Our Island is a curious place. We are small in stature but goliath-like in bountiful beauty. We have God-tier landscapes, emerald greenery and azure-blue seas: natural wonder to rival anywhere on Earth.
Yet our humour is sardonic and drier than desert bones. We are politically progressive yet for those looking in from across the Irish Sea, we are a nostalgic glint in the eye of yesteryear. There’s a kitsch quality to a tiny populace of horse trams, seafood on the beach and afternoon strolls through glens. Then, of course, there’s our strange and fanciful tales of mythical folklore. Weird and wonderful fables of fairies, spirits and rituals lend the Isle of Man a singular sense of rich heritage, a wholly unique identity of the strange and the magical and a counterpoint to blissed-out vibes of Traa Dy Looar Island life.
Our friends at Culture Vannin do more than most in helping preserve our sense of Manxness. Their passion and care for our diverse national identity continues to actively promote and maintain our rich culture. Such work has now been rewarded. Their short film ‘Manannan’s Tribute’ has won a place at the Celtic Media Festival in June this year.
The festival is an annual three-day event promoting the languages and cultures of the Celtic Nations and Regions in media. This year’s event will be held in Aviemore, in the Scottish Highlands. The film has a place at the prestigious event alongside productions from the national broadcasters of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, including BBC Cymru, BBC Scotland, RTÉ, BBC Alba, BBC Northern Ireland, S4C and TG4.
The short, released last June, follows a young family as they carry out the ancient Manx custom of taking rushes up South Barrule as an annual payment to Manannan on the eve of Tynwald Day.
James Franklin from Culture Vannin says:
“The film explains a fascinating aspect of Manx culture and tradition, which is specific to the Isle of Man, but it is wonderful that it is receiving of international attention.”
Director Brooke Wassall adds further:
“I am absolutely thrilled to see the film nominated in such a prestigious festival. For me, to have the opportunity to showcase our Manx culture internationally and hone my skills to give something back to the Island is a great feeling.”
‘Manannan’s Tribute: A Midsummer tradition in the Isle of Man’ is a sparse and stunningly shot film and well deserving of the plaudits. You can watch on the links below. It’ll ignite the patriotic fires inside you. One viewing of this and you’ll all be traipsing up South Barrule, green rushes in hand and bellowing with righteous zeal “MANANNAN!!! WE’RE NOT WORTHY!!!”. Probably.