Select a news category to view

Blog
General
Jobs
Latest News
Rhys Big
Hollywood star Rhys Ifans opens new community screen room at Blaenau Ffestiniog’s cinema, CellB

On Saturday February 20, CellB’s second cinema screen was officially opened by none other than The Amazing Spiderman & Kingsman star Rhys Ifans, in a virtual livestream event. The screen has even been named after him as a gesture of appreciation for all his community youth work during the pandemic.  

This marks an exciting step forward for the local arts and culture industry, as well as creating more opportunities for youth projects, all of which have suffered greatly over the last year due to the Covid crisis.  

CellB is run by Gwallgofiad, a not for profit social enterprise that has been providing creative training for the young people of Blaenau Ffestiniog since 2003. Situated in the old police station, it has been a hub of activity over the years, hosting a range of gigs and youth projects, then expanding into a hostel, bar, restaurant and now most recently, a cinema.  

Owner and Blaenau local Rhys Roberts has always believed in broadening the horizons for young people, a core value behind CellB’s ‘Clwb Clinc’, a Welsh language youth club providing a range of free creative arts and media workshops. When the pandemic first struck in spring 2020, these workshops had to move online. Members still benefited from structured virtual meetings, and were also treated to Q&A sessions with Rhys Ifans and Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens. Since his first zoom appearance in May last year, Rhys Ifans proved a hit with the kids, forming a lasting mentorship and inspiring them to create their own videos, as well as committing to support future creative projects for the youths. 

Thanks to support from Art Council WalesCommunity Foundation WalesCist GwyneddFfilm Cymru Wales and Film Hub Wales as part of the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN), made possible by the National Lottery, this creative energy fueled Clwb Clinc’s reopening in August 2020, where the team worked together to reshuffle its priorities, namely asking the question, how to keep a cinema open in a socially-distanced world? It soon became clear that space was extremely important, with many of the locals having expressed concern about revisiting the cinema due to being in close proximity with others. It was decided that the upstairs courtroom, previously used for social events, would become the second screen, with its large space providing room for flexibility both in terms of functions and audience seating. This includes six ‘creative pods’ where the young people can also work on their projects outside of screen time. 

The aim of the cinema is to use any profits to subsidise the costs of these youth workshops, thus creating a sustainable community system that benefits the general public as well as young people. Training opportunities in box office and projection skills will also be provided, with the long-term goal of securing future work in the industry. Rhys Roberts says: 

 Past projects have proven that arts workshops often lead to the development of an exciting and successful career in the arts, whether in theatre, music, literature. I am confident that we can repeat this goal again and again.

In this time of restricted movement and social isolation people are yearning for ways to escape, and what better way to do so than to watch a good film in the (safely distanced) company of others? A diverse program is currently  being put together, featuring films from around the world as well as much loved classics. Films to be screened include Spirited AwayPain and Glory and Capernaum. 

The ‘Rhys Ifans Sgrin 2’ was opened with a live-stream event. Rhys Ifans said: 

 It is a great honor to be part of such an exciting initiative, the Cell B team & Gwallgofiaid is a great example of a community pulling together to create a safe and creative space for the young people of the area. 

 Having a Welsh-born actor opening a cinema screen in collaboration with the local youth project perfectly encapsulated the ethos behind CellB’s new venture. It’s a special mix of community-focused concern and forward-thinking innovation, whilst also following guidelines to keep everyone safe.

 Hana Lewis, Manager of Film Hub Wales adds:

The role of cinemas in our communities has become even more crucial during the pandemic. CellB continues to put their young creatives first, keeping them connected at a time when they are most at risk of isolation. The opening of screen two, with the invaluable support of Rhys Ifans, is a testament to their hard work and creativity.

Keep an eye out for Cellb’s ‘Sinema’r Byd’ film package takeaway box coming soon. At a time where we can’t travel let Cellb take you on a world voyage through film, food and drink. Boxes will vary each week with a diverse range of specialised, independent and world cinema films on DVD accompanied by street food snacks and drinks from the visited country.

www.cellb.org

Watch the opening of Sgrin2 live stream on Youtube

ENDS

Download the full press release here
Read More
St Davids Day Collage
Film Hub Wales Recommends: Saint David’s Day Edition

In celebration of Saint David’s Day coming up, the Film Hub Wales team have picked just a handful of films with welsh connections to watch at home. See below for our personal recommendations, but you can also find our full Made in Wales film catalogue, and an extensive list of films with Welsh connections that can be watched while at home here.

Read More
Seren Stiwdios (1)
Welsh Government announces Great Point to take over Seren Stiwdios

Great Point will manage the studio for 10 years, with an option to acquire and expand the large studio complex. The agreement, which came into effect this week, closely follows Great Point’s recent announcements of the building of Lionsgate Studios in Yonkers, NY, as well as a second studio complex in Buffalo, New York. This third studio signals Great Point’s commitment to expanding its efforts to build and manage state-of-the-art production facilities in key production cities, where pressure on existing studio space is ever-increasing.

