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Film Hub Wales
Nordic Youth Film Festival NUFF 2016 (Rhiannon Wyn Hughes)

Rhiannon Wyn Hughes attended the Nordic Youth Film Festival NUFF on behalf of Wicked Wales in June 2016. Read about her visit/experience below. 

“We were enthusiastically welcomed by the festival organisers who seemed genuinely pleased to welcome their first visitors from Wales. In the weeks before, when the visit had been confirmed, Dan Thomas (Wicked programmer) was invited to become a member of their international jury, along with jury members from Palestine and Norway. This role gave the visit and our festival a higher profile and enabled Dan to spend time with festival organisers and other international visitors. The visit helped to develop the relationship and build trust between our two festivals, which will be important when looking at future projects together.”

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Space Hopper Ffresh
Aesthetica Film Festival 2016 (Ffresh)

Jody Tozer from the Ffresh Student Media Festival Of Wales attended Aesthetica festival. Here’s what she thought:

“I had a fantastic time at Aesthetica where there was a large programme of short films and masterclasses all over the city of York. The buildings used for the events were incredible and included a museum, a medieval hall and largely used York University. It was great to see so many students engaging in a festival such as Aesthetica with plenty of networking opportunities for aspiring filmmakers to collaborate and share ideas. It was inspirational to see how a film festival and educational institution can work together, and in just 5 years create a large festival that was selling out on screenings. I also liked how they wanted to just bring filmmakers together but also film festival organisers so that we can all work together to develop a stronger film watching community in the UK.”

Jody’s top five things learned:

  1. I’ve developed a great strategy idea for Ffresh going forward.
  2. I’ve made connections that may prove useful teaming up with other festivals in the future.
  3. More people are now aware of Ffresh.
  4. I’ve seen some new programming ideas.
  5. I’ve realised that a strong connection with just one educational institution can be immensely successful.
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Up and Coming Festival, Hannover 2016 (Dan Thomas, Young Programmers Network)

Dan Thomas led the Young Programmers Network, supporting young programmer groups in venues across the UK. As part of setting up the Network, Dan successfully applied for a bursary from Film Hub Wales to attend the Youth Cinema Network at the Up and Coming Festival, Hannover. Here is what he gained from the trip:

Back in the Summer, Film Hub Wales commissioned me to do some research into youth film festivals. You may, or may not know, that we have a number of them here in Wales (Zoom, Pics, Ffilmic to name but three) and there are many more around the UK. Although Youth Festival provision is something that’s grown over the last 10 years here, festivals such as Cinemagic in Belfast have been running considerably longer.

Over in Europe however they’ve been running youth film festivals for decades. Zlin in the Czech Republic for example will be in its 56th year in 2016. There are a plethora of festivals across Europe (it’s taking some time to map them all!) and they all vary in scope, size and ambition. In terms of USP they can be split into two distinct categories. Some festivals screen features from all over the world made specifically for young people. Others celebrate the films made by young people, and there are a lot of them.

I recently visited the Up and Coming Festival in Hannover, which fits into the latter category. Now in its 13th year this international festival has more than 3000 entries from 57 countries. Out of that they chose 81 films from 33 countries for their international competition program.

I wasn’t just there for the festival however. A committed and passionate group of festival managers from all over Europe have formed a network to not only promote the work they do, but more importantly to promote and advocate the work of young filmmakers. The Youth Cinema Network (YCN) comes together across the year to share their festivals and ideas, and generally support each other in their collective aims and objectives.

I spent two days with the YCN in Hannover interviewing some of the members about their festivals and the sorts of challenges and barriers they face. What struck me was that they are the same challenges and barriers no matter where in Europe they were from – Croatia, Slovenia, Norway – all were incredibly tireless in what they do yet are battling constantly against the lack of funding and support. They also struggle to attract the typical cinema and festival audience which suggests there is a perception around films made by young people that perhaps they are not of sufficient quality to go and watch. It couldn’t be more different.

But the show must go on and they do what they do on limited resources because they recognise the value and the opportunities these types of festivals give to young people. Most of the festival directors have other jobs to make a living.  Sanja, who runs Four Rivers Festival in Croatia, sells yoghurt and her colleague Lea works in a shoe store. They have to take vacations to develop and run their programme. Yet without Four Rivers where would the numerous great films made by 14-20 year olds, the diverse workshops, the round tables, field-trips, and music concerts for youth actually happen in Croatia? It’s about giving young people a voice and a chance to work in an industry they clearly enjoy. Many of the festivals cited examples of young people they’ve worked with who’ve gone on to make features.

At the YCN meeting I attended we discussed some pretty terrific ideas about how to raise the profile of the work of young filmmakers around the world. We need to smash through the negative perception that says films made by young people aren’t worth our time. We go to youth choir concerts and we watch Young Musician of the Year competitions, so why not celebrate young filmmakers?

I think most of the ideas will happen simply because there is a will and a collective desire around that table to advocate and work on behalf of those they work with.  The good news for Wales is a new festival is currently being developed in Prestatyn. Wicked:16 has been born out of the YCN and will offer young filmmakers in Wales and further afield the chance to come together and show their films. After all, if we can’t support young talent, how does the film industry survive?


