HIFF LATEST NEWS
HIFF 2019 IS LIVE!!
We're delighted to announce that HIFF will be returning from the 12th through the 14th of September, 2019. We're screening tens of feature and short films from all over the world, exploring this year's theme - Islands, Environments and Remote Communities.
See our brochure for the full list of screenings, venues, events and times.
Read journalist Katie Laing's recent article about HIFF below...
The Hebrides International Film Festival is back for 2019. It will take place at venues throughout the Outer Hebrides – from the Butt to Barra – from September 12 to 14.
There will around 78 screenings at 12 venues over the three days, from Thursday through to Saturday, with final arrangements now being made for the event.
The Hebridean International Film Festival grew out of a programme started by Regional Screen Scotland six years ago, where a number of remote and rural film festivals were given three-year funding and mentorship. It was also a natural successor to the Hebrides Coastal Film Festival.
For programmer and director Muriel Ann, her original involvement came out of wanting to make a shift from theatre into filmmaking.
“For me, it’s been an education in what cinematic film is, and what good quality film is. You know that these films can make change. We’ve seen it. It’s gobsmacking when you screen these films and people come out, saying, ‘What?! – I never knew any of that!’ People need to know what’s happening in the world and these films show you. That’s the bottom line.”
Muriel Ann has chosen films “that have an impact on the big screen” and said the film festival would be “as accessible as possible”. All screenings at An Lanntair's Pocket Cinema are free and general ticket prices have been held as low as possible.
Muriel Ann stressed the quality of the films that would be on offer and said such films could not normally be seen in the Outer Hebrides – nor on television.
“The world of film is pretty huge and we’re really very lucky to get them as they’re not on general release - and the documentaries are stunning. They are cinematic documentaries – it’s not something that’s going to look so good on a smaller screen or TV – and I think there’s some really strong political environmental films.
“We’re looking at issues around fish farming – we’ve not been shy on issues that are relevant to the island – but all of these films are a really good experience because of their quality.
“The dramas are connected to rural communities but they’re still thrillers, experimental, and some are just really good fun like Fisherman’s Friends.
“It’s a really varied programme. I was trying to find films that would connect with our communities and give a big international perspective and change how we think about the environment and how we deal with our environment and climate change – because that’s what it’s about.
“It’s not just a few environmental films made in the back of beyond. These are high-quality films that promote the issues or high-level drama that just happens to be about the theme.”
Muriel Ann added: “It is niche and it has to be niche because it’s a unique festival. I’m fully committed to it being about remoteness and environments. That’s interesting, I think.”
The Hebrides International Film Festival – supported by Screen Scotland, HIE and other agencies – is curated by Muriel Ann Macleod, director of Rural Nations Community Interest Company, and aims to bring the very latest in world cinema to the islands.
Only films made within the last three years are eligible to be included in the programme and all must fit within the festival’s broad theme of “islands, environmental issues and indigenous peoples”, with a particular focus this year on sustainable fishing.
Cinematic documentaries with a political or environmental theme feature strongly – the main film in An Lanntair on opening night will be Artifishal, a documentary about the impact of fish farming on wild salmon stocks – but there are a variety of genres in the programme, also including drama, comedy and children’s film.
Each screening will include a feature film and an accompanying short. The films are a mix of English language features and foreign films with full English subtitles.
Tickets are priced at £8 and £5 for the An Lanntair showings and £6 and £4 at the rural venues. A festival pass, allowing access to any film anywhere, is available for £35.
Tickets for the rural venues can be bought through the website by following the links to the Eventbrite marketplace but tickets for the An Lanntair films must be bought through the art centre’s own website, at lanntair.com.
In general, tickets can also be bought at venue doors, although it is advisable to book in advance for the smaller venues, where space is more limited.
There will also be special daytime screenings for school groups and a number of masterclasses, lectures and other special events including Whale Watching at Tiumpanhead and drop-in animations. Full details of the masterclasses and lecturers will also be available on the website.