Seren Stiwdios in Cardiff, Wales, was built and developed by the Welsh Government in 2015. It has four large stages totaling 74,000 square feet, in addition to copious production office and ancillary space. Nearby locations are spectacular and diverse, with cityscapes, coast and countryside all easily accessible. Film and TV productions which have shot at Seren include The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Sherlock, Show Dogs, The State, A Discovery of Witches, The Crown and Doctor Who.

Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said:

We are delighted to welcome Great Point to Wales with the establishment of their first studio complex in the UK as they bring with them access to a global network of industry contacts and exciting opportunities. Great Point’s approach to supporting and developing the local supply chain along with their commitment to education and mentoring will further enhance the creative sector in Wales. Great Point Seren Stiwdios will enhance Wales’ reputation as a preferred location for productions and further improve career and employment opportunities.

Read the full press release

Read More
Poster
Watch Africa Cymru: Bringing African Cinema to Wales
The annual Welsh-African film festival, Watch-Africa Cymru, goes online in 2021 bringing together Africa and Wales to celebrate African cinema.

Founded 8 years ago in the south of Wales, Watch-Africa Cymru is Wales’ only African film festival. This year’s 9th edition is moving online this and takes place from the 19th -28th of February 2021.

With thanks support from Chapter Arts, Ffilm Cymru Wales and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, an exciting program titled, ‘Bringing Africa to Wales’, has been curated. The festival will be screening a variety of 10 fantastic films, live Q&As with directors, cast, and experts.

Paired with this cinema programme, the festival will also offer a series of engaging workshops, specially arranged to complement the cinema programme (including a workshop on African Folklore!).

This festival will celebrate authentic cultural exchanges through trans-national cinematic collaborations. Kicking off the festival, Watch-Cymru Africa is pleased to welcome acclaimed Welsh-African filmmaker Florence Ayisi. The festival will culminate with a regal grande finale screening and discussion with the makers of ‘Buganda Royal MusicRevival’ and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Follow Watch-Africa Cymru on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to join the online discussion and for a chance to win some special prizes.

Christine Patterson, Watch-Africa Cymru producer said:

I am very pleased to be involved in such great collaborations for this year’s film festival. This program is sure to invoke a wide range of emotions, and spark some intriguing discussions.“We, as well as our collaborators look forward to enjoying the upcoming festival with you.

Claire Vaughan from Chapter Arts Centre said:

We have been working with Watch Africa for many years and I am very pleased that we have helped make this festival digital this year so audiences have a chance to see all these wonderful films.

“There are some real treats in store – documentaries from Wales-based filmmakers, social commentary, comedy, classics and some of the most beautiful photography you’ll see this year.

“I am especially looking forward to the workshops, which include educators like Abu-Bakr Madden Al-Shabazz. Don’t miss your chance to see these films and see a bit of the world that is unavailable to us at the moment.”

Professor Florence Ayisi, an African filmmaker living in Wales and has 2 films that are going to be screened said that:

“Watch-Africa Cymru offers creative spaces for filmmakers and film lovers to connect and dialogue. It is a special space that is more energised around ideas, images and stories about African culture and experiences captured in film. More importantly, it is a place to see, hear and know a little bit more about perspectives and lived experiences that bridge gaps of misinformation and misrepresentations about life in Africa.”

Watch-Africa Cymru is more than a film festival; it has created a space for audiences to celebrate the cultures of African people who make up multi-cultural Wales; a fantastic vision!

Tickets for Bringing Africa to Wales Film Festival are on sale now. Each film is available to purchase and stream on the Chapter Player.

Click here for more information about the festival.
Click here to see the Watch Africa 2021 trailer.

The festival is supported by: Ffilm Cymru, Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel (SSAP), Hub Cymru Africa (HCA), Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD)

ENDS.

Read More
Heather Small Iris Prize
Heather Small is confirmed as new Patron for the Iris Prize

Organisers of the Cardiff based Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival are delighted to confirm the appointment of Heather Small as a patron of the organisation.

The world-famous soul singer achieved huge success in the 90s with the group M People, selling over 10 million albums worldwide, before embarking on a solo career, with hits including Proud. Heather has been a supporter of the Iris Prize for many years, performing during the festival’s awards show in 2017 and returning in 2018 as a member of the International Jury.

Heather Small, Singer and Iris Patron commented:

There are certain things you do that put joy in your heart and make you smile from the inside out: that, for me, is the Iris Prize.

“I have to say, it feels amazing. I am truly committed to the Iris Prize and I am truly committed to my new role. I want to bring something a little extra that is part of me, in the sense of more people hearing about the Iris Prize and more people seeing those films. They definitely have to be seen. These stories have to be told.”

Berwyn Rowlands, Director and Founder of the Iris Prize commented: 

I’ve always been a massive fan of Heather and I’m happy to admit I was a little starstruck when she agreed to support Iris by performing at the awards show. They say “don’t meet your heroes”, but I’m glad I did!

