There were a record-breaking number of entries for this year’s competition to meet the deadline last week and they are all available now to watch online (from Wednesday December 18).
A massive 103 entries were submitted in total, including 23 films to the open category, 75 films made by young people aged 5-18, and five scripts. The competition is now well-established in schools and with Gaelic speakers and filmmakers across the country. Voting for The People’s Choice Award is open until the end of January. Shortlists chosen by a panel of media professionals will be announced in January and their winners will be unveiled at the Awards Ceremony on 14 February 2020. Each year, we encourage aspiring filmmakers to show off their talent and creativity. This year filmmakers were tasked with making films relating to the theme “Treòraich,” which means guide or lead.
Many Glasgow and Edinburgh based filmmakers took part including industry entrant, Glasgow-based freelance filmmaker Hamish MacLeod. His documentary film Aig an Oir (The Edge) follows Lochalsh-born climber Kenny Rankin as he takes on a renowned route in Ayrshire, and ex-pupil of Greenfaulds High School, filmmaking student Tommy Hammond documentary film celebrates the work of two influential Gaelic teachers in his old school.
Primary schools in the area showed interest as well, with Condorrat and Mount Cameron primaries taking part as well as Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghleann Dail on Glasgow’s South Side who have had a film club running in order to make their film An Coidse (The Coach).
Edinburgh entrants have also been creative across the youth and open categories, with QMU student Cara Turner exploring a world where guidance on all of life’s issues comes at the touch of a button in her drama film, EFFY. Napier student Joseph Flower’s film Sgiùradh (Scrubbing), follows a washing woman who has secret powers, as she quietly solves problems for her neighbours. Pupils at James Gillespie’s High School made a film as part of the FilmG Workshops process, and two independent entries including a comedy based at a tea-making championship.
In the Highlands and Islands, comedy was popular this year. Kilmuir Drama Club in north Skye adapted a stage play for screen in Bùth nan Èisg (The Fish Market) which follows a cheekily-named proprietor, and a variety of weird and wonderful staff and customers as they go about their business.
The Nicolson Institute’s S2s Advanced Higher pupils’ film Holiday Inn-tinneach sees holidaymakers arrive at Lewis’ answer to Fawlty Towers, while Culloden Academy’s Gaelic learners made a film about an old man who comes up with an innovative solution to a shortage of black pudding.
Some of the high schools have taken a supernatural or historical slant on the theme, including Ardnamurchan High School’s fluent speakers whose sci-fi film Reòite! (Frozen) sees science whizz John invent a machine that can stop time, only for it to land in the wrong hands. Dingwall Academy created a drama film with influential characters from Scotland’s past while Citadel High School in Halifax, Nova Scotia, took part for the first time with a film based on a traditional Cape Breton tale.
The newly-introduced award for Best Documentary in the youth category has been popular too. Castlebay High School’s fluent-speakers’ film Tìr a’ Gheallaidh (Land of Promise) tells the little-known story of the Annie Jane, a ship which was wrecked off the coast of Vatersay in 1853 with 450 passengers, mostly emigrants, on board.
Independent filmmakers have explored a variety of topics within the documentary genre, as well as making drama, comedy, and animation-based films.