Argyll’s very own BBC Alba celebrity, Scottish Gaelic broadcaster, singer and step dancer Joy Dunlop, launched our workshops programme today at Oban High School.

Joy, a former pupil, was delighted to return to the school to reveal an exciting preview of a new digital lesson booklet for pupils at the launch of Film G’s High School Training Programme.

This year’s theme for entries, which is optional, is “Treòraich” which means “guide, or lead” and could be interpreted in a variety of ways.

Joy, who comes from Connel, went on to study Gaelic at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Skye. She is a passionate ambassador for the language and now works as a singer, conductor, dancer, and television presenter.

Her talents combined, earlier this year, when she conducted the first ever Gaelic choir to take part in the Eurovision Choir contest in Gothenburg, which aired on BBC ALBA.

Joy is a long-time supporter of FilmG, and even appeared in a film herself back in 2011. She encourages learners and fluent speakers to take advantage of opportunities like FilmG.

She said: “Film G is a fantastic opportunity for fluent speakers and Gaelic learners alike to gain practical media experience – from appearing on camera to writing scripts, learning practical camera and sound skills to post-production work. The skills and exposure that they will gain are invaluable and I’m excited to see what films will be produced by my old school this year.”

Pupils were thrilled to take part in a front of camera taster workshop with Joy, and received some excellent tips. The school is no stranger to the FilmG Shortlist, with many pupils shortlisted for their acting skills over the years, and they are hopeful that their newly developed skills will enable them to continue this tradition.

The second of the taster sessions focussed on new technologies, with virtual reality from the BBC for pupils to try, and a look at the lesson resources for the 2019 -2020 edition of FilmG.

The competition is incorporating augmented reality into its marketing materials and training resources for secondary schools. Using this technology enables pupils all over Scotland to receive a virtual lesson from a “pop-up” FilmG team, through their phone or tablet.

The interactive lesson booklet will support pupils and teachers as they prepare their ideas, scripts, and storyboards, before they make their film over the course of two days under the guidance of a professional filmmaker and actor arranged by the FilmG team.

FilmG Project Manager, Eilidh Rankin, said: “It’s been great to showcase our lesson booklet in Oban today and to celebrate so much talent from the area.

“We incorporated AR into our lesson support last year, and the films were the best yet in terms of storytelling, and we saw a breadth of subjects being covered.

“We hope this will be the case again in 2020 and we’re confident some new additions to the prize list will see youth participants making an extra effort!”

Perhaps the most exciting opportunity yet for high schools taking part in the workshops is the award for the FilmG International Representative, with a film from the workshops process being selected to represent Scotland at an International Film Festival and some lucky pupils getting to attend.

As ever, young people are encouraged to go it alone too, and a new £500 award for Best Documentary which is open to independent filmmakers as well as school groups, is expected to encourage independent filmmakers.

Also, in attendance was Murdo MacSween, Communications Manager at MG ALBA, who sees growing opportunities for young Gaelic-speakers in the media sector. He said:

“FilmG showcases young Gaelic talent and it creates a buzz about storytelling and filmmaking, key skills for a career in media. And every year we see more and more FilmG alumni working in television, proof of the project’s ongoing success.”

This year’s competition is now open for entries and closes on the Tuesday, December, 10.