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A Beautiful Form To See 01
Iris Productions – Available for Free Online!

Organisers of Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival have today (9 April 2020) confirmed they are making three short films from the Iris archive available for free on their YouTube channel. The films are all directed by women who have made short films with the £30,000 Iris Prize, sponsored by the Michael Bishop Foundation.

The focus on successful Iris Prize female filmmakers is presented in anticipation of the world premiere of Lara Zeidan’s A Beautiful Form to See, starring Alicia Agneson (Vikings). The eleventh Iris Production will screen as part of the 2020 Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival in Cardiff on opening night – Tuesday 6 October. Director Lara Zeidan, from Lebanon, will be in Cardiff to introduce her film which is described as a hypnotising celebration of the female gaze.

The focus goes live today (Thursday 9 April 2020) on the Iris Prize YouTube Channel with Dee Rees’ Colonial Gods. In May we’ll be sharing Daisy & D by Arkasha Stevenson, and in June Susan Jacobson’s Wild Geese will be available.

In September we will also be sharing a short film on the making of A Beautiful Form to See, which includes interviews with both Lara Zeidan and Alicia Agneson, in anticipation of the big screen premiere in Cardiff this October.

Berwyn Rowlands, Festival Director, commented:

One of the primary reasons for Iris to exist is to get more people to see LGBT+ stories. I hope that this focus will combine our enthusiasm for October’s film festival in Cardiff with the reality of today, when people have more time on their hands to access content during this period of physical distancing and lockdown.

The mix of films is truly astounding. We have always been proud of the fact that the Iris Prize is a very rare opportunity for filmmakers to do whatever they would like to do. These are the stories they want to bring to the screen, without any interference from a funder or financier.

As we progress during the focus, leading up to the festival in October, we will also have a chance to discuss and contextualise the work by sharing memories of producing these films in Cardiff and the surrounding area.

Colonial Gods, Director / Writer: Dee Rees

The focus starts, appropriately, at the beginning with Dee Rees. It was no surprise for those who remember her award-winning short, Pariah, which won the first Iris Prize in 2007, that Dee Rees was nominated for an Oscar ten years later. Following a meeting with Team Iris at Sundance 2008, Dee returned to Cardiff in October to sit on the Iris Prize International Jury, a tradition that continues to this day, with the winner of the previous Iris Prize taking a seat at the judging table. During her stay in Cardiff, Dee was able to reach out to members of the multicultural community of Cardiff Bay and her story started taking shape. The first Iris Production, Colonial Gods, premiered at the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival in 2009 and the following year it screened in LA at OUTFEST Fusion and London’s BFI Flare. 

Colonial Gods can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/9rHXE9hAg-c

Colonial Gods is also available to buy on Boys on Film 9 – Youth in Trouble, from Peccadillo Pictures. You can purchase your copy here: peccapics.com/product/boyson-film-9-youth-in-trouble/

Other highlights in the focus include the online premiere in May of Daisy & D, written, directed and edited by Iris Prize winner Arkasha Stevenson. Daisy & D is close to the reality of a night Arkasha witnessed during a photo-journalism assignment.  The film explores the complicated love that can exist between two people in the most ugly of circumstances.  It’s dark and ugly to watch, if it wasn’t there would be something wrong.

The final online premiere in June will be Wild Geese, directed by Susan Jacobson and written by Katie Campbell and Kayleigh Llewellyn. Full of comedy and human vulnerability, this is a story of recovery and the redemptive nature of love. When Amy catches her husband in the act, she falls down a flight of stairs and wakes up with amnesia – believing she is 16 and that the year is 1999.

The main festival sponsors are: The Michael Bishop Foundation, Welsh Government, the BFI awarding funds from the National Lottery, Film4, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Pinewood Studios Group, Cardiff University, BBC Cymru Wales, For Cardiff, Bad Wolf, Gorilla Group, Co-op Respect, University of South Wales, Ministry of Sound and Cineworld.

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

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Support Fellow Members across Wales

Exhibitors are running crowd-funders to raise income and offering voucher schemes and other ways that you can make a donation to support them:

 

Bedwas Workmens Hall

Bedwas Workmen’s Hall
A volunteer-run entertainment venue in the heart of Bedwas. Bedwas Workmen’s Hall was built in 1923 thanks to local miners who together raised the money by donating a penny a week.


 

Cardiff Animation Festival
A Community Interest Company, which aims to benefit communities in South Wales and make Cardiff a better place. The team have been running animation events in Wales since 2014, including Cardiff Animation Nights.


 

Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff
For over 40 years Chapter has been the heartbeat of creativity in Cardiff. We’re an ambitious, multi-artform venue that presents, produces and promotes international art, live performance and film alongside a dynamic social space.


 

Cinema & Co, Swansea
A a unique indie film house and gallery space based in Swansea and all about watching great films in good company. In their little high street space they have their very own 56 seater Cinema, a love for all things film, a unique gallery space, and a bar.


 

Holyhead Empire CinemaHolyhead Empire Cinema
Holyhead Town Council took over the Empire Cinema in June 2013. They are committed to offering maximum accessibility and strive to provide facilities that meet the requirements of all their customers.


 

Iris Prize Festival
Celebrating LGBT+ film in Cardiff, Wales, UK all year round, including a six-day international queer film festival every October. The Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival awards the largest short film prize in the world.


 

Memo Arts Centre Barry

Memo Arts Centre, Barry
The Memo is at the hub of the Barry and Vale of Glamorgan community, playing a major role as a primary Cinema, performance and entertainment venue for the town and county.


 

Pontio

Pontio, Bangor
Split over six levels, Pontio is Bangor University’s new arts and innovation centre that opened in 2015 – this new building is part of the regeneration of Bangor’s city centre.


 

Ben Rive, Snowcat CinemaSnowcat Cinema, Penarth
An independent pop-up cinema based in South Wales with a permanent residency at Penarth Pier Pavilion. They screen a broad range of films from mainstream blockbusters to cult, lesser known, and lost movies.


 

Magic Lantern Cinema

The Magic Lantern, Tywyn 
A one-screen independent cinema in rural Wales which is open to the public 363 days a year. The nearest other cinema to them is over 30 miles away, so for many people they are the only access to seeing films on the big screen.


 

The Savoy Theatre, Monmouth
The Savoy stands on the oldest known theatre site in Wales and is also one of the oldest working theatres in Wales. Their programme is a mixture of feature films, live entertainment and special cinema events.


 

Torch Theatre © Drew Buckley

The Torch, Milford Haven
The Torch Theatre is a modern and vibrant centre for the arts which prides itself on extending a warm Pembrokeshire welcome to all visitors.


 

Theatr Gwaun

Theatr Gwaun, Pembrokeshire
Theatr Gwaun is a community theatre and cinema in Fishguard. They serve a rural, isolated area and their policy is to screen a broad range of specialised & mainstream films to cater for all sections of the community.


 

Theatr Colwyn, Colwyn Bay
Theatr Colwyn is an historical theatre and cinema utilising the latest in technology to offer patrons a 21st Century entertainment experience with a traditional, friendly flavour. It is one of the UK’s oldest working cinemas and working theatres in Wales.

Please share, or donate what you can spare.

If you have a similar scheme that you would like us to promote, please email or tag us on social media (@filmhubwales).

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New Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund set up
The BFI and The Film and TV Charity have partnered to create the new fund, established with a £1m donation from Netflix, to help support the creative community, which has been devastated by the pandemic.

The BFI and The Film and TV Charity have partnered to create a new industry-backed Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund to help support the creative community, which like many industries, has been devastated by the pandemic.

Established with a £1m donation from Netflix, the new Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund will be administered by The Film and TV Charity with support from the BFI, and will provide emergency short-term relief to the many thousands of active workers and freelancers who have been directly affected by the closure of productions across the UK.

Alex Pumfrey, CEO of The Film and TV Charity, said:

The film and TV industry is now facing a huge threat. Many freelancers have seen their livelihoods disappear overnight. We’re entering a period of unprecedented isolation and worry for a workforce that we know from our research already suffers from poor mental health.

“Which is why I’m incredibly pleased that Netflix and the BFI are working with us to kick-start this new Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund to support workers across the UK’s film and TV industry.

Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive, said:

Freelance professionals are the backbone of our film and television industries, and we hope that everyone will work together to support those who have been hardest hit at this extraordinary time of need. Netflix’s early commitment to this fund is hugely welcomed and we are asking other commercial industry partners to contribute, if they are able, and play their part in helping those most in need get through this crisis.

