FIRST Minister Alex Salmond has announced funding to help train aspiring film-makers during a visit to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye.
Mr Salmond confirmed 10,000 Scottish Government funding and 15,000 from Brd na Gidhlig to support skills training for entrants to the Gaelic language short-film competition, FilmG. He was visiting Cnan, the creative multimedia company which is delivering the competition awards and is based in the Fs Centre at the Gaelic college.
FilmG was launched by MG ALBA, the Gaelic Media Service, in 2008 to uncover new talent for development on the Gaelic digital channel, BBC ALBA and to produce significant new Gaelic content for the web. The competition, now in its third year, has attracted more than 100 Gaelic films its first two years, all of which are available for viewing online. The competition includes training in production, scriptwriting, directing, camera, sound, editing and Gaelic.
During his visit the First Minister also had a meeting with Sabhal Mr Ostaig Principal Boyd Robertson and other senior college staff, where they discussed a range of issues.
Mr Salmond said: "I'm pleased to be at Sabhal Mr Ostaig again to meet the college's senior management and delighted to hear of the positive impact FilmG is having and the opportunities that the competition is creating.
"The Scottish Government is committed to increasing the number of Gaelic speakers, enhancing the place of Gaelic education, improving the status of the language across Scotland and supporting Gaelic-speaking communities. Sabhal Mr Ostaig plays a key role in helping us meet our objectives - promoting Gaelic language and culture, making a distinctive contribution to further and higher education in Scotland, revitalising the rural economy of Skye and forming important international links.
"The Scottish Government is also a strong supporter of MG ALBA. The FilmG Awards is a tremendous initiative that in its first two years has already inspired many talented and creative people in Scotland. The competition provides exciting opportunities for entrants to take their first few steps towards a career in the screen industries. I'm delighted to announce 25,000 funding from the Scottish Government and Brd na Gidhlig to support the training of those taking part in this year's FilmG Awards."
Alasdair Morrison, Chairman of MG ALBA, said: "FilmG has unlocked a whole new area of creative talent among Gaelic speakers of all ages. We are delighted that the project has the support of the Scottish Government and Brd na Gidhlig, as well as the continued support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and many other organisations, and we look forward to seeing this year's crop of new films in December when they come available online."
Arthur Cormack, Cathraiche of Brd na Gidhlig, said: "Brd na Gidhlig is delighted to support FilmG once more. The Brd's Action Plan to increase numbers of Gaelic speakers, Ginealach r na Gidhlig, calls for opportunities for young people, particularly those in Gaelic medium education, to use Gaelic in a creative way and build up positive associations with the language outside the classroom. Participation in FilmG is one way in which this can be realised and we wish it continued success."
Donella Beaton, Chief Executive of Cnan, said: "108 Gaelic films have been made through FilmG and over 300 people have participated in training so far. Today's announcement will allow us to expand our adult training programme and support more than 20 schools throughout Scotland. The quality of the films received show that the money is well spent."
This year's FilmG theme is 'Lmh an Uachdar' ('The Upper Hand') and both Gaelic and non-Gaelic speaking entrants are being encourage to take part to showcase their creative talent on screen. FilmG can offer additional opportunities in the Gaelic digital media industry if successful, with the first winner of the competition having had his short production shown at international film festivals throughout the world.