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Film Hub Wales
ICO REACH 2016 (Pontio & Cell B)

Gwen Sion, Pontio Arts Centre’s Marketing and Communications manager and Rhys Roberts, Cell B’s Director attended the ICO REACH Strategic Audience Development course in 2016. Here’s how they got on:


Gwen: “I have to say that I was really impressed with the course, from the highly organised timetables and clear ‘this is what we’re going to be doing…’ emails to the excellent food and drink provided.

The course was split up into three dates; the first down in London, the second a quick London-based catch-up and the third in Glasgow to coincide with the This Way Up conference.

The course was very intense and didn’t spare an ounce of your time during the day, cramming in all kinds of useful insight into audiences, behaviors, different way to segment your audience and topics such as The Landscape of Film Exhibition, Building at Retaining BAME Audiences, What Stops People Engaging with Film Beyond the Mainstream, Data is Gold and lots more besides.

At the same time, we were all tasked with working on our own projects. We discussed progress on these projects in the mid-way meet up and then – eek! – did our presentations at the end. Everyone was worried, but for me this was the highlight, hearing about all the fantastic things people had managed to achieve whilst carrying on with the day-to-day reality of cinema showings. I gained so much from this course, and would highly recommend it to anyone”.

Gwen’s Top Five Elements of the Course 

  1. Techniques for segmenting the market
  2. Relationship between programming and marketing in terms of audience development
  3. Importance of meeting other venues for knowledge transfer
  4. Better to focus on developing one particular audience well than trying to do too much badly
  5. It’s not all about budget, it’s about creativity and loving films


Rhys: “Please attend REACH, it’s one of the best courses that I’ve been on, it opened my mind so much and gave me the confidence to develop our cinema.

I gained the knowledge that one has to learn about one’s community; audiences are communities first and communities are diverse. I gained greater confidence in programming; for example to make contacts with schools to tie into the curriculum. It was great to learn about the segment characteristics their behaviours and needs and  understanding audiences; to keep sustaining our audiences and welcoming new audiences and tap into the community.”

Rhys’ Top Five Elements of the Course 

  1. You can get out of ‘locking’ screening shows because of the size of your cinema
  2. Build relationships between the cinema organisation and community
  3. Be clear in your objectives of who you are
  4. Understanding audiences
  5. Target and groom your audience
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FHW Top 10 Welsh Films 2015

It’s been a great year for Welsh cinema, Welsh filmmakers and retrospective seasons – here’s a roundup of some of the best films and events of 2015! 

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WOW Film Club Screening at Oasis Centre 2016 (Rabab Ghazoul)

Rabab Ghazoul on the WOW Film Club screening of The Rocket at the Oasis Centre, Cardiff:

“We know too well the plight of refugees in recent months and tragic stories of people, including children, losing their lives trying to escape horrors at home. There has been an outpouring of support across Europe. But what does it mean for us in Cardiff, a city where refugees and asylum seekers are already part of our community? What connections can we make with communities on our doorstep?

The WOW Women’s Film Club and Oasis Cardiff teamed up for the first film and food event in Splott with a screening of The Rocket last night (3 December). The Oasis Centre provides support for asylum seekers and refugees, as well as organising activities and events that build bridges between local residents and the asylum seeking and refugee community in Cardiff. This, the first film and food night organised by WOW Film Club at Oasis, was a chance for people to meet, share food, watch a film and make new friends.

The responses to the evening were incredibly positive, with many people commenting on how rare it was to be able to meet people on their doorstep they usually wouldn’t get a chance to meet, the opportunity to meet people from other cultures with their own story to tell was very welcome.

The event was so popular that we had to bring in extra chairs to accommodate all the audience. To then see so many people sitting down to eat together, a typical Syrian meal, was heart warming. The Film Club is delighted the event was such a success and thanks are due to staff and volunteers at Oasis who helped make it so. We really look forward to organising more screenings like this in the future.”

“It made me talk to people who I would not normally, in my small world, speak to” Cardiff resident, Oasis film night

“The film touch our hearts equally for both the natives and refugee. It was a film that has hope, courage, and determination” Asylum seeker from Eritrea, Oasis film night

“This film, and event, has lifted my mood and made my day so much better. It’s reassuring that things can happen – even when everything seems against you. Thank you”  Cardiff resident, Oasis film night

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Film Hub Wales
Charlotte Brownhill: The Work Experience Diaries 2015

Charlotte Brownhill – A second year BA (Hons) Media, Culture & Journalism student at the University of South Wales, talks about her placement with Riverfront Arts Centre (Newport):

21st October 2015

Today my day involved writing a press release for Disney Pixar’s Animated film Inside Out (U). The Riverfront will be showing this film at their cinema next week for half-term from Monday 26th – Thursday 29th October.

The Riverfront usually screens a film a week from Monday – Wednesday but due to half-term it was really important to produce a lot of marketing for Inside Out as it is a cheap day out for all the family, only costing £1.50 a ticket – you can’t go wrong there!

