Strontian teenager takes treble at Gaelic film awards

Parker Dawes, centre back, along with his classmates and cast John MacPhearson, Roscoe Dawes, Ruaraidh MacAulay and Alexander Pervan.

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A Strontian teenager has notched a hat-trick in this year’s Gaelic short film competition FilmG.

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

Parker moved to Scotland from England with his family when he was four and learned Gaelic when he attended a Gaelic speaking primary school.

His film is about two spies who are looking to be hired when they get a call from a client who wants them to steal a file from a top secret location in Scotland. We see them retrieve the file and fight off some bad guys along the way.

This was Parker’s own independent entry, put together in his own time and filmed on his iPhone.

Parker said: ‘We chose the spy topic because it was completely opposite to the film we made last year for FilmG, which unfortunately didn’t win any prizes.

‘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 thought through and planned.

‘Sometimes it was hard to get everyone together for filming, and editing was difficult but very rewarding.’

There is an English subtitled version of Spies-R-Us on YouTube.

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, has picked up two separate awards, Film Duthchais and Best Director (Anna Garvin).

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.’

Films followed this year’s competition theme Lorg, which means search, find or trace, and with more than 90 filmmakers attempting to find the winning formula, the judges had a tough job whittling down the entries over multiple days.

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 among 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.’

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.’

A specially-created awards programme has been shown on BBC ALBA and will be available to watch on the BBC iPlayer until the end of March.

All films from this year’s competition are available to watch on the FilmG website: