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Postcard for the Cinema Sgìre project - a black and white photo of an elderly lady being interviewed outside the Shell Bus in Iochdar (decorated with shells). Two people are interviewing and one person operating a camera.

Cinema Sgìre community screenings

A collection of over 100 videotapes produced by communities in the Outer Hebrides in the late 1970s through the Cinema Sgìre project has been digitised, and now accessible to the community as part of a programme of film screenings.

The films were produced under the Cinema Sgìre community education project, which was based mainly in Uist and Barra, and ran from October 1977 until March 1981. As well as providing a mobile cinema service, the project also delivered a community video production element which involved local communities learning to record videos of everyday life in the islands, when the format was in its infancy. 

The tapes have been under the care of Museum nan Eilean, who have donated the collection to the Moving Image Archive (part of the National Library of Scotland), due to their specialist knowledge of film archives.

Now, thanks to the partnership between Museum nan Eilean and the Moving Image Archive, the tapes have been preserved and digitised and will be made available online.  UistFilm, the producers of recent archive-based documentary feature Dùthchas, has been contracted to create a detailed catalogue and to run a series of community engagement events across the Outer Hebrides.  This will enable people from the communities in which the videos were created to view the collection’s highlights for the first time in decades. 

Over the coming months UistFilm will be presenting a series of bilingual screening events at local community venues throughout the islands, as well as online, where selections of the videos relevant to those locations will be shown publicly. Members of the community are encouraged to help identify those appearing in the videos and share their knowledge and recollections of the occasions and issues appearing in the archive, ranging from the opening of Iochdar and Vatersay Halls and the 1979 Royal Visit to Stornoway, to crofters gathered round a successful cattle sale in South Uist. The screening events will be free and all are welcome to attend. Whether or not you remember the Cinema Sgìre of the time, there is sure to be something of interest to everybody!   

The programme of community screenings will be continuously updated here, and on our Facebook page at Cinema Sgìre project. Please check regularly for updates.  These events are free and open to all. 

Confirmed future events:

Castlebay Hall, Barra, 31st May, 7pm

Vatersay Hall, 1st June, 2pm

Museum nan Eilean, Stornoway, 7th June, 6.30pm

Outer Hebrides Wool Trail & Festival, Balivanich Hall, 10th June

Museum & Leabharlann nan Eilean, Liniclate, Benbecula, 13th June, 7pm

Stoneybridge Hall, South Uist, 14th June, 2pm

Grimsay Community Association, Ceann na h-Àirigh, 17th June, 7.30pm

Comann Eachdraidh Nis, North Dell, 22nd June, 2pm

Past screenings:

Talla an Iochdair, South Uist, Thursday 27th April

Kildonan Museum, South Uist, Wednesday 10th May

Hebridean Film Festival, Carinish Hall, Tuesday 16th May, 7pm

Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath, Carinish School, 23rd May, 7pm

Cnoc Soilleir, Daliburgh, South Uist, 24th May, 7pm

If you, or anyone you know, had any involvement in the Cinema Sgìre recordings, behind or in front of the cameras, we would love to hear from you! Please contact: info@uistfilm.org

The project has been funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and The Gaelic Language Promotion Trust.

Logo of "National Library of Scotland, Leabharlann Nàiseanta na h-Alba, Moving Image Archive in blue lettering.

Logo of "Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean, Museum and Archive" with a purple and blue emblem. Uist Film logo in green lettering