In the youth category, films from the Highlands and Islands have made the most impact on the shortlists. The Nicolson Institute in Lewis has two films shortlisted for the ‘Best Film’.
The first film, ‘piosmathduff.com’ is about an old lady who uses an online dating site to try and find a wife for her messy son and the second film, ‘A-mach à Uchd a’ Bhàis’ (From the Jaws of Death), is a documentary following the incredible story of Norman Mackenzie in the Iolaire disaster.
Also shortlisted are a filmmaking duo from Tain, Jack Weir and Gordie Bryce for ‘Fàisneachd Dedrick’ (Dedrick’s Prophesy) about a businessman struggling to come to terms with his wife’s death, and Lochaber High School’s poignant film about bullying, ‘Origami’.
It wasn’t just school pupils who showcased their filmmaking expertise. The Open category, which is for aspiring filmmakers over the age of seventeen, also included some real gems.
The drama category is particularly strong with shortlist comprising of vlogger and social media star Calum MacLean for his film ‘Buaidh’ (Impact), previous winner of the student award, Lana Pheutan for her film Sòlas (Peace), Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Drama Group for the film ‘Na Baobhan Sìth’ (The Fairy Witch) and Napier student Jordan Sharkey, who studies at the City of Glasgow College campus, with his film ‘Ann am Priobadh na Sula’ (In the Blink of an Eye).
Three separate judging panels met in Glasgow and the Isle of Skye to review the films and choose the cream of the crop to make up this year’s shortlists. Among the judges were the new CBBC ALBA presenters, Hannah MacKirdy, Ellen MacDonald and Calum MacDonald who judged the primary school entries.
Calum said: “It was great to judge this year’s entries and it was clear that the kids have really enjoyed making their films. It was so hard to choose just four films for the shortlist but even those who aren’t shortlisted should be really proud, there is a lot of talent out there”.
Veteran broadcaster Morag Stewart, who was instrumental in establishing the popular Gaelic drama Bannan as well as producer of many other Gaelic programmes, was part of the judging panel for the High School entries and with 60 films to watch this was no easy task!
Morag said: “It was a very heartening being part of this year's judging team for the youth films. I was particularly pleased to see some good documentaries being made by this age group, I know from experience they usually opt for making dramas, as they think it’s more fun! However, this year's entries show that young people also see film as a way of highlighting local, national and global issues.
“It’s also clear that year after year the quality of the films is improving as young people get more and more adept with new technology. Along with the other judges, I was also pleased that the standard of Gaelic remains high amongst this age group.”
The winners will be announced at the prestigious FilmG awards ceremony taking place at the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow on Friday 8 February. Keep an eye on social media for information about tickets.