I began by writing a press release that will hopefully be featured in The Argus – A South Wales Newspaper. This newspaper is where The Riverfront advertise all of their upcoming events e.g. theatre, cinema etc. To ensure my press release would give the film justice I began to research reviews written about Inside Out, this involved the website Rotten Tomatoes which I highly recommend when trying to find an in depth review of a film as it provides statistics, trailers, ratings and reviews varying from top critics (such as The Guardian) to everyday users. I also began to look reviews from The Telegraph to Variety to Rolling Stones. I gather key words and information from them all and begin to form my own press release. I enjoy this as it gives me the opportunity to research thoroughly into a film – since beginning my work experience here my knowledge of films has improved.

After my press release is completed and checked, I schedule a number of tweets for the upcoming week to promote the film. I schedule tweets on Hootsuite throughout the day and evening promoting Inside Out in various ways such as linking trailers or images on the film as well as hash tags. The power of the hashtag can really boost promotion and I think it’s important to use as much social media as possible when promoting.

Another perk of the job this week was that I got two free meals for the Nando’s opening opposite the Riverfront in The Friars Walk shopping centre!

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Film Hub Wales
Children’s Film First Conference 2015 (Claire Vaughan, Chapter)

Claire Vaughan, Programme Officer at Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff tells us all about her experiences at the Children’s Film First Conference 2015 in Brussels:

“A hop to London on a bus, a skip onto the Eurostar and a jump off the platform into the beautiful, multicultural city of Brussels and I was making my way to a European-wide conference on Children’s Cinema.”




In these times of austerity it proved that there are alternatives and with a little investment in these areas we can create a more robust and healthy film culture in the future. A really inspiring couple of days with some wonderful people.



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Tainted Love season 2016 (Philip Wyn Jones)


An introduction to Chapter’s Tainted Love season from Philip Wyn Jones, part of BFI LOVE, in partnership with Plusnet:


“I’M LOOKING FOR LOVE. Not something superficial and unconvincing. The real thing. But please don’t rush. I’m writing this with reference to four Hitchcock films showing at Chapter in October. They are: Rebecca (1940), Notorious (1946), Vertigo (1958) and Psycho (1960). All these films feature various kinds and degrees of love. I’ll be choosing the most impressive and placing those characters in my Lovers’ Gallery”

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Berlin International Film Festival 2015 (Iris Prize)


Berwyn Rowlands, Festival Director of the Iris Prize and Queer Film Network member, visited the 2015 Berlinale (Berlin International Film Festival) and wrote this blog about his adventure.

The 2015 Berlinale proved to be everything I had ever dreamt it could be and more!

For the past 25 years people have responded with varying degrees of surprise when I admit that I’ve never been to the Berlin Film Festival. Sundance, Cannes, Edinburgh, Cork have all featured in my film past, each offering different experiences as I visited as a programmer, film producer, media executive or ordinary punter! Some were designated festivals for watching new films while others were places to do business and close deals, almost divorced from any screenings.

Berlin for a number of reasons was never on my list. What a mistake that was!

I was able to rectify this omission and spend 3 days at the 2015 Berlinale thanks to the support of Film Hub Wales. The dates were carefully selected to co-inside with the annual Queer Programmers Meeting co-ordinated by the Teddy Jury. This proved to be the largest gathering of queer programmers and festivals I had ever attended.

With the potential to be completely overwhelmed by the whole experience I kept reminding myself of my objectives for attending:

  • Meeting people – new contacts, sponsors, partners for collaborations!
  • Seeing films and meeting film makers to expand and enrich the Iris programme, especially now that we have increased the number of feature film screenings from 8 to 20!
  • Promoting the Iris Prize to encourage submissions and increase the international audience for the annual Cardiff festival.

I’m pleased to confirm I achieved all my objectives and more by attending the Queer Programmers Meeting, hanging out at the Market Place, attending meetings which I had organized before leaving Cardiff, leaving space in my schedule for unexpected meetings and watching films (not as much as I would have liked).

What was unexpected during my packed 3 days in Berlin was finding the time to “think” – considering how busy and frantic the Berlinale can be – but I found the moments between meetings an opportunity to focus the mind.

I’m already looking forward to returning to Berlin for the 2016 festival.


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Film Hub Wales
ABCinema Flatpack 2017: Archive and Young Audiences (Chapter)


Paul Holder, Workshop Leader at Chapter, Cardiff, tell us about his experiences at the ABCinema Sprint during Flatpack Film Festival, Birmingham:

“The ABCinema Sprint, part of Birmingham’s Flatpack Film Festival, brought together filmmakers, educators, archivists, programmers, and other creative professionals from across Europe to share and explore approaches to engaging young people with film archive and heritage.

The key challenges were summed up early on; how and why should we try to reach young people regarding film history? ; how can we bring digital mediums and methods into our attempts to encourage participation? ; how can we re-imagine the way in which audiences are invited in and experience film? Big questions, which over the course of the three-day event found many intriguing and innovative answers.”

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