First Gaelic film tackling transgender issues in triple awards win

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The first ever Gaelic film depicting a transgender character has won three major industry honours – including a public vote.

A young actor, writer and performer from the Isle of Skye claimed three of the biggest honours at the National Gaelic Film Awards.

Lana Pheutan has won three honours with her Gaelic film tackling transgender issues.

Lana Pheutan has won three honours with her Gaelic film tackling transgender issues.

Lana Pheutan, a 21-year-old student at Edinburgh Napier University, won the best performance prize at the annual "FilmG" ceremony at the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow.

She played the main character in the short film Coig Puing a’ Trì (Five Point Three), which was also named best student film and won the People’s Choice Award for the most popular entry to the competition.

It was also shortlisted for best drama and most promising new director.

Her film, shot on location in Edinburgh, shows a young woman dressing in preparation of "coming out" to her family as transgender.

However en route she is verbally abused in the street and is then left devastated from the reaction to her transformation from her sister – only for a stranger to reassure her.

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Ms Pheutan, who first entered the competition when she was a pupil at Portree High School in Skye, said she wanted to focus on a subject matter which had not previously been tackled in Gaelic.

Her success has coincided with highlights of the screen talent awards being shown for the first time on Gaelic broadcaster BBC Alba to coincide with the staging of the competition for the tenth time.

Ms Pheutan, who is studying acting for stage and screen, won the three honours months after writing and performing in a comedy-drama staged by an all-female theatre company she helped form.

She said: “What is important to me in terms of working with Gaelic is that it’s got to be about more than old ladies, sheep, crofts and island life. That’s been done a lot.

“If the language is to develop in the modern-day it needs to be applied to modern-day issues.

"It was about thinking about stories that hadn’t been told through the medium of Gaelic, what was topical and what was important to be talking about right now. Transgender stories are now being told, but not through Gaelic.

“It is really about a transgender woman preparing mentally and physically for her first day of coming out. It’s something that she has completely to herself and you can kind of understand why when you see her sister’s reaction. She can’t even get a word in.

“I’ve already had a lot of feedback from people saying it was so refreshing to see something like that told in Gaelic.

"I was really nervous about writing it and making it. I had lots of doubts as I’m not transgender myself and wondered whether it was my story to tell. But the team who worked on the film with me all agreed that it was more important that it was told.

“It’s had a much better reaction than I could have hoped for."

Full list of ‘FilmG’ awards winners

Best Comedy or Drama: Mar a Thachair do Dh’fhear a Sgur a Dhol Dhan Eaglais (The Man Who Stopped Going to Church).

Best Performance: Lana Pheutan in Còig Puing a Trì (Five Point Three).

Best Industry Director: John Murdo MacAulay for Mar a Thachair do Dh’fhear a Sgur a Dhol Dhan Eaglais (The Man Who Stopped Going to Church

Best Script: Morag Ann MacNeil for Gabh do Leòr Dheth (Fill Your Boots).

Most Promising New Director: Danielle MacLeod for Bho Clach gu Clach (From Stone to Stone).

Best Heritage Film: Bho Clach gu Clach (From Stone to Stone).

Best Student Film: Còig Puing a Trì (Five Point Three).

Best Mobile Short: Ceum (Dub DubStep).

People’s Choice Award: Còig Puing a Trì (Five Point Three).

Best Youth Film: Lachlan Peel for Eòghan Beag: Latha Mòr (Wee Ewan: A Big Day).

Best Youth Performance: Sheena MacGregor in Peigi an Eagle (Peigi the Eagle).

Best Youth Group Film: Tàlant an Taobh Siar (The West Side’s Got Talent).

Best Script: Fuaim a’ Bhlàir (Battle Sound).