our ambition to continue to nurture an unrivalled Gaelic-speaking talent base both in front of, and behind the camera for years to come.”

All films from this year’s competition are available to watch on the FilmG website: www.filmg.co.uk

 

 

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