Anne Mensah, Vice President, Original Series at Netflix, said:

We’re proud to be working with the BFI and The Film and TV Charity to support the hardest hit workers in TV and film production. From electricians to carpenters, hair and makeup artists to drivers – and many more, UK crews have always been vital to Netflix’s success and now we want to help those freelancers who most need support in these unprecedented times.

The Film and TV Charity has supported people working behind the scenes in the film and TV industry for almost 100 years. Founded in the early days of cinema in 1924 with the generosity of entrepreneurs who understood the value of a well-supported workforce in an industry driven by people, the charity has huge experience in distributing hardship funds to those in need.

The Film and TV Charity is currently working on the precise eligibility criteria and level of individual funding but the fund will be open to those working in production, distribution and exhibition. To be the first to hear when the fund launches, applicants should register for the charity’s mailing lists.

Those in immediate and urgent need should apply for support via The Film and TV Charity’s existing hardship fund, offering grants of up to £500 to provide stop-gap support. This hardship fund will sit alongside the new Film and TV Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund. Click here for details on eligibility and how to apply.

The Film and TV Charity and BFI also recognise the significant mental health pressures arising as a result of Covid-19 and, in line with the charity’s existing Whole Picture Programme for better mental health, are developing new advice specifically tailored for our industry on how to stay mentally well at home and creating a new supportive community forum for freelancers. The Film and TV Charity already provides 24/7 mental health support to the industry, including counselling and legal advice, via the Film and TV Support Line on 0800 054 00 00.

The BFI is leading an industry wide Screen Sector Task Force that is looking at the wide-ranging impacts of Covid-19 on the whole industry and its workforce, as well as working closely with Government to ensure that all of the ramifications and impacts are considered. The BFI has up-to-date industry advice for freelancers and other areas of the sector.

Netflix’s donation is part of a broader announcement last week to set up a $100m fund for creatives whose jobs have been affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Most of the funds will go towards support for the hardest hit workers on Netflix’s own productions around the world and is in addition to the two weeks’ pay they already committed to the crew and cast on productions that have been suspended. Netflix’s donation to the Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund and to other organisations around the world is to provide emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast across the broader film and television industry in the countries where the entertainment company has a large production base.

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25 new animated shorts created in 48 hours as part of Cardiff QuickDraw animation jam!
Watch the films this Thursday 7pm at the QuickDraw live watch party!

A record 75 teams entered this year’s Cardiff QuickDraw animation jam competition, which took place last weekend, with teams working around the clock to create short animated films on the theme “Green”. 25 new animated short films were created over the course of the 48 hour competition. Audiences and filmmakers from around the world will come together this Thursday at 7pm for an online watch party to see the new films.

Organised by animator Tim Hawkins and Cardiff Animation Festival, the QuickDraw animation jam is part of a programme of online Cardiff Animation Festival activity. Despite having to postpone the festival, scheduled for 2-5 April 2020, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Cardiff Animation Festival team and their partners have been working hard behind the scenes to bring people together remotely through animation. As well as curating online shorts programmes, resources and activities for adults, families and filmmakers to get involved in at home, the team are working to organise online events such as industry talks and watch parties.

Cardiff Animation Festival Director Lauren Orme said:

I’m so pleased we were able to run the QuickDraw animation jam, and the response has been so amazing. During social distancing I think it’s so important to find ways to bring people together, and QuickDraw did that. Tim Hawkins who organised the competition did an amazing job. The quality of the work created is astonishing, but more importantly I think QuickDraw gave the teams a platform to spend the weekend remotely working together with like-minded people on something positive.

Tim Hawkins, who organised QuickDraw, said:

The response to the competition has really blown me away. Seeing teams coming together from all over the world, at a time when we’re all physically isolated, was pretty incredible. I can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend in quarantine!

As well as animators, composers and sound designers got involved to help create soundtracks for the brand new films. Those taking part in the competition kept in touch throughout the weekend using the platform Slack to help encourage each other and share their progress. One participant turned their room into a stop motion set, using sugar and cling film to make an ocean scene, while another team created foley sound from utensils they had in their kitchen. Even those that didn’t complete a film had some brand new animation to show for their efforts.

