RTÉ’S Love/Hate and BBC Radio nan Gàidheal amongst Celtic Media Festival gala award-winner

The 36th Celtic Media Festival came to a close this evening after a successful three days in Inverness, with Love/Hate and BBC Radio Nan Gàidheal amongst the winners at tonight’s Gala Awards Ceremony.

Love/Hate (Ireland, RTÉ/Octagon Films Ltd) was named the winner of Drama Series category, with jurors selecting it over Sherlock, Shetland and Corp + Anam. The drama explores Dublin’s multi-layered society, dealing with the worlds of under-privileged teenagers on its bleak estates in juxtaposition to the tail end of the Celtic Tiger and the lazy corruption of the middle classes.

Mairead Ni Nuadhain, Head of External Relations at RTÉ accepted the award. She said: “RTÉ is absolutely thrilled to win this award. The Celtic Media Festival is very important to us because we support the festival very strongly. This drama series has been a fantastic series for us over the past five years – it’s received international acclaim, but it means an awful lot to be judged by our peers here at the Celtic Media Festival and to win this award.”

Scottish Gaelic language station BBC Radio Nan Gàidheal was named Radio Station of the Year. The station delivers a comprehensive speech and music service for Gaelic speakers, covering a wide range of genres.

Marion MacKinnon, BBC Gaelic Language Service said: “This award is in recognition of our community, of the people who deliver BBC Radio Nan Gàidheal and the people who listen to BBC Radio Nan Gàidheal across the world. It’s recognition for a team that are really dedicated and talented, and to win an award is an opportunity for us to say thank you very much to our audience and our teams. For us as a Gaelic language service, it’s just so important that you’re measured on the same basis as every other station, and to be in competition with 9 stations and to come out winning is a great privilege.”

The Kieran Hegarty Award for Innovation went to Welsh TV and production company Cwmni Da’s Prosiect iBeacons Oriel Plas-Glyn-y-Weddw (Wales/Cwmni Da). The groundbreaking Oriel Plas-Glyn-y-Weddw project uses iBeacon technology to interpret art and history, and began with an app to accompany an exhibition by the artist Diane Metcalfe, with iBeacons triggering audio visual content for each individual painting.

Phil Stead, Cwmni Da, said: “This award is great recognition for one of the very few Welsh language digital agencies in the world. To win an award for innovation in a Welsh language environment is really special.”

The documentary Close to Evil (Ireland, RTÉ/Praxis Pictures) won Factual Single. It portrays how an RTÉ Radio interview marking Holocaust Memorial Day in January 2012 was the catalyst for a remarkable journey. Holocaust survivor Tomi discovers one of his former jailers - Hilde Lisiewicz is alive and living in Hamburg. Lisiewicz is a convicted War Criminal. She claims she is “a victim of victor's justice”. Tomi embarks on a quest to investigate the SS woman's claims of innocence.

Gerry Gregg, Producer at Praxis Pictures, collected the award. He said: “We started to make the film in 2012, and finished in 2014. It was a two-year journey, and at the start of it we had very few champions, but we had a 78-year old Holocaust survivor – a man with the biggest heart in Europe. This was a history film, but it was also a film about one man’s generosity of spirit. For us, this award is the first major recognition we’ve had for our film.”

The Spirit of the Festival Award, which is bestowed upon a film or television programme wholly or substantially in a Celtic language that encapsulates the spirit of Celtic Media Festival each year, went to Páidí ó Sé – Rí an Pharóiste (Ireland, TG4/Magamedia) - a creative sports documentary telling the real story of footballing hero Páidí Ó Sé, eight time All-Ireland winner, rogue and the uncrowned king of his native parish of Ventry, Co. Kerry. In this candid portrait, Páidí’s life story is told by his neighbours, family and closest friends, just a year after his untimely death.

Laura Ni Cheallaigh, TG4, said: “To win this award is amazing. Páidí was a local hero in his community, and it was about his life, so it’s hugely important to us to be recognised within the Celtic countries. I suppose we understand each other, there’s a nugget that we all get amongst each other - I think they understand the fire and the passion that’s at the heart of the project.”

