FilmG Success!

As many of you will know, I travelled up to Inverness last week with the filmmaking group I run to attend the FilmG Awards Ceremony. We were absolutely delighted to win not only the Best Prouction category, but also the People’s Choice Award. The latter award was conducted via online voting and we were in competition with not only all the other Young People’s films, but were also competing against all the Adult entries – a HUGE thanks to everyone who voted for the film.

The event was a true experience for all the pupils and was wonderfully hosted by MG Alba. The (female) pupils were especially please that Joe Thomas from The Inbetweeners was there too!

The event also motivated and inspired the pupils to continue to make films and really boosted their self-confidence and belief. I am extremely proud of them all, not only for what they have achieved but also for how they conducted themselves.

Whilst away, we also had the fortune to visit the media facilities at Sabhal Mor Ostaig. At this college they run a Media course and have some of the most amazing facilities that I have ever seen for an educational establishment – a full working studio, professional production room, sound booth, dressing rooms, and post-production suite. Many thanks to the staff who showed us round – once again, this visit inspired the pupils and showed them what they could potentially be a part of.

A terrific time was had by all and we’re already looking forward to when FilmG announce this year’s competition!

Once again, well done to all the pupils who were involved in the project – you’ve made a dream come true for me and I am very proud of you all!

A couple of links about Islay High School’s triumph:

For Argyll website

Armin Grewe’s Islay Blog


FilmG Shortlisting Success

Last Friday it was announced that the film the pupils made (An Tur) was shortlisted for the category of Best Production in this year’s FilmG competition. The pupils (and myself) are absolutely delighted with the news, especially as this is the first film that they have finished whilst being part of the filmmaking group that I run at Islay High School. It’s been great to view all the films that have been shortlisted for the various categories and it’s a real showcase for Gaelic medium filmmaking. We’ve certainly got some stiff competition in our category!

In order to attend the ceremony in Inverness on February 5th we’ve decided to make it a bit of a road trip. Myself and five members of the group will also be heading up to Skye to visit the media facilties at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, then head to Inverness for the Awards Ceremony, then down to Glasgow to hopefully pop into the BBC (time willing!), and then back to Islay.

Whoever the judges decide who the winner is, this will be a tremendous experience and adventure for the pupils, and will give them a memory that will last forever – they’re definitely looking forward to putting on their best dresses and suits for the event!

BBC Film Network

Have recently been enjoying checking out the mass of short films that are available on the BBC Film Network site. I would urge you to spend some time delving into the library that they have of up and coming new talent within British film. For example this short Dragonfly is so simple and effective, yet it really encapsulates so much about a young boy’s desire to escape the hardships of his homelife – I’m certain that one or two of you will be inspired by it. I also liked the short film Dog which is quite a dark animated tale of loss and comfort (thanks to Bill Boyd for pointing this one out).

A truly great resource for the classroom. Tomorrow I will be setting my pupils a task to find a short film on the site that moves them and to discuss it with others. Can see this having so many uses for different disciplines across the curriculum.

It just emphasises that we have so much talent in this country.

Check out this very good site that contains lots of video interviews with directors, editors, cinematographers etc (Many thanks to Gordon Brown for bringing it to my attention). I can see this being a valuable resource in the classroom for both Media Studies classes and filmmaking ones.

Here’s a bit of blurb about it:

MakingOf is a behind-the-scenes Web destination, founded by Natalie Portman and Christine Aylward, that provides an intimate, fresh look into the process of creating entertainment by the insiders themselves. Our mission is to champion the art and craft of entertainment creation. We started MakingOf because we realized that so much of what goes into entertainment creation is unavailable to the people who love and consume it the most. We wanted to give fans a way to experience that creation and learn from the insiders and thus MakingOf was born. When you visit MakingOf you will experience behind-the-scenes content, exclusive access to industry insiders, and an interactive, entertainment-focused community forum.  It is your all-access pass to learn from and interact with actors, directors, producers, writers, and more.  Film school for everyone! And film is just the start. Stay posted as we add additional features.

MakingOf has four main features:

Filming Now: Come backstage and explore behind-the-scenes content captured during the creation process.  We’ll bring you on set, where you’ll learn about everything from casting to editing.  This section of the site will also offer interviews, movie trailers, photos, and unseen clips.  Stay posted as we add additional features and refresh our content.

Community: Coming soon to MakingOf is an interactive network for you to engage with industry experts and to exchange ideas, gain knowledge and connect with your fellow fans.  Register now

Wisdom from the Insiders: Hear exclusive interviews with leading industry insiders. Learn about your favorite filmmakers’ passions and inspirations. And — if you’re interested in the profession of filmmaking — get advice from the people who live and breathe film.

The Vault: Revisit movies of the past as we take you behind the scenes into our library of content that includes interviews, movie trailers, photos, and unseen clips.  Stay posted as we add additional features and movies.

Reflections on An Tur – The FilmG Entry

Since late August this year, the filmmaking group that I run at school have been busy preparing, shotting, and editing the film that we have submitted for this year’s FilmG competition. One of the main focuses of the group is to create some films through the medium of Gaelic and because we knew that FilmG run an annual competition we were eager to submit something this year (and also it gave the group impetus to work towards a deadline and finish a film).

During the filmmaking process, the group experienced some highs and lows, and each member developed certain skills and (I hope) enjoyed it. During it we encountered technical difficulties, transport problems (that’s a whole embarrassing story in itself!), and were hampered by the temperamental Islay weather. However, I am extremely proud of all the pupils that were involved in the filming. These kids sacrificed earning money from their weekend jobs to film on a couple of Saturdays, they worked hard on creating the right atmosphere for the film, they were willing to work in a language that most of them are unfamiliar with, and they maintained a positive, patient and jovial attitude despite having to do take after take after take.

Among the skills that they have developed are: camera work using a Panasonic HMC151, storyboarding, editing using Vegas Pro, sound design, costume, how to work as a group, and how to overcome differences. No doubt there are many more that I’ve forgotten.

Since putting the film up online, the group has been encouraged by the feedback received, especially from some professionals in the industry. This response has encouraged the group to reflect upon the process and product, and they are planning to do a complete reshoot of the film, concentrating on the script and spending more time on getting all the shots and cuts just right. I can’t wait to see how this progresses 🙂

There are few thanks that have been omitted from the film: Annchris MacLean for helping with translations; Islay Estates for allowing us to film at the tower, Steven for staying after school to work on the final edit, and those who have donated money to allow us to purchase equipment for the group. And a very special thanks to my dearest friend Mark (ZnO) for the music.

Would love to read any comments you have about the film, and these will be fed back to the group.


This blog has been in the pipeline for some time. I’ve continually hesitated as to what I would want to do with a blog and also what it’s purpose would be, whilst firmly believing that this form of media needs to have a purpose.

In the past few months I have had the fortune to become a Lead Practitioner in Moving Image Education for Scottish Screen and have also been heavily involved in the creation of a filmmaking group at the school I work at. Both of these have allowed me to share my enthusiasm and knowledge of the moving image with others, both in a practical and critical  sense. Therefore it made sense that I should develop a blog that would work alongside these two remits.

Some of the aims of this are to create a platform where resources will be shared; where debates will emerge; where I can share developments of moving image education throughout the UK (especially Scotland); to create an avenue to share films created by the above mentioned group; and to chat about all aspects of film in general.

To get things started I’m attaching the latest document from Scottish Screen regarding Moving Image Education (MIE). Copies are available from Scottish Screen and the hard copy also includes a DVD. Would love to hear your thoughts about this document.

Enjoy and I look forward to blogging, blabbering and sharing.


moving image education_2009