Islay High pitches two new short films for ‘Gaelic Oscars’

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Emerging from a tricky year for projects everywhere, Islay has once again produced entries to be proud of for the FilmG 2022 competition.

Devised by and featuring young people from Islay High, the films are now online for viewing before judging takes place in a few weeks’ time.

There are several prizes up for grabs and shortlists will be drawn up. There’s also a ‘People’s Choice’ Award, where votes can be placed online for each film.

For those unfamiliar with FilmG, it’s the Gaelic film competition with lots of categories and Islay has had plenty of success in previous years.

Every year there’s an awards event in February, sometimes known as the Gaelic Oscars.

It’s launched the career of several young Scottish film makers and works closely with schools and Gaelic community organisations to develop skills, confidence and of course Gaelic language.

This year’s competition theme is Lorg – to seek or find, and each film has its own original take on that. Both films demonstrate great team work and imagination and were filmed in December following weeks of workshops.

The project has been a partnership between Islay High and Comunn na Gàidhlig, and it had the benefit of the film maker Hamish MacLeod on location at Ardnahoe.

Hamish is a videographer, photographer and musician who has worked extensively on music videos and landscape films including the recent BBC Alba series Dàna. He helped put everyone at ease and passed on invaluable technical skills to the whole group.

One of the learners’ group, Scott Hope, reported: ‘It was a fun experience and I learned a lot of Gaelic from it.’

Another member, Millie Clark, added: ‘It was fantastic to be involved in FilmG! Hamish the cameraman was great at getting everyone involved. I enjoyed it because it was about an Islay myth. Mr Beggs and Lynn were also great at getting it all organised and writing the script.’

Iain Beggs, Gaelic teacher at Islay High and no stranger to the film world, said: ‘It was really good to see the pupils making a big effort with their film…they’re all worthy of praise in creating and recording for FilmG.’

The Gaelic Learners’ film is based on the story of Easga Bhuidhe, a traditional tale of a giant from Jura and the stone on the hill at Ardnahoe. A group of walkers discuss the area and the myth that saying Easga’s name three times makes her appear, and
we see what happens next!

The film is set entirely outdoors at Ardnahoe itself with the spectacular scenery of Jura and the Sound as the backdrop. Most of the young actors are Gaelic beginners and do a fantastic job with the script, a challenge even in your first language.

Fluent speakers who have been educated through Gaelic have made an excellent short film, A’ Lorg, about the clearances and reincarnation, set within the high school itself and featuring fine performances and a great script.

You can view and vote for your favourite film on the website

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Caption: A film crew from Islay High School deploy the spectacular backdrop of the Sound of Islay for their entry into the ‘Gaelic Oscars’ this February.