Artwork for this year’s film festival is by Caroline Bailey, whose paintings were discovered by Muriel Ann at Morven Gallery. The cover for the brochure is a painting called ‘Across Stornoway Harbour’, emphasising the fishing theme.
By Katie Laing.
If HIFF does anything this year, it will “make us pause for a minute and think about what we are doing to the planet and to the island”.
That was the message from the film festival curator Muriel Ann Macleod on today’s opening day of the festival (September, 2018).
The fifth Hebrides International Film Festival is taking place in venues throughout the Outer Hebrides from now until Saturday – and Muriel Ann said it raises “important questions locally”, such as whether we were “really doing enough to preserve the seas of the Hebrides”.
Muriel Ann, director of the Rural Nations Community Interest Company, was speaking from Brussels, where she is representing the Outer Hebrides as part of the Reclaim the Future project, part-funded by Creative Europe.
She said: “I’ve brought our short exhibition environmental film Eve v Lucy and the Harris Carnival banner representing the islands. But of course I’d rather be in Lewis for the opening of HIFF on Wednesday night. I’m really pleased with the festival.
“This year we engage with cultural diversity with films like Lerd – A Man of Integrity, as well as strong environmental films like Blue and A River Below, with questions asked around the importance of the environment next to big business and the driver to make money.
“These are important questions locally. How many wind farms do we need when we could have solar farms or wave power?
“If the film festival does anything this year, perhaps it will make us pause and think for a minute about what we are doing to the planet and to the island.”
Three big wind farm schemes are planned for the Isle of Lewis – the Forsa development at Tolsta and Lewis Wind Power’s Stornoway Wind Farm project and Uisenis scheme in Eishken. Lewis Wind Power is part-owned by French multinational EDF Energy and wants to be allowed to site offshore-sized turbines on land on Lewis.
The core of this year’s film festival is the screening of current environmental documentary features such as Blue, which has been described by Greenpeace as “a cinematic song for our oceans”. It was filmed in Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Pacific and United States.
Similarly, A Plastic Ocean was shot over four years at 20 locations across the planet and shines a light on the plastic pollution crisis.
However, environmental questions relating to land also get the HIFF treatment, with Lerd – A Man of Integrity opening the film festival tonight in An Lanntair.
Lerd, which won the Un Certain Regard Award at the Cannes Film Festival, is about a gold fish farmer in a village in northern Iran, whose attempts to make an honest living come up against a corrupt system, where money and power beat environmental concerns.
The fish farmer finds out his neighbour has poisoned the water in a bid to get control of his land.
Muriel Ann said: “He wants to have something done about this but you learn that the whole society works on bribes and there’s nothing he can do. It makes you reflect on your own society in a way. It shows that in small communities local people have no real say in how to control things…
“I thought it was interesting because of how unimportant the environmental issue was. It was about who owned what and who was making money.”
All the films on the Hebrides International Film Festival have been chosen because “they are the best from current world cinema”, having been made within the last three years. Many are award winners and all are high quality.
There are approximately 26 feature films on the programme and there will be a total of 56 screenings across the venues over the four days, with each screening including a feature film and an accompanying short.
There are around 13 ‘shorts’ on the programme including Cianalas, by young Hebridean Zoe Paterson Macinnes, and MS, Mexico and Me which tells the story of Aileen Hunt who travelled from her home in Uig to Mexico for stem cell treatment, in a bid to halt the progression of multiple sclerosis.
The Hebrides International Film Festival is supported by Creative Scotland, HIE and other agencies and presented in collaboration with An Lanntair.
The festival has a broad theme of “islands, environmental issues and indigenous peoples” and a particular focus on the “ocean” theme this year, although it always includes a variety of genres, so there is art, comedy and children’s film as well as drama and documentary.
By Katie Laing
The fifth Hebrides International Film Festival, 2018.
Final preparations are underway for the fifth Hebrides International Film Festival – taking place throughout the Outer Hebrides from Wednesday, 19 September to Saturday, 22 September.
The festival, which is supported by Creative Scotland, HIE and other agencies and presented in col-laboration with An Lanntair, has developed into a high-quality event, which brings the latest in world cinema to the islands.
