A Scottish museum has released an animated film inspired by local Gaelic folklore as part of winning the £200,000 Art Fund Museum of the Year prize.
Narrated by Outlander star Sam Heughan, the video has attracted over 40,000 views online since it was posted.
What is the film about?
The film, called The Gille Dubh, was inspired by local Gaelic folklore, and tells the story of the Gille Dubh, also known as the last of the Scottish fairies.
It follows a young girl called Jessie MacRae, who was rescued by the fairy when she became lost in the forest.
Gille Dubh draws the girl a map upon a leaf to guide her back home. However, upon her return to the village, no one believes Jessie’s tale of encountering the fairy.
As Jessie grows up and gets married, she maintains that her story is true. News of her tale reaches the Laird of Gairloch, who decides to capture the fairy in hopes that it will bring him glory.
Curator of Gairloch Museum, Karen Buchanan, explained, “The Gille Dubh is part of Gairloch folklore, he is a shadowy male fairy associated with a place called Loch Adraing where there are beautiful birch wood forests.
“His story has come down through the Gaelic oral tradition. Around the turn of the 20th century, many people in the area still claimed to have seen the Gille Dubh.”
How did Sam Heughan get involved?
“When Outlander was being made, the Gaelic consultant used a dictionary edited by a former Gairloch Museum curator whose daughter worked on the show. She knew Sam Heughan and very kindly put us in touch,” Buchanan said.
Emmy Award-winning Ralph Creative also worked with young local fantasy writer and illustrator Abe Locke to make the Gille Dubh animated story. Locke inspired the Ralph team, and helped design and storyboard the short film, prior to production.
After the film’s release, Heughan tweeted, “Wonderful artwork by Abe, what an honour to read this beautiful poem! Congrats to the museum!”
Where can I watch the film?
The animation is available to watch on the Gairloch Museum YouTube channel.
The film is roughly three minutes long, and the museum describes it as an “intriguing new animation which shares a piece of Gairloch’s local folklore.”
Gairloch Museum worked with the Art Fund to celebrate the museum being selected as Museum of the Year 2020 to bring the story to life.
On the Gairloch Museum YouTube channel, there is another video which takes viewers behind the scenes of making the animation. Illustrator and animator Abe Locke talks about his process when working on the film, and visits the location where the story takes place.
What has the response been like?
After it was shared on Twitter, many people tweeted the Gairloch Museum with praise for the animation.
One wrote, “Congrats to all. The art work is exceptional, thank you Gairloch Museum for sharing this wonderful new animation, and Sam as a narrator is charming.”
Another tweeted, “Beautifully done, from Abe Locke’s artwork to @SamHeughan narration. Congratulations on being named Museum of the Year! Bravo!”
“This was just delightful! I am going to share this with my children and granddaughter. Enchanting tale, and artwork brought to life by the most talented #SamHeughan,” wrote another.
Buchanan said: “We have been overwhelmed by the attention the film has received. Abe’s illustrations are so evocative of the landscape around Lochadraing and Sam’s narration has put the magic touch to the film.
"It has captured the public’s imagination all around the world and has been a highlight of our festivities this week.”