"At the root of every meditation on philosophy and morality, there will be found a story."
[Aonghas] Sgiathanach a th'unnam, as Uige, ged a tha mi nise fuireach anns na Criochan Albannach. Rinn mi eolas air Sim Mac a Mhuillear nuair a bha e ag obair air fiolm goirid steidhichte air oige fhein ann am Baile Dhun Leibhe (ann a Labhdaidh an Iar). As a choinneachadh sin thainig cothrom eadartheangachadh (agus beagan comhairleachaidh) a dheanamh air an fhiolm ghoirid aige, Foighidinn. Nuair a thainig fios bhon a BhBC gu robh sgriobhadairean a dhith airson sreath sgeulachdan, air fiolm, steidhichte air beul-aithris, cha b'e ruith ach leum dhomh! I'm a Skyeman, from Uig, though now living in the Scottish Borders. I met Simon Miller when he was working on a short film based on his childhood in Livingstone (West Lothian). From that encounter came the opportunity to translate (with a bit of consultation thrown in) his short film Patience. When I heard from the BBC that scriptwriters were sought for a series of filmed stories based on tradition, I had no hesitation!
Ciamar a dheilig thu ri sgeul an Eich-uisge? How did you approach writing the Water-horse story?
[Aonghas] Sheallainn do dhuine sam bith an lochan an ceann a Tuath an Eilein far an deach innse dhomh, 's mi direach na mo bhalach, gu robh each-uisge san doimhneachd. Theid gaoir tromham a dol seachad air fhathast. fiu's ged a tha geola bheag sinte air a bhruaich. Mar sin bha e furasada dhomh an sgeul a tha ann a seadh 'beo' nam mhacmeanmainn, a chur ann an dreach ur. Bhon a bha an sgeul ri bhi na seorsa de pharabal, bha an tionnadh a dhith a cheangladh i ri priomh-sgeul an fhiolm. I can still point out the small loch in North Skye where I was told, as a boy, that a Kelpie lived in the depths. It still sends a hint of a shiver through me to passit, even though a small dinghy is beached on its bank. But it was easy for me to re-invent a story that is still 'alive' in my imagination. As the story had to represent a kind of parable, it was then necesary to provide the twist that connected it with the central narrative of the film.
Bheil an smuain gu bheil cinema Gaidhlig ann a ciallachadh cail? Does the idea of a Gaelic cinema mean anything?
[Aonghas] Carson nach biodh? Chan eil na h-eisimpleirean lionmhor, ach nuair a gheibh Gaidheal cothrom a dhol sas ann a fiolm, bho thaobh astaigh a dhualchas fhein, tachraidh miorbhaillean. Gun a bhi deanamh dimeas air gin dhen fheadhainn eile, dh'ainmichinn am fiolm goirid a rinn Domhnall Ruadh, steidhichte air an oran 'A Bhean Eudach', far an do dh'inns e an sgeul le lan-chumhachd is le gann facal a labhairt. Tha an sgeul ga h-inne fhein. Why not? The examples are not numerous, but when Gaels get the opportunity to engage with film from within their own traditions, marvels can happen. Implying no criticism of any others, i'd cite Domhnall Ruadh's short film based on the folk-song 'The Jealous woman', told most powerfully, with a minimum of dialogue. The story tells itself.
An d'fhiach a bhi 'g aithris sgeulachdan? Does storytelling matter?
[Aonghas] Chan eil creideamh anns an t-saoghal nach eil steidhichte air sgeulachdan. Aig bun gach meorachadh air feallsanachd is moraltachd, gheibhear sgeulachd. There's no religion in the world that isn't based on storytelling. At the root of every meditation on philosophy and morality, there will be found a story.
De an rud a b'fhearr mu bhi deanamh Seachd? What was the best thing about making Seachd?
[Aonghas] Dhomhsa, bho nach b'urrainn dhomh bhi sas anns a chorr dhen deanamh, an sgriobhadh. Do sgriobhadair a tha cleachdte ri bhi ag obair na aonar, 's e rud fior thaitneach a th'ann a bhi a' co-obrachadh le sgriobhadairean eile. For me, as further involvement in making Seachd wasn't possible, the writing. For a writer accustomed to working in isolation, it's a particularly satisfying experience to be able to work in co-operation with others.
De an rud bu mhiosa? What was the worst thing?
[Aonghas] Nach b'urrainn dhomh a bhi sas anns an deanamh na bu mhodha, air sgath 's gu robh dleasdanasan eile a' gabhail buaidh air mo thide. That I couldn't be more involved in the making of Seachd due to prior commitments elsewhere.