Outer Hebrides Film Archive Research Project
FOUND: Film/OUter hebrides/Narrative + Digitisation
- Having been discovered by chance or unexpectedly.
- Establish or originate
- Plan and begin the building
- Melt and mould
Faodail: Lucky find, a waif, a found object
We will be showing a different programme of archive films each week through July. In week 1 we showed 3 films connected with health in the islands.
AN DOTAIR MÒR (2014. Dir: Andy Mackinnon. MG ALBA, 60 mins.) Documentary made by Taigh Chearsabhagh’s in-house video production unit UistFilm about the legendary North Uist GP, Dr. Alex Macleod, who practiced here for over 40 years and who pioneered the life-saving air ambulance service to the islands.
ALEX MACLEOD HOME MOVIE (1937-9. 8mm silent.) Discovered during the making of An Dotair Mòr. The film provides a unique insight into GP practice and family life in the islands. Includes shots of the doctor himself – note eye lost in a shinty match while studying at Glasgow University – and of his wife Julia, also a doctor
HIGHLAND DOCTOR (1943, Dir: Kay Mandor, Dept of Health, 21 mins.) A dramatised account of the Highlands and Islands Medical Service – a precursor of the National Health Service. The film shows how medical facilities improved after the 1912 Dewar Committee. In particular, how the ‘air ambulance’ increased health care in the Western Isles. Much of the film was shot on North Uist – including shots of the building that has become Taigh Chearsabhagh and the doctors practice in the film is based on that of Dr Alex Macleod. The doctor himself makes an appearance as the passenger on the cart crossing the ford.
Highland Doctor screening courtesy of Scotland’s Moving Image Archive
This week (16 – 21 July) we are showing 4 films relating to travel in the islands.
UIST FISHING TRIP (1952? 6 mins. colour/silent) Found super8 film of visitors trip to the islands for trout fishing. Features arrival by plane, ferry from Benbecula to North Uist, Lochmaddy Hotel, various fishing outings, views from Eabhal etc.
ISLANDS OF THE WEST (1972, 16mm colour/sound dir. Bill Forsyth, 27 mins.) A Highlands & Islands Development Board portrayal of the scenic beauty of the Hebrides.
HEBRIDEAN HIGHWAY (1966, 35mm colour/sound, 20mins.) A swinging sixties promotional film for David MacBrayne Ltd (Calmac) promoting the car ferry service to the Hebrides. Complete with beat poetry voice-over, miniskirts and mini car.
NORTH UIST, OUTER HEBRIDES (1957, 16mm colour/silent. 12mins.) Mills family holiday on NORTH UIST, donor re-enacted journey by cart for camera after missing ferry and taking 36 hours to travel from Glasgow to NORTH UIST arriving in the middle of the night. He was photographing the building of the causeways when he first came to Uist. Stanley Mills was manager of Ralstons Commercial Photographers in Glasgow 1939 – 1974. Took films on family holidays and when out on photography commissions for Ralstons. Allocated himself 400ft per annum and took 28 films in all, in UK and overseas.
Islands of the West, Hebridean Highway and North Uist, Outer Hebrides screenings courtesy of Scotland’s Moving Image Archive
Throughout July we will be screening a variety of archive films in Gallery 1 in a rolling programme. Up until as late as 1979, very little, if any, publicly disseminated moving image created in or about the Outer Hebrides was made from anything other than an outsiders’ perspective. This lack of an indigenous viewpoint and language led, at best, to an uninformed, and often romanticised or patronising, representation of island life.
How does the cultural value of moving image alter with inside/outside authorial perspective?
Through the project we are looking to digitise and make accessible;
- Cinema Sgire 1979-82 community video project, on Sony V-60H video tape, based in Benbecula led by Mike Russell
- Recently found home movie collections eg: (North Uist) Annie Macdonald collection, Mary Campbell collection, Gloria Mackillop collection, Dr Alex Macleod collection, 1962 Uist Fishing Trip (8mm, source unknown)
- And as yet undiscovered home movie (super/8mm,16mm) from Outer Hebrides.
The purpose will be to make Outer Hebridean moving image archive available to a wider public in a curated online platform with access points in island museums, schools, libraries and Comann Eachdraidh, heritage and arts venues. FOUND will host public screenings, reminiscence events and generate production projects to reinterpret archive moving image from contemporary islanders perspective.
Do you know of any home movie footage of the Outer Hebrides not already in the National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive?
Please contact Andy Mackinnon, UistFilm Producer & Arts Manager, Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre. [email protected] 01870603977