The winning film will be chosen by the Cardiff Animation Festival jury which includes Daisy Gould, Head of Marketing at Cardiff’s Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival as well as a trained animator, Yvonne Connike, a programmer, curator and founder of Cinema Golau and the Black Film Festival Wales, and Beth Hughes, an animator and director, currently working as Series Director of children’s television show Luo Bao Bei at Cloth Cat Animation.

There will be a watch party at 7pm on Thursday 26th of March via YouTube. Everyone is welcome to join as we stream the films live and celebrate what each team has created. Follow @cardiffdraw on Twitter for updates and where you can watch all the films.

Cardiff Animation Festival 2020 is funded by Arts Council Wales, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film Hub Wales as part of the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN), BFI NETWORK Wales, and Ymddiried through the Owen Edwards Scholarship Fund, and sponsored by Cloth Cat Animation, Picl Animation, Creative Europe Desk UK – Wales, the University of South Wales, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Jammy Custard Animation, the British Animation Awards, S4C and by the ScreenSkills Animation Skills Fund with contributions from UK animation productions.

More online Cardiff Animation Festival events will be announced soon. To keep up to date, and hear how to join this Thursday’s QuickDraw watch party, follow Cardiff Animation Festival on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and sign up to our mailing list for more updates and announcements as they are released.

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A Message to our Members on Covid-19

This page will continue to be updated with information and relevant links.

To all our colleagues and friends across the Film Hub Wales membership. We hope you’re well and keeping safe and healthy.

We want to share the following information, which you might need during coming weeks/months:

Hub Updates:

  • Our office
    In line with current medical advice, Chapter has had to make the difficult decision to temporarily close. During this time, calls will be diverted to us during office hours, so please call as normal.
  • Hub events
    The rural cinema event on the 28th March was postponed. We will be in touch in relation to any further planned events.
  • 20/21 funds
    We launched the repurposed BFI FAN Resilience fund. Recipients of grants can be found here. The Film Exhibition Fund is currently open with a deadline of September 30th.
  • Existing 19/20 funded projects
    If you have concerns about a current award with us for an ongoing project, please get in touch.
  • Talking to each other
    Members can access the closed Hub Facebook group and Slack group. You will need to fill in an updated membership form (if you haven’t already) in order to access this. If you can’t locate your Slack invitation, just let us know.
  • Reopening
    If you did not fill in our reopening survey, please do let us know when you have a date in mind to reopen. This will help with nationwide return to cinema campaigns.

Government Guidance and Funds:

  • Welsh Government announce cultural recovery fund of £53 million. Check your eligibility to apply here. Applications open from mid September,
  • Welsh Government guidance for the re-opening of cinemas and guidance for multi-purpose community spaces here,
  • Cultural and heritage organisations to be protected with £1.57 billion support package,
  • Welsh Government test, trace, protect guidance,
  • Welsh Government – A traffic light roadmap setting out how Wales could exit the coronavirus lockdown (May 2020) here,
  • Measures for freelancers and the self-employed here,
  • 2020 budget information here,
  • Advice for employers here,
  • Welsh Government have announced a support package for small businesses, which you can read about here with update on 1.1 billion funding available announced here.
  • Monday November 9th, the Welsh Government have announced the Lockdown Business Fund
  • The Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee has written a report on the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the arts sector can be found here. (June 2020)
  • Wednesday January 13th, applications for the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) – Sector Specific Grant are now open.

BFI:

Partner Funds and Advice:

  • Arts Council for Wales: The cultural recovery fund is open for applications until September 9th 2020.
    Information for those working as artists, freelancers and in publicly funded cultural organisations here.
  • Find all sorts of articles from BFI FAN Members and Hubs on The Bigger Picture,
  • Independent Cinema Office: Drive-in cinemas in post-lockdown UK (May 2020) here,
  • Film Hub NI: Drive-In Cinema – the answer to getting our film fix soon? (May 2020) here,
  • Film and TV Charity
    If you have individuals working with you who are suffering financial loss, or just need someone to talk to, there is a very helpful service from the Film and TV Charity.
  • Cinema For All 
    Covid-19 advice for Community Cinemas can be read here. Results of their volunteer-led cinema focus groups can be read here (June 2020).
  • UKCA
    The UKCA published safeguarding guidelines for the reopening of cinemas and safeguarding guidelines for the re-opening of drive-in cinemas (June, 2020) you can also check for regular updates and UKCA members can access HR advice.
  • Screen Skills 
    Updates and online learning here.
  • CICAE
    Useful advice for cinema operators here.

