This week, we invited journalist and commentator Lesley Riddoch to be the Northern Lights guest editor.

Lesley will be judging the Best Issue-based Award of £750 after submissions close on 21 June.

We asked Lesley to take a look at your issue-based submissions so far and give us her top picks…

Umaima Musa – My Thought – More Than One
I loved Umaima’s optimism about her life and the possibilities of the future for an intelligent woman also determined to become “educated.” Great to hear an immigrant see freedom on offer in Scotland. The rough n ready production also inadvertently showed how ready Umaima is to speak out – even without perfect English. So many Scots are hampered by not having perfect grammar. Watch and be inspired!

Chris Leslie - Surviving Destitution
Chris’ film makes a strong point about the limbo-land many asylum-seekers find themselves in. The focus on Anesu was immediate and moving…and horrifying to hear he only eats properly two days a week. Friendship has found him a home that stops him being destitute – even though it has no heating. It seems the authorities have washed their hands of Anesu – that comes over clearly even though he is careful not to criticise directly. Careful and powerful with good use of “cutaways” over Anesu’s own voice.

Gillian Martin – Us vs Trump
Us vs Trump has a fabulous, defiant piece to camera by Gillian at the end on the dunes near Trump’s new gold resort on the Menie Estate. I loved the idea of creating a direct message to The Donald (I don’t think he’ll be listening mind you!) and the sentiment – these dunes don’t belong to you or me and they’ll be there when we’re both dead! Sometimes land reform can seem very complicated. This made the issue very simple. Hands off land that is a natural resource not a personal possession of anyone. Nice one. Might have been good to focus the whole piece around this piece to camera which was however at the end. The voiceover was by contrast a wee bit stilted. More of Gillian in camera please!

Derek Wilson – Underpass
The puddle in the underpass speaks volumes about the rundown, neglected environment of big estates and areas of multiple deprivation in Scotland. They say a picture paints a thousand words – a well chosen piece of video paints a million! I like the confidence of having nothing but the underpass in screen –without commentary for more than a minute. Derek himself is then shown in a splitscreen box – a clever device that lets the puddle motif remain in vision while Derek talks honestly about the limited horizons of his life. The downside of the split screen is a slight disconnect between the long walk towards the puddle and underpass and Derek’s speech. But I liked the fact he doesn’t tell us where he is talking about. His environment is not a place with the attributes that create a sense of place – it’s just one part of a damaged ecosystem.

Tam Hickey – Scots Are
Most submissions have involved two people – a camera operator and an interviewee. Tam illustrates how to do both by capturing an ordinary moment of irritation during a Google search about Scotland and making that the subject of his film. He has just two shots and uses them to set up the issue and then answer it – a strong, simple structure. It’s always difficult filming a computer screen because of flicker – but Tam’s chosen a subject we are all familiar with so the lack of clear image isn’t a big problem.

My favourite of these 5? Well the best made film is by Chris. The most memorable moment is Gillian’s fabulous Trump rant. The cleverest idea is the puddle and split screen by Derek. The cheeriest film is Umaima’s and the most straightforward idea is Tam’s.

Take your pick – and then make your own submission!