College graduate wins Gaelic film award

A City of Glasgow College graduate has won Promising New Director at this year’s FilmG Awards.

John Nicholson, BA (Hons) Television, took the title for his short film, Bron, which explores isolation.

FilmG is MG ALBA’s Gaelic short film competition which helps develop new talent for the Gaelic channel BBC ALBA.

“I had a work experience placement with BBC Alba when I was in school which piqued my interest in television,” explained John. “Before that I don’t think I had ever thought how much work goes into making programmes.”

John grew up in Glasgow and attended the Glasgow Gaelic School where he learned to read, write and speak Gaelic. John’s family originates from the Hebridean Isle of Uist which is why he wanted to learn about the language and culture.

The 22 year old went on to City of Glasgow College to study HND Television.

“I graduated from that course in 2018, then moved on to do the BA Honours from Edinburgh Napier which was delivered by the college at their City campus. I graduated in 2020,” said John.

“The college’s television course differs from most others because of the hands-on experience you get, instead of just basic theory. I thought this would be hugely beneficial, and it turned out to be very true. A lot of people who graduate from non-practical courses struggle to get experience.

“I enjoyed getting to try out the various roles in TV. The college course helped to narrow down the roles that I would like to work in but, more importantly, it gave me sound advice on how to begin a career in television.”

Directing wasn’t an area John initially thought he would enjoy. However, he found that, after writing his own script, he became more passionate about the project and, when filming on set began, it was a comfortable role to work in.

After creating a short Gaelic drama as part of an assessment, John decided to submit it to the FilmG competition.

“One of the main subjects I cover in my film is isolation,” he said. “I think more people are reflecting on isolation due to Coronavirus, but it’s something that has always been present in the Scottish Isles. I filmed Bron in Ayrshire, and the most challenging aspect of directing the film was the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown. We had to cancel our first filming date and it was then a rush to complete what we could before everything closed.”

For John, winning FilmG provides positive motivation to continue creating content he enjoys.

“I’d like to work on more Gaelic programming and continue my interest in writing drama,” he said. I’m working part time just now at Asda Bearsden as a key colleague, and I’m hoping to receive a shadowing opportunity with QTV Sports at Ibrox soon.”

Bron can be viewed on FilmG's website.