A Gaelic documentary about a Ness tradition has been honoured at the 54th Chicago International Television Festival, earning congratulations for “exceptional work”.
BBC ALBA documentary, Sùlaisgeir: An t-Sealg (The Hunt), was awarded a Certificate of Merit in the non-fiction programme category at the Festival – the first ever Gaelic language programme to be considered by the festival.
Sùlaisgeir: An t-Sealg, produced by MacTV and first broadcast on for BBC ALBA on New Year’s Day, 2018, followed the Guga Hunt, where men from Ness, Lewis, travel 40 miles north to the rocky outcrop of Sùlaisgeir to bring home their quota of young gannets, a salty delicacy and traditional food source for the islanders.

The focus of the programme was Dods MacFarlane, the expedition leader, who was taking part in his last ever trip before passing the torch onto the next generation.
MacTV Producer, Màiri Smith, said: “We are delighted to see Sùlaisgeir: An t-Sealg sharing a platform with some of the best international television from around the globe, and for it to pick up a certificate of merit at this prestigious festival is just fantastic.
“MacTV were privileged to have the opportunity to tell the story of the Ness Guga Hunters from the inside, and share it with the wider world.
“The chance to collaborate with local communities and document their stories is fundamental to what we do, and we’re delighted with the success for our hard working production team and of course Dods and the boys from Ness who shared their story with us so openly.”
BBC ALBA’s Head of Service, Margaret Mary Murray, added: “We are delighted that Sùlaisgeir: An t-Sealg has been given this prestigious industry recognition and we hope that this will lead to further international development and collaboration opportunities for MacTV and other BBC ALBA producers.
“This programme took many years to come to fruition and it demonstrates the dedication, tenacity and creative energy it takes to deliver outstanding storytelling which is deeply rooted in our culture. We are proud of MacTV and the entire team behind Sùlaisgeir: An t-Sealg.”
The Chicago International Television Festival, an offshoot of the long-running Chicago Film Festival, is a three-day festival celebrating the art of television productions and commercials from all around the world.
Featuring premiere screenings, panel discussions, and an awards-night ceremony, the Festival honours the creativity and craft of Television’s brightest minds.