 “She was amazing and a very popular jury member who took the job seriously. She took an active part in the decision-making process which awards one film maker with the £30,000 Iris Prize — still the world’s largest single prize for a short film.

 “What’s super cool about Heather is she’s got the gift of reaching out to people. There was a lovely incident in a Cardiff restaurant during the 2018 festival. It was late and the jury were tired having been watching and discussing films all day. Heather had other ideas, suddenly she befriended the guy who had been entertaining the diners with his guitar. Next thing, they were singing Stand By Me together. It was one of those magic moments, which happen often when you are in the company of this special person.”

Andrew Pierce, Festival Chair, commented:

You just know when somebody is genuine and interested in your work. Heather has been unbelievably generous with her time supporting Iris and our work in sharing LGBT+ stories to as wide an audience as possible.

“In our 15th anniversary year we are in a strong position to take Iris to another level. Unexpectedly we reached audiences in the 80,000 in 2020 as we took Iris online. I’m sure with Heather joining us formally as a patron we should be able to sustain those numbers in 2021 and I hope increase them.”

“There are a lot of unknowns about how 2021 will pan out, primarily because of the continued impact of the pandemic. But I am reassured that with Heather joining our other patrons, including Lord Glendonbrook, Christopher Racster, Sara Sugarman, Katie White and myself, we have enough stability to see our work continue and increase in impact as we share more LGBT+ stories with new audiences.”

To celebrate her appointment as an Iris Prize patron, Heather appears on the cover of DIVA Magazine (February 2021), which also features a full 7-page interview between Heather and DIVA publisher Linda Riley. The following is a small extract from the interview:  

This year Iris celebrates its 15th anniversary. Why do you think it’s been such a success? 

I think it’s the passion, dedication and commitment of all involved – Berwyn Rowlands, festival director and his team. I’ve met them several times over the years. It was so wonderful that even with Covid they made it work and involved more people than ever before.”

“There’s no incentive like being told “no” to make you turn it into a “yes”. I understand that more than a lot of people. When you belong to the LGBTQI community, when you belong to the Black Lives Matter movement, you understand being marginalised, you understand people telling you “no”. The word “no” followed me around like a bad odour in my youth. Somebody saying, “It’s going to be a challenge”, “It’s going to be difficult”, “It’s going to be hard”. All that does is fuel your ambition and you press forward.”

The full story in Diva is available here.

The main festival sponsors are: The Michael Bishop Foundation, Welsh Government, the BFI awarding funds from The National Lottery, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film 4, University of South Wales, Co-op Respect, Bad Wolf, Gorilla Group, Peccadillo Pictures, Pinewood Studios, Attitude Magazine, Diva Magazine and The Ministry of Sound. 

The festival also works in partnership with BAFTA Cymru, Pride Cymru and Stonewall Cymru. 

Read More
Made In Wales 800×450
Film Hub Wales appoints new Made in Wales Officer to champion Welsh film

Film Hub Wales (FHW) has created a pioneering new role,
dedicated to the promotion of Welsh films and the cinemas that screen them.

Radha Patel joins the team as the Made in Wales Officer at a critical time, as the film industry plans for a future beyond Covid19. Supported by funding from Creative Wales and developed in consultation with the Welsh screen industry, this innovative new role will explore ways to develop audiences for films with Welsh connections.

Hana Lewis, Strategic Manager of FHW explains:

 The film industry has faced immense challenges during the pandemic, from long term cinema closures and festival cancellations, to delayed release schedules. Anticipated Welsh films such as Andy Goddard’s Six Minutes to Midnight starring Judy Dench and Euros Lyn’s Dream Horse starring Toni Collette, are just two examples of films impacted, losing crucial box office income but also a chance to celebrate Welsh stories. We are delighted to welcome Radha to our team, to a role which can support these and many other releases as they explore new pathways to reach audiences.

The role was developed in conjunction with FHW’s Made in Wales strategy which has been working to celebrate Welsh language, culture and heritage on screen since 2014. Over 700 films with Welsh connections are featured on the FHW website, along with an online preview room for film programmers and an option for filmmakers to submit their films for promotional support. Most recently, FHW undertook research into potential for a Made in Wales brand, which could be used as a symbol to promote Welsh film internationally.

Gerwyn Evans, Deputy Director, Creative Wales said: 

“We look forward to the recovery of our creative industries in 2021. Films have played such a key role in keeping us entertained at home during 2020, but we look forward to audiences packing our cinemas once again. In Wales we have a rich heritage and strong track record of film, with many local cinemas waiting to welcome back audiences. We wish Radha every success in this key role with Film Hub Wales promoting Welsh films and cinemas.” 

Claire Vaughan, Programme Manager for Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff says:  

“We are very excited for Radha Patel begin work on this important role that will help promote Welsh film. This post will enable us to connect more filmmakers with audience members who are eager to hear Welsh stories. Radha is a talented artist who places emphasis on how we explain ourselves with stories and her warm approach to audiences and professional manner with stakeholders makes her a great appointment to the role.” 

