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Hebrides fishing doc nets top Gaelic-language film award

A documentary about the Outer Hebrides fishing industry made by the University of Edinburgh's Dr Magnus Course won a top prize at the FilmG Awards, which honour the year’s best Gaelic-language films.

Dr Magnus Course and the film team picking up the award from guest presenter Christine Primrose and Joy Dunlop

Dr Course’s short film – Muir ar n-Athraichean,which translates as ‘Our Fathers’ Sea’ –won the Film Dùthchais as Fheàrr category, for Gaelic films about environmental issues. 

The film is about the fishing industry in the Outer Hebrides, exploring the relationship between Gaelic, fishing and marine policy on the island of South Uist. It features members of South Uist’s fishing community at work and gives them a platform to discuss their views on the industry. The film explores how Gaelic forms an intrinsic part of fishermen’s engagement with the marine environment, and how this engagement is under threat.

Dr Course, a senior lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University's School of Social and Political Science, produced and co-directed the film with former Edinburgh PhD student, Alastair Cole.

He picked up his prize at the FilmG Awards at Glasgow’s Fruitmarket Gallery. 

Dr Course said: “The goal of the film is to illustrate the deep and enduring connections between Gaelic culture and sustainable fishing in the Outer Hebrides, the focus of my research over the past five years. These are uncertain times for the Scottish fishing industry, but hopefully this short film illustrates that, in the Outer Hebrides at least, fishing's roots in Gaelic language and culture form part of its commitment to a sustainable future for the seas and for fishing communities.

“Winning a FilmG award is obviously a great honour, and it’s wonderful to see the range, depth, and vitality of Gaelic film, all the way from schoolchildren to industry professionals. Hopefully, winning this award will ensure the film a much bigger audience and get across the central message that, given all the uncertainties surrounding Scottish fishing, it is more important than ever that the cultural and linguistic values that go alongside it are taken into account.”

The film is available to view here.

It was made in collaboration with the Western Isles Fishermen’s Association and with the support of the ESRC Impact Accelerator Award.

The FilmG Awards are run by MG ALBA and Skye-based media company Cànan Graphics Studio, to encourage the growth of Gaelic media talent. They have been running for 11 years and many former winners and contestants have gone on to work in the Gaelic TV and film industry.

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