LOOK WEST: A Hebridean Film Festival

Guest Post by Aidan Nicol

The Outer Hebrides, as far West as you can go in Scotland, famous for tweed, art, weather, a lilting accent- and a film festival?

The Hebrides International Film Festival is back for its second year and trying to charm us into making the ferry ride out to the isles on the West coast of Scotland. Spectacular scenery, friendly locals and an array of cinema to entice you in from the wild atlantic weather seems like a great combination for a destination festival.
The line up of film is taken from islands around the world and includes a UK premiere from the Caribbean all hoping to make you stop and think about the environmental issues and cultural changes which are affecting island life and their communities globally.
Be blown away, quite possibly literally, by an array of contemporary drama and documentary reflective of the festivals island home.

From The Messenger a visually stunning journey about the fate facing the world’s songbird population, to local film maker Joya Berrow’s short Away with the Land, a lyrical meditation taking audiences on a passage to the Hebrides to reflect on a declining indigenous way of life to The Accord an Icelandic surf movie.

Spread across rural venues around the isles as well as in the award winning art and cinema venue An Lanntair in Stornoway, the festival invites you to immerse yourself in the local landscape.

This year offering environmental events to compliment it’s selection of films, you’ll be able to take in the magic of abandoned St Kilda on a charted cruise, wonder at swooping eagles on a guided RSPB walk, listen to gaelic poetry and gaze on a parade of sail in Stornoway harbour before settling down in one of our 7 cinema venues to enjoy over 35 films screenings throughout the 4 day festival.

Take a trip to one of the rural venues in Harris, Uist or Barra and you’ll have the chance to enjoy some famous local hospitality- a cup of tea, catch of the day or a chat with local film lovers whilst watching award winning environmental documentaries and global cinema shorts.

Or soak up the atmosphere in An Lanntair, a hub for film, music, theatre and art in the biggest town in the Isles, Stornoway. Their newly opened pocket cinema provides an intimate retreat to engage with archive footage, enjoy talks and events as well as free screenings.
Whilst the bar coupled with Lewis’s famous music scene will keep you entertained, talking film and drinking local seaweed gin into the wee hours.

The short film line up at the festival is impressively diverse, from a beautiful Innuit animation from Canada’s North West TerritoryThe Orphan and the Polar Bear, to Isle de Jean Charles a documentary about a drowning island community in the bayous of Southern Louisiana.

There’s a whole world of island stories to be enjoyed.

For a taste of the wild side of Scotland, and a film festival like no other using it’s surroundings to hit home a message about the future of island life. It’s time to look West.

Hebrides International Film Festival takes place 14th-17th September 2016.

Full programme launching 9th August.

For more information on the programme, festival passes and accommodation options check out http://www.hebfilmfest.org or follow us @hebintfilmfest

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