Funding for Gaelic film

Funding of almost £40,000 to help train aspiring young film-makers was announced by Alex Salmond yesterday (Wednesday) during a visit to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye.

The First Minister confirmed that a £25,000 grant from Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG) and £14,100 direct Scottish Government support would fund skills training for entrants to the 12-to-17-year-old category in this year’s FilmG competition.

FilmG is MG ALBA’s short film competition, which aims to uncover new talent for development on the Gaelic digital channel BBC ALBA and to produce significant new Gaelic content for the web, and was first launched in 2008.

The First Minister announced the funding as he visited Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, where he also met with Principal Boyd Robertson and other senior college staff to discuss a range of issues. Mr Salmond also meet some of the Scottish and international students attending the summer school.

He said: “I’m pleased to visit Sabhal Mòr Ostaig again, to meet the Principal and senior management and to see first hand the excellent work being undertaken at the college to enhance the place of Gaelic education and strengthen the status of the language across Scotland.

“It is also encouraging to hear about the positive impact which FilmG has had and the opportunities it has created in its first three years – inspiring many young people to consider careers in the screen industries. I am delighted to be able to confirm today that the Scottish Government and Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG) will support the competition this year, by funding workshop sessions for 12-to-17 year olds.

“The workshops provide young people with many of the experiences and outcomes outlined in the Curriculum for Excellence, including enhanced skills in literacy, language, numeracy and the expressive arts. FilmG offers an opportunity to build confidence, social awareness and help realise individual talents.”

The competition, now in its fourth year includes two categories – one for 12-to-17-year-olds and one for adults. FilmG also provides a comprehensive training programme for both categories throughout Scotland covering front of camera, production, scriptwriting, directing, camera, sound, editing and Gaelic. FilmG is delivered by Cànan, the creative multimedia company based in the Fàs Centre at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

Last year’s competition resulted in 324 young people taking part in training workshops and 54 per cent more films being created compared to the previous year. In the adult competition, there were 34 films entered, with a total of 84 adults participating in training activities. This year, community groups are also being encouraged to consider making a documentary, telling their story, for which there will be a specific prize.

Arthur Cormack, Cathraiche (Chair) of Bòrd na Gàidhlig said: “In seeking to increase numbers of Gaelic speakers there must be opportunities for young people to use Gaelic in a creative way in order to build up positive associations with the language outside the classroom. Bòrd na Gàidhlig recognises the impact of FilmG in this regard and our increased contribution will assist in providing workshops for young people in schools across Scotland, allowing a new generation to develop and use their Gaelic skills in creating new, short films.”

Donella Beaton, Chief Executive of Cànan, said: FilmG provides young people with an opportunity to use their Gaelic in an engaging and contemporary way. Today’s support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Scottish Government will allow us to work with more schools, more intensively, throughout Scotland. I’m confident that this support will be reflected in the films we receive at the end of the year

Alasdair Morrison, Chairman of MG ALBA, said: “Since its inception three years ago, FilmG has unearthed a number of talented people showing great enthusiasm and aptitude for working in the Gaelic media industry. In particular, the competition embraces the younger generations from our Gaelic speaking communities, helping to strengthen and encourage their skills and we have been delighted at the excellent calibre of entries from the 12-17 age group.

“The workshops offer fantastic training for those with a keen interest in filmmaking and allow young participants to learn a variety of skills required in making a short film from leading industry experts. We are delighted with today’s announcement which will allow us to develop the workshops further and help nurture some of the untapped creative talent in the Gaelic community.”