Radha’s previous roles include Communications Officer at Age Cymru and Projects and Outreach Officer for Gentle/Radical, a grassroots socially engaged arts organisation based in Cardiff. Radha has a background in audience development and is passionate about ensuring that cinema is accessible to and representative of all.

Radha adds: 

“I’ve always been passionate about cinema, and making sure that it’s accessible to all. As the Made in Wales Officer, I feel honoured to continue doing this by making sure films produced in Wales, or that have Welsh connections, receive the attention they deserve from audiences nationally and internationally. Wales is home to incredibly talented crews and production teams, filmmakers and writers, actors and talented individuals working all year round to bring compelling narratives to life. To truly champion them, we also have to champion Welsh audiences because the stories we tell belong to us all.”

Find out more about Radha and how you can get in touch with her via FHW’s website.

FHW are led by Chapter as part of the BFI Film Audience Network. Thanks to National Lottery funding FHW delivers a wide portfolio of activity annually, bringing more films, to more people, at more cinemas and film festivals across Wales.

Ends.

Download the press release

Read More
FEF Collage
Film Hub Wales awards £52,000 in Covid-19 recovery funds to Welsh cinemas and festivals

Media Release:

Film Hub Wales awards £52,000 in Covid-19 recovery funds to Welsh cinemas and festivals

Film venues put wellbeing at the forefront of their post-Covid-19 reopening programmes.

Film Hub Wales (FHW) has awarded £52,000 in National Lottery funding, through the BFI FAN Film Exhibition Fund, to 15 Welsh independent cinemas and film festivals as they plan for reopening.

Funds will be used to aid recovery, enabling venues to safely restart British and international film screenings, including through cabaret style seating and ‘big screen bubbles’, so that they can reconnect with the most isolated Welsh communities affected by lockdown.

Socially-distanced film activities will take place Wales-wide, creating safe spaces where people can still travel the world via the big screen, at affordable prices. Audiences will be at the heart of decision making, with their feedback valued by venues as they rebuild.

For example, TAPE in Old Colwyn is reinstating Sofa Cinema and will screen Sanctuary in partnership with a new local dating agency for people with learning disabilities. In Barry, the Memo Arts Centre will create ‘big screen Bub-L’ activities with digital and take-away crafts, and in Tywyn the Magic Lantern will ‘re-light the magic lantern’, positioning the cinema as a bold, brave beacon for the future.

Since the pandemic began, many sites have been unable to open their doors to the public. With an uncertain future still ahead, they have been working to diversify their business models, develop robust health and safety procedures and secure critical alternative sources of income.

Hana Lewis, Strategic Manager of Film Hub Wales explains:

We need to recognise the impact of cinemas in our communities and the potential loss we will all face if they close as a result of the pandemic. From Neuadd Ogwen, which provided food to 600 people via its foodbank, to the Magic Lantern and Theatr Gwaun, which both delivered medical supplies and mental health support to vulnerable patrons, independent venues have gone above and beyond to help those in most need. They have done this whilst also planning for their own uncertain futures, interrogating their business plans, reviewing their approaches to access and equality and exploring environmental sustainability. These funds will help them to restart crucial social, economic and cultural provision through on-screen activity.

Annie Grundy, Co-Director of The Magic Lantern:

Getting this funding enables us to wrap a big ball of cotton wool around the British, independent and foreign language films in our programme which in the old days before the corona-coaster we underwrote ourselves. It ensures that even with a much reduced capacity (we have gone from 280 to 36 available seats due to social distancing) our audience can rock up to see an eclectic mix of fantastic films on screen at the Magic Lantern.

Sue Whitbread, CEO of Theatr Gwaun adds:  

Film Hub Wales’ support means we can move ahead with our new film strategy. Theatr Gwaun will now focus on diverse, independent films refreshing interest and developing new audiences in our community.  Funding is essential, but equally the expert advice, mentoring and enthusiasm of the Hub team has given us a tremendous boost.

Blanche Giacci lives a few streets away from Theatr Gwaun and in normal times would attend screenings at least once a week:

Theatr Gwaun is an essential part of our community, providing cinema, culture and entertainment for all age groups and interests. It is a social hub which improves the community’s well-being.

Ben Luxford, Head of UK Audiences at the BFI adds: 

This year has shown the absolute importance and need of programming beyond the mainstream, and we’re pleased to be able to support exhibitors in Wales continue to do that.

The BFI FAN Film Exhibition Fund is made possible thanks to National Lottery funding, repurposed by the British Film Institute (BFI) via its Film Audience Network (FAN). The fund offers critical relief and business continuity to exhibitors across the whole of the UK. Funds in Wales are administered by FHW via Chapter as the Film Hub Lead Organisation.

