During the current Covid pandemic, the National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) released 55 short films from May to September 2020 in their Scenes for Survival season of short online works, that attracted over 17 million audience views.
One of these films wasDanni the Champion, from Lewis writer Iain Finlay Macleod, that is a short drama focussing on Danni, a teenager frustrated with her slow-paced island life. Young Danni shows the audience her life on the island, how stifled she feels and how she dreams of just hitting the road.
Shot on location on the Isle of Lewis and directed by Laura Cameron-Lewis from new Isle of Lewis based production company Studio Fir Chlis, the film gives Stornoway actor Francesca Taylor Coleman her professional debut. The bilingual film, featuring both Gaelic and English, has now been selected for screening at seven international film festivals to date including 30th Flickerfest International Short Film Festival 2021, Venice Shorts 2020, Chicago Indie Film Awards 2020, Breakout Film Festival 2020 & 2021, Short to the Point October 2020, 59th Ann Arbor Film Festival and Tokyo International Short Film Festival 2021.
Fife born Director, Laura Cameron-Lewis, says “I’m really thrilled to see such a great response to the film, it was such a meaningful piece for us, so it’s great to see it taking off like this. It excites me so much to think of Australians on Bondi Beach right now, looking in on Stornoway harbour! It’s an honour to be selected for these awards and festivals such as the 59th Ann Arbor Film Festival, and to know that for an international audience there’s an interest in experiencing the language and life of a young Gael in the Hebrides.”
Danni the Champion, that includes songs written and performed by Laura Cameron-Lewis and Andrew Eaton-Lewis, can be viewed on YouTube, BBC iplayer and on the NTS website along with an accompanying BSL intro video and an audio described version.
It was produced by NTS in association with BBC Scotland, Screen Scotland, BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine project, An Lanntair and Studio Fir Chlis with support from Hopscotch Films.