We will update you as soon as we have any new information and we are on hand to help if we can do anything to support you. Our utmost concern is that you are all well and that we can work together to keep cinemas, festivals and events running in the long term.

The Film Hub Wales team

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Message about Coronavirus to industry from BFI Chief Executive Ben Roberts
COVID-19 presents us with an unprecedented challenge to our business. We are keenly aware that the wide ranging and damaging impact of the virus is being felt across the entire industry and at every possible level.

As the lead organisation for film, we will support our many industry colleagues during this fast moving and rapidly evolving situation, and we are in discussion with key partners, stakeholders and Government to urgently assess the scale of the short and longer term impact on business.

We are focused on ensuring the resilience of the industry and on tackling the huge range of short to mid-term financial, cultural and societal challenges – not least to the exhibition and freelance sectors who are likely to be hit hardest most immediately by the crisis.

The BFI is in constant communication with colleagues in Government and with other funders across the sector, to ensure we all fully understand the ramifications of the most critical issues, and help shape measures to address them.

We have an already established Screen Sector Taskforce which will be convening to coordinate our conversation with Government and discuss the potential mitigations. We also urge practitioners across the industry and cultural sector to contact us with their key concerns and have set up an email address as a centralised point for all enquires covid-19.queries@bfi.org.uk to feed into our impact response recommendations.

As a funder, we will be as supportive and flexible as possible across existing funding arrangements, including the ability of those organisations and projects to meet contractual requirements.

As a production financier, we are obviously supporting our filmmakers with advice on a case by case basis. They are all different projects, each case is different and complex with completely different variables, so there isn’t one size fits all guidance, and we are advising them through these very particular challenges as best we can.

The BFI is working hard to support everyone across the sector during this extremely challenging time and we will update you with more news and information when we can.

Ben Roberts, Chief Executive, BFI

 

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Picturing Our Past: Celebrating Wales’s film heritage – six special screenings and a brand new app!
Picturing Our Past: Celebrating Wales’s film heritage – six special screenings and a brand new app!

“That fertile legacy from the past century” was how Dave Berry, Wales’s much-missed film historian referred to Welsh screen culture. It is now being honoured in a completely new way – with a series of film screenings throughout Wales to promote the publication of an innovative free-to-download app, Picturing Our Past/Fframio’n Gorffennol, which will tell the story of Welsh film and television by combining text and film inserts in one free product.

The screenings, organised by the National Library of Wales Screen and Sound Archive with the support of Film Hub Wales as part of the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN), will pair a film from the past with a more recent production. On 27 February, at the Phoenix Cinema, Ton Pentre, the 1937 documentary Today We Live (1937), with its famous shots of miners scrabbling on a coal tip, will be shown with the heart-warming, award-winning documentary Dark Horse (2015), about the celebrated racehorse bought and trained by a Cefn Fforest syndicate. Then on 5 March at Yr Egin, Carmarthen, composer John Rea’s powerful new film Atgyfodi will be paired with Tryweryn – the Story of a Valley (1965) – made by the pupils of Friars School, Bangor.

On 23 March the Coliseum Cinema, Brecon will be screening Coming Up Roses/Rhosyn a Rhith (1987), a gentle comedy that is a joyous celebration of cinema itself, portraying the plight of the much-loved Rex in Aberdare, together with Cinema Memories, a short film recording the reminiscences of Cwm Afan residents of movie-going and working in the cinema. The star of the main film, Dafydd Hywel, will join the audience for a Q+A at the end of this showing, and also at the later screening in Theatr Twm o’r Nant, Denbigh on 3 April, where it will be paired with the award-winning documentary short Dial-a-Ride. The tour will conclude on 29 May with the new bitter-sweet Welsh comedy Denmark at Sinema Sadwrn, Llansadwrn.

The app Picturing Our Past/Fframio’n Gorffennol, supported by the Books Council of Wales, brings Dave Berry’s pioneering book Wales and Cinema up-to-date and digital technology enables its authors, Colin Thomas and Iola Baines, to include extracts from key films from Wales’s cinematic past.