Ends
Download the Press Release

Left to right: Galeri Caernarfon, Memo Arts Centre Barry © Jon Pountney, Theatr Gwaun, The Magic Lantern © Mathieu Gasquet, WOW Women’s Film Club © Jon Pountney, Wicked Wales Tir Morfa Awards, Memo Arts Centre Barry WAM © Jon Pountney, Monmouth Savoy © David Broadbent

Read More
Yourscreen
YourScreen: Virtual Cinema Offer

‘Open your doors’ during lockdown and let your audience watch films – mostly new and unavailable on other digital platforms – on YourScreen.

By promoting YourScreen, you will be earning revenue now and well into the future.


What is it?

YourScreen
is your virtual cinema, a short-term solution to keep you going during the pandemic.  It also provides a long-term opportunity to add an extra screen to your film programme – to appeal to new audiences and to generate additional revenue without the overheads.

How does it work?
For every virtual ticket sold, YourScreen will pay you 30%.


Participation is simple:
– They will provide you with a promo code which will give you audience 25% off ticket purchases.
– You promote the films on your website / social media / e-shot.
– At the end of the season they will send you a sales report and an invitation to invoice them for 30% of all purchases made.

If you participated in YourScreen season one, your existing promo code will be valid for season two.

Contact:
Please get in touch to learn more: patrick.yourscreen@gmail.com or visit their website.

Current deal:
Season 3 will be available for you to programme between 1 Mar – 23 May 2021.

Films available:

  • Veins Of the World / Die Adern der Welt (April 13th – May 23rd)
  • An Impossible Project (March 1st – March 28th)
  • Asunder (March 1st – April 30th)
  • Cat in the Wall (March 1st – March 31st)
  • A Coach’s Daughter / Córka Trenera (March 19th – April 18th)
  • The Humorist / Yumorist (March 12th – April 25th)
  • The Drifters (March 12th – May 23rd)
  • Selfie (March 26th – May 23rd)
  • Sofia (April 23rd – May 23rd)
Read More
1
Iris Prize LGBT+ Festival Announces 2020 Winners

Short Calf Muscle, directed by Victoria Warmerdam, has been announced the winner of the Iris Prize 2020, Cardiff’s International LGBT+ Short Film Prize, supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation. This was the first time in the festival’s 14-year history that a film from the Netherlands has won. The £30,000 prize enables Victoria to make a new short film in Wales, becoming the thirteenth Iris production.  Better, directed by Michael J. Ferns, wins Best British Award.

The winners of all Awards categories were announced at a special awards ceremony on Saturday night marking the successful end to the unique virtual festival that has attracted a UK wide audience to watching film screenings and talks online for free, which included the UK premiere on opening night of Lloyd Eyre-Morgan and Neil Ely’s S.A.M.

The awards show included performances by Welsh singer Casi Wyn and pop legend Heather Small.

THE WINNERS 

IRIS PRIZE

The international winner of Iris Prize is Victoria Warmerdam for SHORT CALF MUSCLE from the Netherlands.

Philip Guttman, from the Iris Prize jury says,

Short Calf Muscle captures a universal sense of being misunderstood in an hilarious yet absurd comic tone, setting it apart in a class of its own. Piquant dialogue, accomplished storytelling and tongue in cheek acting are distilled into a potent black comedy, where Anders, a gay man, suddenly finds himself labelled to be a “gnome” by everyone around him, harkening to our own society that all too often misgenders or misidentifies others. Filmmaker Victoria Warmerdam masterfully tackles themes of prejudice and societal authoritarianism, captured through an impeccable Stepford style lens which contrasts the loss of control in a world gone mad. Ms. Warmerdam reveals herself to be a singular, exciting and rising comedy director.

The film was the chosen nomination of Iris partner festival Roze Filmdagen; Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival. Werner Borkes, the festival’s Director, said of Victoria’s win,

as a festival we are already extremely honored that we have been a nominating festival for years, but we are all the more proud that our nominee actually takes the prize home. (Eight times is a charm). It is great to see how very ‘Dutch’ the film is in tone and style, but still connects with an international audience through its original but still universal relatable story about whether or not to be different.

The shortlisted finalists also included Runner Up Victoria, as well as Boys and On My Way.

Of Victoria, jury members and previous Iris Prize winners Lara Zeidan and Sarah Smith say,

A brilliant setting for a simple and touching story perfectly contained within one scene. The shifting of perspectives deftly executed in the writing and directing gives voice to both characters’ complicated emotions. The performances, the pacing, the compositions, the colour palette, and the use of the Victoria Amazónica as metaphor, all work in harmony leading towards a beautifully poetic ending, and demonstrate a remarkable command of the craft of filmmaking.

Of Boys, Mikael Bundsen and Philip Guttman, say,

In Banim (Boys), filmmaker Lior Soroka, draws us into an aching coming of age story depicting one teen’s fight for independence and his mother’s struggle to let go, while simultaneously evoking questions about gender norms in contemporary society. With its riveting performances, the striking complexity in the character’s relationships, and for what is left unsaid, but deeply felt, Soroka has captured our hearts and our imaginations.

