“A festival celebrating small islands in film culture …”  

The Small Islands Film Festival (Feis Film nan Eileanan Beaga) forms part of a portfolio of cultural and social resource activity pertaining to Scotland’s island heritage undertaken by the Small Islands Film Trust and its academic and industry partners. The Small Islands Film Festival operates in partnership with a range of funders and agencies including the School of Media, Language and Music, University of the West of Scotland, Sabhal Mór Ostaig and Scottish Screen.

A film festival on Islandness: creative responses to cultural, political and economic concerns       

With its specific island location, community-based programme and a specific focus on films made on, or about, the Scottish islands, or small island issues in a global context, the Small Islands Film Festival (Feis Film nan Eileanan Beaga) endeavours to make a unique and distinctive contribution to the celebration and promotion of film culture in and beyond Scotland. The Festival utilises the intimacy of a small island host community setting to enable dialogue and knowledge transfer between Scottish participating filmmakers, film students, media academics and small island communities as well as exchanges with international partners and communities, thereby contributing to enhanced understanding, facilitating innovation developments and increased networking opportunities.  

The Small Islands Film Festival aims to provide a platform on which the awareness of Scotland’s island-related film and filmmakers can be promoted locally, nationally and internationally. This dedicated high quality film event enables Scotland’s small island communities to have access to a broad and diverse range of high quality films specifically relating to islands and island living. It provides an opportunity for this resource to be accessed within the island communities and opportunities to discuss the films in informal settings led where appropriate by facilitators from both the local community and from outwith.  Whilst SIFF events are conducted largely in English, Gaelic both Scottish and Irish has figured in a considerable number of the actual screenings as well as formed the basis for bilingual discussion. It is anticipated that this inclusion of minority language and culture can be built on for the future. In partnership with local cultural and heritage groups a significant strand of screened material is sourced where possible from documentary archival film pertaining to the host island. The opportunity for an audience to engage with this footage within the island community setting, and to reflect on this rich cultural resource is a key aspect of the event.

At each event comparative screenings and participation from other Scottish and international island contexts are offered within the programme. Previous focus has included Orkney (Scotland), Tory Island (Ireland), and Cheju Island (S. Korea) and Canada’s High Arctic including specific focus in 2009 on Nunavut.  

The Small Islands Film Festival event is of relevance to those interested in the long-term aim of promoting awareness of Scottish film cultural at a global level, two of the Small Islands Film Trustees serve on the Executive Committee of the International Small Islands Study Association (http://www.geol.utas.edu.au/isisa/) and its International Islands Film Festival. Linkages are in place between the SIFF and other national and international events to further showcase Scottish island-related film culture to an international audience. Recent linkages include showcasing work from Scotland’s island communities at film events in Ireland, Korea and it is hoped following the 2009 programme of events that screenings of Scottish material may be taken to Canada’s Hugh Arctic and Nunavut in particular.

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