- The Social Distillery
- Isle of Harris Gin
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- The Hearach Single Malt
A Man With A Movie Camera
Posted on: 27th January, 2017
As 2016 rolled into 2017, the distillery team were making their television debut, as BBC Alba screened three episodes of Druthad Na Hearadh - A Little Drop Of Harris. With only a few days left on BBC iPlayer to watch the series we thought we’d grab a chat with the film-maker behind the series to find out more about his work.
Kenny Stewart is from the village of Back in the Isle of Lewis (but his mother comes from Grosebay here in Harris!) and is the talented freelance editor behind Moja Ltd, a TV edit facility based in Stornoway making programmes for the Gaelic media service MG Alba, among other projects further afield.
Kenny and Moja originally approached us back in 2014 about documenting the early days of the distillery, resulting in a short film which eventually paved the way for a three-part series following our story from the initial construction right through to the filling of our first casks.
Kenny tells us…
“Observational Documentary is a fairly simple process but it takes input from both sides. The distillery team were excellent at letting me know when something was going to happen that may be of interest to the story so the early days were straight-forward enough, just film everything!”
He goes on…
“Without great contributors, the documentary maker has nothing. I film people doing things, sometimes nothing of any interest happens for days and days and sometimes you have an action packed day. So to be able to get full access to what goes on inside the distillery was fantastic, I had a huge variety of different activities going on from which I could construct the storylines.”
As well as giving us a chance to look back and see our progress from another perspective, we also enjoyed seeing the true spirit of our team that only a film camera can capture. In particular the lilt of Gaelic language and life in characters like distiller Domhnull Macleod and team member Peter Kwasniewski. Reflecting on one of our favourite scenes...
“Peter, who is from Poland, said a few words to me in Gaelic one day. I had been struggling to show a way to link the peat used for the distillery fire, which Peter is often stoking up! Domhnall lives near Peter, he has peat banks and is a fluent Gaelic speaker. What better way to combine peat cutting and a brief Gaelic lesson than to take them both out to the moor on a Saturday morning?”
We loved their ‘odd couple’ moments and it made for much laughter when we saw it. We’re also happy to report Kenny is a fan of our work too.
“The distillery is a fantastic idea, and a life saver for the employees who may well have been forced to leave Harris in search of employment. It is also a great attraction for tourists, which I'm sure brings a welcome boost to the island's economy. Everything about the distillery says it will be a huge success over the coming decades”.
With only a few days left to enjoy the documentary we encourage you to head to the BBC iPlayer page to watch Kenny’s creation one last time. But our story doesn’t end here. Kenny tells us a fourth episode will be filmed as our whisky reaches maturation…
“…there is the unknown, who can tell what will happen between now and the whisky bottling…I am sure a lot will happen! It’s a long filming project, and the end date can only really be set by the whisky being deemed ready by the distillery!”
We’re looking forward to the next time our journey can be captured by this 'man with a movie camera’. Meantime, we thank him for all his hard work, over what has been an historic 18 months of distillery life and for helping us look at our ongoing story through a new lens.