Of On My Way, Mikael Bundsen says, “Filmmaker Sonam Larcin crafts an intimate story potent with questions to reflect on long after the film’s running time. Complex characters navigating the conditions of a vulnerable migrant to a clandestine gay relationship teetering on the edge are masterfully brought to life by a stellar cast. It’s beautiful, accomplished and it leaves us passionate to see more”.

BEST BRITISH AWARD

The winner of Best of British short films is Scottish-born Michael J. Ferns for BETTER. The other films that made the final shortlist are Runner Up Queens, as well as The Passing and Wings.

Tim Highsted, Senior Editor, Acquired Feature Films for Film4, who chaired the jury for Best British Short, commented:

The quality and range of this year’s Best British Short film contenders has been excellent – so much so that the jury was spoiled in having to choose a winner. Michael J Fern’s short film Better was distinctive for its quietly controlled and beautifully orchestrated examination of gender as a young mother tries to cope with the bullying of her young son at school. Our other shortlisted titles, Queens, The Passing and Wings raised the bar in their unique portrayals and studies of LGBT+ lives and stories.

Additionally, cementing the first of a three-year sponsorship deal with Film4, all 15 films in Best British programmes will be available for free streaming on All 4 from 11th October.

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM AWARDS

Best Performance in a Male Role in a Feature Film, sponsored by Attitude, was awarded to Leandro Faria Lelo from DRY WIND, directed by Daniel Nolasco and distributed by TLA Releasing.

Lewis Bayley, chair of Best Feature jury made up of film students from Bournemouth Film School, says,

The award for Best Performance in a Male Role is awarded to Leandro Faria Lelo in Dry Wind, whose compelling performance of sexual desire captivates the audience and explores the intensity of yearning in the monotonous confines of an oppressive system.

He adds,

an honourable mention to Oscar Chiu’s performance in The Teacher, where his gentle and tender performance exposes the audience to the realities of life in Taiwan as a queer teacher through his vulnerability, and spark that commands attention to this quiet protagonist.

Best Performance in a Female Role in a Feature Film, sponsored by Diva, was awarded to Lena Urzendowsy for COCOON. The winner was announced pop legend Heather Small.

Of Lena’s performance, Lewis says,

The award for Best Performance in a Female role goes to Lena Urzendowsky. Lena’s honest and raw portrayal of Nora in Cocoon captures a teenager in a time of self-discovery, complicated by the dramas and vices of those closest to her. In this beautiful coming-of-age story, Lena holds the attention in each frame she appears with quiet nuance and vulnerability.

“The jury would also like to draw attention to recognise the performance of Alexandra Grey in Gossamer Folds, whose warmth and determination to live authentically serve as a beacon of hope in a film where so many characters exist in a state of such uncertainty. Although the film is based in 1986, the relevance to the world today are particularly poignant and a reminder of work yet to be done, and Alexandra’s performance is nothing short of essential.

The Best International Feature Film Award, sponsored by Bad Wolf, is won by COCOON, directed by Leonie Krippendorff and is distributed in UK by Peccadillo Pictures.

Of Cocoon, Lewis Bayley says,

The winning film is an honest and open coming of age story, addressing its lead’s sexuality with delicacy and heart that speaks directly to personal experiences. The innocence of self-discovery, in the midst of the complexities of the lives of those around us are explored with nuance and authenticity. The supporting visages are dreamlike, relatable and beautifully rendered.

YOUTH JURY

The winner of the Youth Jury Award is WINGS from UK director Jamie Weston, and the runner-up is Luca Padrini’s When In Rome (Paese Che Vai).

The four short-listed films, chosen from 35 nominees for the main Iris Prize, were Wings, My God I’m Queer, When In Rome (Paese Che Vai) and Snake, which had been specially programmed by a group of young people from Into Film and Pride Cymru and then voted for by young people from schools across Wales.

AUDIENCE AWARD

One of the additional innovations for this year is the introduction of the Co-op Audience Award, the natural next step in the strong relationship with the Iris Prize, started by Co-op Respect. This year Co-op shoppers will be encouraged to watch the 35 short films – and vote for their favourite.

Those who votes will be eligible to win a trip to attend the 2021 Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival in Cardiff, the prize will include train travel within the UK, hotel accommodation and a full VIP Pass for two people. Other prizes include luxury Co-op Hampers, just in time for Christmas! When can I vote? Voting for the Co-op Audience Award opens on Wednesday 7 October and closes on Saturday 31 October 2020.

Lord Glendonbrook said during his address:

The Iris Prize continues to be the world’s largest short film prize and I’m delighted that through The Michael Bishop Foundation we have been able to support the winners, to create new short films. These Iris Productions are wonderful opportunities for the film makers to be given the freedom to share our stories to a world that sometimes ignore us and sometimes hate us.

