Hebrides International Film Festival brings a celebration of global cinema to the Outer Hebrides

Now in its seventh year, Hebrides International Film Festival (HIFF) is back, and is bringing with it a celebration of independent global cinema to venues across the Outer Hebrides.

This week, 19-24 July, 43 films from 16 countries will be shown in 10 venues along the chain of islands from the Port of Ness on the Isle of Lewis to Castlebay on the Isle of Barra, with UK premieres of the multi-award-winning Haida Modern (Canada) and Manry at Sea (USA), and screenings of Iorram (Scotland) the first feature length documentary for cinema presented entirely in Scottish Gaelic.

The programme also brings Ice on Fire - produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio - to Hebridean audiences. The film asks: Are we going to let climate change destroy civilisation, or will we act on technologies that can reverse it?

In this iteration, HIFF continues its central themes of environmentalism and the fight for survival of island communities and cultures around the world, and the programme proves once again that for HIFF, the global is truly local.

This year’s film programme has four strands - feature documentaries, drama features, children’s features and a strand for new short films. All films have been produced within the last three years, highlighting HIFF’s unique relevance and its exploration of contemporary struggles with the impact of climate change and how island communities, in particular, are fighting back.

With last year’s event wiped out by Covid-19, this year’s festival goes ahead in a sense of a celebration of the resilience of island communities in the face of adversity, and even features HIFF’s first outdoor screening programme.

Festival Producer, Muriel Ann Macleod said: “HIFF’s programme this year highlights how many communities are adapting and making change to try to reduce their carbon footprint and to preserve the planet. Many contemporary film makers are focusing on positive solutions and on the practical changes we can make rather than just telling us about the problems.

“HIFF 2021 explores these themes through profound insight, through celebrations of the resilience of island communities, and through fearless independent film- making that not only engages us with untold stories, but entertains and enthrals us and with relevance to us all.”

This year’s programme also features on-line film masterclasses from Kenneth Sorrento, Director, The Fight for Greenland and Rick Rosenthal, Director of Whale Wisdom.

Full details of this year’s programme are available at: https:// www.hebfilmfestival.org/brochure2021

All screenings taking place at An Lanntair, Stornoway can be booked at: https://lanntair.com/events/event/hiff-2021/? fbclid=IwAR1Zd45paK6pZFLCN3eIIeDTq2UPD7gTVmlJuqpvQ7c2PVmr1wAKT4aTeNQ

Screenings at all other island venues will be available through Eventbrite - all showings must be pre-booked. Social distancing regulation compliance is in force at all venues.

Watch an interview below with Uisdean Murray, the Director and writer of Mara - The Seal Wife which will be premiering at this year's festival. The film was shot locally and written, darted and produced by two filmmakers from North Uist.