Only films made within the last three years are eligible to be included in the programme, which is curated by Muriel Ann Macleod, director of the Rural Nations Community Interest Company, with the support of Paul Taylor, the cinema programmer at Eden Court Theatre.
All the films being shown fit within the festival’s broad theme of “islands, environmental issues and indigenous peoples” and this year there is a particular focus on the “ocean” theme.
Although there are variety of genres in the programme – including art, comedy, children’s film, drama and surf film – there is always a strong element of documentary or political and environmen-tal commentary, and two of the biggest films this year document what is going on within our oceans and rivers. In particular, the global environmental crisis of plastic pollution.
One of the headline documentaries, Blue, has been described by Greenpeace as a “cinematic song for our oceans; beautiful, intimate and grand” and was filmed in Australia, Indonesia, the Philip-pines, South Pacific and United States.
Similarly, A Plastic Ocean was shot over four years at 20 locations across the planet and documents how wildlife – and people – are living among the toxic refuse.
As well as having been made within the last three years, all the films on the programme are chosen for their high quality and many are award winners.
There are approximately 26 feature films on the programme and there will be a total of 56 screen-ings across the venues over the four days, with each screening including a feature film and an ac-companying short. There are around 13 ‘shorts’ on the programme including Cianalas by young Hebridean Zoe Paterson Macinnes, which is currently being well received.
The films are a mix of English language features and foreign films with full English subtitles. The full programme is available online now – at www.hebfilmfestival.org – and tickets can also be bought through the website by following the links to the Eventbrite marketplace.
For festival films that are being shown at An Lanntair, tickets are available via their website (not Evenbrite) – at lanntair.com – and they also have a series of free films on in their Pocket Cinema.
In general, tickets can also be bought at venue doors, although it is advisable to book in advance for the smaller venues, where space is more limited. Tickets are priced £7 adults, £5 concession and £4 for under-16s, with a season ticket for £50 which allows entry to everything.
There will also be special daytime screenings for school groups and a number of masterclasses from film makers, as well as environmental lectures and a beach clean. Full details of the masterclasses and lecturers are also available on the website.
Programmes are also being printed and will be widely distributed.
The Hebridean International Film Festival grew out of a programme started by Regional Screen Scotland five years ago, where a number of remote and rural film festivals were given three-year funding and mentorship. It was also a natural successor to the Hebrides Coastal Film Festival.
For programmer and director Muriel Ann, her original involvement came out of wanting to make a shift from theatre into filmmaking.
“For me, it’s been an education in what cinematic film is and what a good quality film is. You know that these films can make change. We’ve seen it. It’s gobsmacking when you screen these films and people coming out, saying, ‘What?! – I never knew any of that!’
“So what a fantastic thing to get to do. People need to know what’s happening in the world and these current films show you. That’s the bottom line.”
Follow the Hebridean International Film Festival on Twitter @HebIntFilmFest
HIFF will run between Wednesday 19th- Saturday 22nd September 2018.
We're delighted to have several highly anticipated environmental features coming to the festival this year, including BLUE an Australian documentary by director Karen Holden.
BLUE is a cinematic song for our oceans; beautiful, intimate and grand. Fearlessly truth-telling, yet passionately hopeful. See this film and you will want to rise up with the waves.”
— GREENPEACE AUSTRALIA
Find out more about the film and how you can take action here. Screening details for HIFF will be announced shortly.
The HIFF team were very sorry to hear about the sad passing of film maker Roger Stotesbury whose short film Hand Woven Lives screened at the Hebrides International Film Festival in September 2017. The film was made on the Isle of Lewis with local residents in 2016. At this time Roger attended HIFF 2016 contributing to our masterclasses and formation of a film collective. He presented his film to us for screening at the 2017 festival, where it was very well received by locals who appreciated seeing local stories captured sensitively and portrayed beautfully in the short doc which screened throughout the islands venues.
We would like to thank Roger for his contribution to film, for capturing our lives here and sharing this with the world, and for his enthusiasm and appreciation for the Hebrides.
Read more about Roger's film making at Cut to the Doc.