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Four local films short-listed at Scottish Gaelic Filmfest

An illustration representing the Maxwell brothers, from the film The Black Gaels.


February 7, 2024

-by Shelly Haill
    FilmG is an annual short-film competition, based in Scotland, with the goal of finding, nurturing, and showcasing new talent in Gaelic media. The contest is open to submissions from around the world, in a variety of different categories, with the two most important criteria being that the film must be in Gaelic and under five minutes long.
    This year, there were over 160 entries and, for the first time in the competition’s history, seven of those were from Canada – Nova Scotia, to be exact. Of those, the following four have been short-listed for FilmG Awards.
    Colette Thomas, originally from Iona, has been nominated for the Inspiration Award (Over 18) for her documentary Na Gàidheil Dubha (The Black Gaels). This fascinating short film is about the origins of a black Gaelic-speaking cook featured Captains Courageous, a story by Rudyard Kipling; first published in 1896 and 1897 in McClure’s Magazine in New York. The character is based on black Gaelic-speaking twins from Cape Breton: John and George Maxwell. At the time, Kipling’s character sparked disbelief among readers that a black man could speak Gaelic. The twin boys were born in Marble Mountain to George and Mary Jane Maxwell, where they grew up in a Gaelic-speaking household. As the only family of African descent in the area, the twins were very much part of the Gaelic community and were well-known singers and composers of Gaelic songs. John was also a fiddler who played many of the old scotch tunes.
    Whycocomagh School Gaelic students have been nominated for the Inspiration Award (Under 18) for An Tàillear Paireastach (The Parish Tailor). Shelly Campbell’s grade seven and eight students participated in a workshop put on by FilmG when the Scottish film organization visited schools and communities across Nova Scotia last year to promote the creation of Gaelic language films. Their film is based on a traditional story that has been passed down orally through generations of storytellers. It tells of “John the Tailor” who was coming over from Scotland on a sailing ship to Nova Scotia when a whale started to follow the vessel. What did the Tailor and the crew do?
    Dùghall Mac a’ Phì of Mabou is up for Best Performance for his role in An Leabhar Prìseil (The Precious Book). This film was created at a workshop run by Còmhlan Filmeadairean Gàidhlig na h-Albann Nuaidh (Gaelic Filmmakers Society of Nova Scotia) last July. The film follows Dougie (Doughall) as he tries to find a particular book in his local library; but it’s not that easy to get a hold of it.
    Jude MacDhòmhnaill of Halifax has been nominated for Best Production Design for Seall agus Innis (Show and Tell). What is the last thing you looked at with love? That is the question filmmaker Jude MacDhòmhnaill asked eight different people and then filmed their answer to present it through their point of view.
    Independent judges evaluated the films and they have short-listed 50 films for awards, including the four from Nova Scotia. Winners will be announced at The FilmG Awards Gala which will take place on February 23rd, in Glasgow. The award show will be live-streamed on FilmG’s YouTube channel (filmgalba), where you can also currently watch all of the short-listed films. Good luck to all of the nominees! Sealbh math dhuibh!


 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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