This year festival organisers were inundated with a record 500 entries to the prestigious Torc Awards, and the shortlist celebrated some of the finest films, TV and radio productions and digital media to emerge from the Celtic nations and regions over the past year (see notes to editors for the full list of Celtic Media Festival 2015 Torc Award for Excellence winners).

At tonight’s Gala Awards Ceremony, it was also revealed that the location of next year’s festival is Dungarvan in County Waterford, Ireland. The festival has previously been held in Wexford (1982), Gweedore (1990), Tralee (1998) and Galway (2008) in Ireland, and Newcastle, Co. Down (1986), Derry (1994), Belfast (2003), Newry (2010) in Northern Ireland.

Damien Geoghegan, Chairperson of Dungarvan and Lismore District Council, said:

“The Celtic Media Festival is highly regarded in the broadcast industry. The work the festival does to promote the languages of the Celtic nations and regions is hugely valuable, and hosting the festival in Dungarvan will be of great cultural and economic benefit to the town. We are very much looking forward to welcoming this prestigious festival, and all of its delegates to Dungarvan in 2016.”

Highlights of the final day of the festival included the inspiring panel discussions Format for Success - a discussion on how, with the right format, a simple idea can turn into a world-wide phenomenon - and What’s the Score with Drama? - a discussion on the importance of a score in creating an atmosphere. The Chair of the Celtic Media Festival Board, Pádhraic Ó Ciardha, chaired a discussion with Aonghas MacNeacail, Cerith Williams, Rónán Mac Con Iomaire on indigenous language broadcasters making their content accessible to the non-core audience.

The past three days have seen a variety of panel discussions and workshops featuring key commissioners from BBC, Channel 4, RTÉ, BBC NI, BBC Scotland, UTV Ireland, S4C and TG4, plus the festival’s keynote speech delivered by MSP Mike Russell. The key players responsible for breaking Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations as a news story - Stuart Millar, the Guardian’s Head of News, and Ewen MacAskill, the Guardian’s Defence and Intelligence Correspondent, also appeared alongside Luke Moody from Britdoc, the distributor of Laura Poitras’ Academy and BAFTA award winning documentary Citizenfour, in what was another highlight from the festival.

Tonight’s awards ceremony brings to a close a hugely successful three days, which has seen over 400 delegates enjoy the 3-day celebration of film, television, radio and digital media which promotes the unique languages and cultures of the Celtic nations and regions at Eden Court, Inverness.

Provost Alex Graham said: “The Celtic Media Festival has been a huge success and has generated a real buzz in the City. Inverness has the infrastructure to host national and international cultural events such as this Festival which are important to our development and the local economy.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Celtic Media Festival for organising an excellent Festival, and the Highlands look forward to welcoming them back in the near future.

“The Gaelic language and culture are at the heart of life in Inverness and the Highlands, and are key to Education, Health and Well-being, the Arts, Heritage and Media and Economic Regeneration in our region.”

Pádhraic Ó Ciardha, Chair of the Celtic Media Festival Board, said: “By any reckoning, this has been the biggest and best Celtic Media Festival yet. Over 400 delegates have enjoyed a programme of truly inspiring panel discussions and sessions here at Eden Court over the past few days, and the people of Inverness have been wonderful hosts. We’re delighted that this year’s festival has been so successful, and are hugely excited to take the festival to Dungarvan for the very first time in 2016.”

Catriona Logan, Celtic Media Festival Producer, said: “Inverness has been a fantastic location for the 36th Celtic Media Festival, and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped make this year’s event such a success. We’d like to extend our congratulations to all of this year’s winners and thank all broadcasters for their entries this year - we received a record-breaking 500 submissions, so these are the most hotly contested Torc Awards yet. I’m also thrilled to announce that next year we return to Ireland – we’re very much looking forward to bringing the festival to Dungarvan.”

For full details on the festival visit www.celticmediafestival.co.uk and to keep up to date with the latest news from the festival follow on twitter: @celticmediafest and on facebook: facebook.com/celticmediafestival. #celticmedia

24 Apr 2015