• January 15, 1997

A video production unit established at a Manx secondary school produced a professional quality production entitled “Manx Myths and Fairy Tales”. The subject is self explanatory and Irish and Scottish viewers would probably recognise many of these ancient Manx legends as having counterparts in their own countries. The Celtic Film and Television Association , however, refuses to recognise Manx contributions as valid in its forthcoming festival.

The matter came to light after the school’s Deputy Head Teacher, Julie Harmer, contacted Brian Stowell of the Manx Branch of the The Celtic Congress. The school wished to submit the film to the International Celtic Film and Television Festival, organised by the Celtic Film and Television Association, to be held in Cornwall this year but was refused on the grounds that the Association considers Mannin to be a “Sottish region”!

It is not, unfortunately, the first time that the Assocition has displayed its ignorance. Some years ago Manx film maker Rob Rohrer tried to submit an entry and was refused because the Association did not consider Mannin to be a Celtic country!

The following letter has been sent by Dr. Stowell, in both Manx and English, to the Association.

English translation :

Dear Sir/Madam

I am wnting on behalf of the Manx Branch of the Celtic Congress the long-established association which promotes the languages and cultures of the six Celtic countries Brittany, Cornwall, Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales.

I have heard from Julie Harmer, the Deputy Headteacher of Queen Etizabeth II High School in the Isle of Man, that the video “Manx Myths and Fairy Tales” is not acceptable for entry in this year’s International Celtic Film and Television Festival in Cornwall. It seems that this has happened because the video has been classified as coming from the ” Scottish region” (sic) at a time when there is a very large number of entries from Scotland. If this is the case, it is unacceptable.

Firstly, this is a high quality video. The video unit at Queen Elizabeth II High School has gained a high reputation – So high that it is backed by a major international company. The video itself is being broadcast in Ireland.

Secondly, the Isle of Man is a Ceitic country with its own identity, as can be appreciated briefly from these features:

  • the Isle of Man has its own government along with the oldest partiament in the world.
  • the Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom nor is it in the European Union.
  • the Isle of Man has its own Celtic (Gaelic) language the native culture is Celtic.

Hence, we should not be included in the “Scottish region”! In some ways, I can understand if there is a difficulty: Manx people have not taken part in the Festival in recent years. Therefore, I would be grateful if you would make known what must be done to enable the Isle of Man to take a proper part in the Festival. It should be important for the Celtic Film and Television Associaton to be senstive in matters ot cultural identity. Unless this is so, there is not much point in having such an association.

I would be grateful if you would forward copies of this letter to members of the Executive Committee and to Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas.

Yours faithfully

Dr Brian Stowell
Secretary, Manx Branch of the Celtic Congress
International President of the Celtic Congress, 1993-1996

Celtic Film and Television Association
The Library
Farraline Park
Inbhir Nis IV1 1 LS

Dr. Stowell contacted the Celtic League for assistance and all the League’s National plus International and North American branches have been asked to lobby the Association to give proper recognition to Mannin. Individuals and organisations are asked to do likewise (address above).

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