Andrew Pierce, Iris Prize Chair says “Against the odds, film makers, sponsors and our UK audience have come together this week to celebrate our stories through film. As David Llewellyn mentioned duringIris Live!,“We may be watching these films in separate rooms, but we’re still watching them together.”

The main festival sponsors are: The Michael Bishop Foundation, Welsh Government, the BFI awarding funds from the National Lottery, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film 4, University of South Wales, Co-op Respect, Bad Wolf, Gorilla Group, Peccadillo Pictures, Pinewood Studios, Attitude Magazine, Diva Magazine and The Ministry of Sound.

The festival also works in partnership with BAFTA Cymru, Pride Cymru and Stonewall Cymru.

Read More
Logo FB Shared Image
Dial F For Freelancer Launches Online, Making Space for Valuable Voices in Film Exhibition and Distribution

Thursday 8th October 2020: A network boasting over 250 members has unveiled their dedicated space celebrating the massive talents represented by the freelance cohort of the UK’s film exhibition and distribution sectors. Dial F for Freelancer is led by film freelancers for their peers, sharing past projects and reaching potential clients. Dial F for Freelancer is the first of its kind and the only dedicated space for freelancers working in film distribution and exhibition.

The current unfolding news regarding the future of film exhibition highlights the pressing need for this platform to exist. Whilst the film industry relies on freelancers, there are currently no formal structures to support them collectively:

“…more than half of the industry workforce are freelancers or mix freelance work with periods of employment. Freelancers are the lifeblood of our industry, yet they don’t have access to the benefits, security or workplace support of permanent employees.” – The Whole Picture Programme Report – The Film and TV Charity, 2020

The Dial F for Freelancer platform has been developed with the needs of freelancers at the forefront to celebrate the sector’s unique skills. The founding members are looking to reduce the barriers and labour to finding paid work by creating an ever-growing network of freelancers.

The grassroots-led project places the platform in the hands of the users rather than a third party. Users control their pitch and profile, choosing the projects of which they’re proudest to showcase. Members of Dial F for Freelancer are also supported with resources, contacts and opportunities to collaborate.

The origins of this concept began during discussions at This Way Up 2019 (the UK’s film exhibition industry conference), a sidebar talk for freelancers led by Toki Allison spoke about the need for an informal network to be created to provide peer to peer support and reduce the feelings of isolation which are prevalent in freelancing. In March 2020 as freelancers began to lose work due to the pandemic, Allison, along with Moira McVean and Jo Taylor-Hitchinson decided to make the network a reality.

Initially a Facebook group set up to support freelancers affected by the onset of the lockdown attracted over 250 members and the trio realised a more formal platform was needed. They were awarded a Community Grant from The Film and TV Charity and have gained further industry support which has allowed them to create the Dial F for Freelancer platform.

The Dial F for Freelancer Steering Group, comprising eight freelancers working in the sector, have worked with a developer to design and launch Dial F For Freelancer to the industry.

This project has been supported by The Film and TV Charity’s Community Grants, a fund from the Film Distributors’ Association, and with further contributions from film distributors, including Altitude Film Distribution, Bohemia Media and eOne. The new platform endeavours to celebrate the wealth of talent and expertise represented across the network, whilst also creating a warm and welcoming space for freelancers working in exhibition and distribution to build their profiles and networks in an effective and easy way. They also plan to build a collective public presence and signpost available support for members.

Jo Taylor, co-founder of Dial F for Freelancer said:

My freelance career has been powered by collaboration and with the invaluable support of my peers. Creating a network such as this has been an aspiration of mine for a long time and so it’s gratifying to be working with colleagues and supporters who feel the same. It is so exciting to see Dial F for Freelancer come to fruition giving our sector the spotlight it deserves.

Andy Leyshon, Chief Executive, Film Distributors’ Association said:

The varied nature of the films FDA members distribute are often reliant upon project-focused freelance expertise across film booking, marketing and publicity specialities. Freelancers have been hit especially hard across the film ecosystem lately and we are pleased to support this worthwhile initiative during these challenging times.

Mark Jones, Head of Publicity, Altitude Media Group said:

Freelancers have played an integral role in several of Altitude’s releases and it’s been brilliant for us to be able to collaborate with a range of dynamic individuals. We know one of the greatest challenges of freelancing is the absence of close knit ‘colleagues’ to introduce new ways of thinking, building skills and further opportunities. Dial F for Freelancer is the perfect dedicated platform to offer that expanded network to those in the industry and also give distributors such as ourselves the opportunity to discover new talent to work with us on our releases.

Timon Singh, Campaigns Manager, Film Hub South West said:

For the BFI FAN New Release scheme, freelancers have been invaluable both to venues and distributors. Venues are often short-staffed, so having someone available to help with social media marketing and promoting the film has been incredibly useful for many. For distributors, freelancers also help to give their titles a fighting chance in an increasingly populated marketplace by promoting their films in more rural venues and organising events around screenings that make them stand-out from the crowd.

