Watch: The new movie on life in lockdown shot by more than 70 Hebridean islanders

It offers tantalising and intriguing glimpses into what life has been like under lockdown in some of Scotland’s most remote Hebridean communities.

Footage shot on and around the Isle of Iona features in the new film. Image: Gordon Bruce

More than 70 islanders contributed footage for a new film depicting the reality of living and working in virtual isolation.

Filmed over the course of a week on Mull and its neighbouring islands of Iona, Ulva and Gometra, it has already been viewed more than 3,000 times since it was posted on YouTube at the end of last month.

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Islands in Film, which is billed as “a portrait of life in lockdown”, was instigated by Mull-based film- and theatre-maker Alasdair Satchel.

The idea for the lockdown movie was inspired by the interest in his podcast What We Do In the Winter, which has seen more than 50 interviews with islanders recorded since it was launched in 2018.

More than 255 clips filmed and submitted by islanders after an online appeal were edited together by Satchel and his wife Georgia, an artist and archivist, to create the final 47-minute film, which is set to a soundtrack by Mull-based folk musicians Hannah Fisher and Sorren Maclean.

Filmed over the course of a week on Mull and its neighbouring islands of Iona, Ulva and Gometra, it has already been viewed more than 3,000 times on social media.

It is hoped that the film, which was made in partnership with the Mull Museum in Tobermory, will eventually be screened across Scotland in village halls and in the “Screen Machine” mobile cinema , as well as preserved in Scotland’s national film archives.

The film, which compares the dramatic sunsets which can be found in the islands with its often stormy seas, features scenes of wildlife on land and at sea, wild swimming, Gaelic singing and baking.

The film features footage of a teacher delivering an online class, facemasks being hand-made at home during First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s daily briefing, food supplies being delivered by volunteers, and healthcare workers on duty.

One scene captures the cacophony of noise echoing around a deserted Tobermory harbour during the weekly “clap for carers”.

Satchel said: “The aim of the podcast was to shine a light on the vitality and importance of rural life, and find details of the bigger world through smaller pictures. I wanted to show that the islands were vital and real, with real-life concerns, through human stories.

Islands in Film was shot over the course of a week in May. Image: Hannah Fisher

“I had the idea of doing a film coming out the shower one morning in the middle of May, put out a call for submissions on the podcast’s social media channels and a couple of days later the first footage was coming in.

“I was really interested in the idea that we are all in isolation together in the islands, but also in the fact that everyone has had their own experiences. It’s almost been like putting humanity under a magnifying glass.

“It’s been about survival, which we don’t have experiences of in western society. It is bringing out different qualities in people and seeing them focus on different things.”

A message from the Editor:

Eug Thomasson captured this wild swimming scene at a 'secret location.'

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An image captured at Craignure on the Isle of Mull.
A tranquil scene off the Isle of Iona. Image: Gordon Bruce

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