Imbas

Kyle, a writer obsessed with Celtic mythology, is contacted by Fiona, a woman who claims to be a druid. He persuades his best friend Rachel to join him on a road trip to Scotland. There, Fiona shows him how to reach the fabled Otherworld. Determined to achieve imbas, supernatural enlightenment, Kyle attempts the passage - and pays a terrible price.

  • Xan Gilmour
    Director
    Dao Hides, No Name; The Cockpit
  • Xan Gilmour
    Writer
  • Andrés Ortiz Pinilla
    Producer
  • Xan Gilmour
    Producer
  • Charlie McRae-Tod
    Key Cast
    "Kyle"
  • Carolyn Maitland
    Key Cast
    "Rachel"
  • Elizabeth McNally
    Key Cast
    "Fiona"
  • Genres:
    Fantasy, Adventure
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
    English
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Feel the Reel International Film Festival
    Iasi, Romania
    Best of the Fest, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography
  • Lion Film Festival
    Online
    Official Selection
  • Shadow Film Festival
    Online
    Official Selection
  • Madrid Film Awards
    Madrid
    Official Selection
  • Fortean Film Festival
    Gloucester
    Gold Award: Best Film & Best Cinematography
  • Lonely Wolf International Film Festival
    Online
    Semi-Finalist
  • 2022 Bristol Film Conference
    Bristol
    Official Selection
  • Moviola Film Festival
    London
    Official Selection
  • Flickers Rhode Island Festival
    Providence, Rhode Island
    Semi-Finalist
Director Biography - Xan Gilmour

Xan is an award-winning director and writer from Scotland. After graduating with a First in History from Oxford University, he shot documentaries for OTOXO Productions in Barcelona, IOHR in London, and Moria Refugee Camp on Lesvos.

Committing full-time to scripted content in 2021, his film 'Dao Hides, No Name' won Best Fantasy Short at Europe Film Festival UK and Best Cultural Film at Fortean Festival. 'The Cockpit', his next film, has just been awarded and screened by the British International Amateur Film Festival.

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Director Statement

I started writing ‘Imbas’ in February 2020, when I travelled to New Zealand and met people who longed for Scotland as a spiritual homeland, the place of their ancestors. I too have viewed Scotland in mystical terms: the rugged hills of emerald and gold, the white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, the music of pipes and fiddles…

The project went on hold until February 2021, when I began 4 months of fresh research into Celtic mythology. I wanted to bake its core aspects into the story, so I read The Táin, The Mabinogion, Tales of the Elders of Ireland and many other sources. I condensed and rewrote the script.

What was left was an ancient quest in a modern setting; a story of restlessness and obsession leading to revelation and loss; a snapshot of the alienation that modern life can breed. Many long for a romanticised freedom from the distractions of progress - Kyle, the protagonist, is not alone, he is merely extreme.

‘Imbas’ is a fantasy - but not the familiar kind, with elves, wizards and dragons. True fantasy, as Ursula LeGuin put it, should be ‘a journey into the wilderness’, unfamiliar and unsafe. Fantasy engages with reality in a heightened way, free of the mundane. We all create our own realities; Kyle chooses fantasy to make sense of his.