Anthony & Teanne Andrews, co-founders, We Are Parable said:

The need for a platform that can bring together freelancers who work in either film exhibition and/or distribution is absolutely essential. It provides the industry with a key place to seek out a wide variety of talented people, enabling opportunities to be visible for all, as well as offering freelancers a network to keep informed of an ever changing sector.

Anna Navas, Director and Programmer, Plymouth Arts Centre said:

Here at PAC we really value the work that freelancers do and have worked with many on different projects over the years. What they bring is new energy, insights and a whole world of different experiences and ways of working. What that does is invigorate organisations in a way that should be celebrated. The work they do is invaluable to the independent exhibition sector.

Read More
Festival UK 2022 Social Graphic 1 Issued 200914 9eed5a99b701ba360780d44a67c674dc
Festival UK* 2022 announces that applications are open for a unique and pioneering, £3 million funded R&D opportunity.

Festival UK* 2022 today announces that applications are open for a unique and pioneering, £3 million funded R&D opportunity. The search is on for the greatest minds and brightest talents drawn from the worlds of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, and from across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, to form Creative Teams capable of developing major public engagement projects to showcase the UK’s creativity and innovation on a global scale.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

Today marks the start of an exciting and demanding competition to find the brightest and best innovators in the UK as we begin the countdown to Festival UK 2022.We’re looking for the finest creative minds to help show the world what is possible when England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland come together and champion all that is great about our United Kingdom. The winning applicants will receive £3 million to turn their ideas into spectacular, unforgettable realities. This investment will support jobs and create new work across these sectors in all four corners of the UK as we help our cultural and creative industries recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture said:

This is a new and exciting opportunity for innovative minds from Scotland’s renowned Arts and Technology sectors. These challenging and uncertain times have had a profound effect on the culture sector and creative industries, and so I welcome this announcement as a boost to provide opportunities for work for artists, practitioners and organisations across the culture sector and beyond. The festival is an excellent way to highlight the power of culture and creativity to transform lives, to improve health and wellbeing, to contribute to the growing economy, and to bring our diverse communities together. I look forward to seeing the projects that are developed both in Scotland and across the other UK nations as part of the festival.

Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas said: 

I’m hugely excited by another opportunity to raise Wales’ international profile as a small, creative nation, brimming with talented and friendly people, on the world stage. Coronavirus has placed massive and unprecedented challenges on the very fabric of Welsh life, equally so for our friends across the UK, and we applaud the resilience and creativity on display so far. This festival presents a golden opportunity for our burgeoning creative minds to thrive post-pandemic and once more showcase our talent to the world.

This investment comes at a time of particular need and marks the beginning of a process of development for inspirational projects that have mass appeal. As we look towards a near-future that will mark the transition into recovery, we look forward to a time when people will feel able to celebrate pride in communities and the places they call home.

Martin Green, Chief Creative Officer for Festival UK* 2022, said:

I am thrilled to be leading this project. Festival UK* 2022 will be a series of ten large-scale, thought -provoking, wonder-inducing projects. They will bring people together in unique and astounding ways and showcase our innovation and creativity across the globe. To create work that is ground-breaking and compelling we are investing in idea creation through this R&D phase. It’s a fantastic opportunity to work with colleagues from different creative fields. A chance to discover new collaborators and celebrate under-represented talents. The aim is a national celebration of all our creativity. An unprecedented demonstration of the crucial, magical role that creativity can play to make life better.

At the end of the application process up to 30 teams, each receiving up to £100,000, will be selected to participate in the R&D programme to originate compelling, ambitious and extraordinary ideas for projects that have the potential to reach millions of people. Ideas are not a requirement of application process but Creative Teams must be able to demonstrate they have the skills and collaborators needed to meet a set of criteria against which they will be assessed.

£120million of new investment has been allocated to the festival by the UK Government (including £22.8m to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland devolved administrations), which will ultimately allow for the commissioning of up to 10 major projects in the final public programme for 2022. The festival will create opportunities for jobs within sectors significantly impacted by COVID-19.

Four of the ten commissions will each be led by England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, who will directly appoint up to two Creative Teams drawn from within their nations to take part in the R&D process.

Six commissions will be driven by Creative Teams from across the UK and beyond.

All ten commissions will be global in reach. Creative Teams will demonstrate the vital and inspirational role that creativity can play in our changing world; how unforgettable experiences can make life better.

Festival UK* 2022 will present the outcomes of the R&D work, a nationwide expression of innovative possibilities, as a public resource designed to inspire the next generation of UK creatives.

The ten commissions will be launched under a new festival name at the end of 2021 and take place throughout 2022.

R&D Timeline

9 September Registration & Applications Open
16 October 3pm Deadline for submissions
16 November – 31 January R&D Programme
1 – 26 February R&D Presentations and Shortlisting

Full details of the R&D Opportunity, Application Process and Guidelines can be found here.

Read More
^
EN