When his children left home years ago, renowned storyteller Calum MacLeòid lost not only his family but his most treasured audience. One stormy night, Calum confronts the Baron of the Wind, a mystical being from his stories, and demands his children be returned. The old man promptly falls dead. From distant points the MacLeòids assemble to attend their father’s wake. But the deceased Calum has a surprise ending in store for them yet.
Nominated for a Genie Award for best live action short film, The Wake of Calum MacLeod is a historic venture into one of the world’s most renowned oral storytelling cultures.
Shot in the spectacular highlands of Cape Breton and featuring Gaelic storyteller Aonghas MacLeòid and music by internationally-acclaimed signer Mary Jane Lamond, The Wake of Calum MacLeod is a true original, “a short film but a big deal … a beautifully made, intense version of a short but tall tale.” (The Globe and Mail)
Produced with a grant awarded by bravoFACT (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent), a division of Bell Media Inc.
Writer/director: Marc Almon
Producer: Nona MacDermid
Marc Almon says:
“The Wake of Calum MacLeod (Faire Chaluim Mhic Leòid) is the first Gaelic-language short dramatic film made in the New World. Filmed in the Highlands of Cape Breton in May 2006, the film was a galvanizing community effort and a historical milestone.
Irish and Scottish Gaelic was spoken by millions of people in North America in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Nowhere on the continent was the Gaelic culture stronger than in Nova Scotia, Canada. Scottish settlers arrived in the thousands in the 18th and 19th centuries, founding one of the world’s most renowned oral storytelling cultures. Yet sadly Gaelic in Nova Scotia as well as elsewhere witnessed immense prejudice and decline this past century.
This is a story reminiscent of many displaced and marginalized peoples. Of the nearly 6,000 languages in use in the world today, more than 90% of them are endangered. Humanity’s intoxicating variety of cultures is under threat by the encroachment of the major languages. And with that domination comes an even greater loss for our world’s citizens. For languages bring with them their own distinct mode of looking at the world, their own value systems, their own stories and traditions.
But there is hope.
In Nova Scotia, children and adults are attending classes and events that are reintroducing the language of their parents and grandparents. Funding for these programs are increasing, as governments awaken to what is at risk of being lost forever.
Faire Chaluim Mhic Leòid reflects these present worries and future hopes in its story.”
About Marc Almon
Marc Almon is a filmmaker based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and co-founder of the production company StoryEngine Pictures.
Almon developed and produced the multiple award-winning feature film Blackbird, written and directed by Jason Buxton. Blackbird won best Canadian first feature film at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival; best Canadian feature at the 2012 Vancouver International Film Festival; the Claude Jutra Award for best debut feature from the Academy of Canadian Cinema; and many other distinctions.
Almon has written, directed and/or produced numerous short films including The Wake of Calum MacLeod, The Fiddler’s Reel and D’une rive à l’autre, which have screened at over 40 international film festivals and aired on CBC, Global, BBC, Bravo! and the Sundance Channel.
Almon has been nominated for a Genie Award for best live action short film and was a finalist for TIFF’s Pitch This! competition.
Almon is a graduate of the University of King’s College, Norman Jewison’s Canadian Film Centre and the National Screen Institute’s NSI Drama Prize course.