Iola Baines, Moving Image Curator at The National Library of Wales Screen and Sound Archive explains:

Our aim in launching this app is to introduce new audiences and enthusiasts to Wales’s rich film and cinema heritage – and we are proud to include living, breathing examples to illustrate this history, in the form of moving image extracts from each era. We hope that this enhanced e-book will inspire people to delve deeper into this fascinating history, unearthing the people and stories behind the films they discover – and perhaps being moved to add to the history by creating and filming their own stories!

Colin Thomas, a TV producer/director of who made the Welsh history series The Dragon Has Two Tongues and is three times winner of BAFTA Cymru’s Best Documentary and a Prix Europa, adds

It’s exciting to be able to honour the Welsh filmmaking tradition to which I have tried to make a contribution, and to enable a new generation to discover how rich that tradition is.

Pedr ap Llwyd, Chief Executive and Librarian of The National Library of Wales, said:

This new e-book is an exciting and innovative way of presenting the National Library’s rich audiovisual collection, offering users a fresh and contemporary pathway to engage with this inspiring heritage. Furthermore, the film tour promoting the e-book is an excellent way to take our collection of films ‘on the road’, reaching out to audiences in the four corners of Wales who may never before have experienced heritage film on the big screen, or made the connection between ‘the new and the old’ in terms of Welsh cinema.

Hana Lewis, Film Hub Wales’s Strategic Manager adds:

Picturing our Past fuses new screen technologies with Welsh heritage, taking an innovative approach to audience development for films with Welsh connections. This is a fantastic new resource and we’re delighted to support The National Library of Wales Screen and Sound Archive as they bring these important stories to cinemas across Wales.

The app will be officially launched in May with a special event in Cardiff.

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Wales One World Film Festival returns for 2020
Wales One World Film Festival returns for 2020

WOW Wales One World Film Festival returns to venues across Wales from March 7th. This will be WOW Film Festival’s 19th journey of discovery through the riches of world cinema, bringing an eclectic, inspiring and eye-opening view of our world to film fans around Wales.

As ever WOW brings to Wales the very best films that have won major awards at festivals worldwide, such as Bacurau (Jury Prize, Cannes Film Festival), The Cave (nominated for Best Documentary Oscar), Retablo (nominated for Outstanding British Debut at BAFTA), The Painted Bird (UNICEF Award at Venice Film Festival), Talking About Trees (Panorama Audience Award for Best Documentary at Berlin International Film Festival), Running to the Sky (FIPRESCI Prize at Busan International Film Festival), Balloon (Best Screenplay at Chicago International Film Festival) and Sister (New Director Award at San Sebastian Film Festival).

Ranging from the fun and accessible Abercon through to enlightening documentaries, powerful dramas and beautiful scenery, it’s as ever a pleasure to bring some of the best in world cinema to audiences across Wales. We’re especially pleased to be bringing the festival to Newport and Bangor for the first time,” said David Gillam, WOW Film Festival director.

The festival opens on March 7th, International Women’s Day, with a screening of Made in Bangladesh, Rubaiyat Hossain’s fictionalised account of a female sweatshop seamstress’ battle to improve conditions for herself and her colleagues. The film is presented by the festival’s regular Women’s Film Club, which includes a free creche and craft activities for children, as well as food after the screening. This also marks the first time that the main WOW programme visits The Riverfront. WOW will also travel for the first time to Pontio, Bangor.

WOW Film Festival continues to showcase the work of female filmmakers from around the world, with this year’s programme including the début film from Manele Labibi Arab Blues, starring acclaimed actress Golshifteh Farahani (About Elly, Paterson). Elsewhere in the programme Svetla Tsotsorkova’s latest film Sister offers a tense and emotionally-driven drama centred on a single mother and her two daughters. Critically-acclaimed German film System Crasher, featuring a phenomenal central performance by Helena Zengel as 9-year old Benni, a traumatised and difficult girl trapped in the foster system, screens at Aberystwyth, Bangor and Oswestry ahead of its nationwide release at the end of the month.

Some thematic links between films in this year’s programme include a series of films from the Silk Road, such as Running to the Sky, from Kyrgyzstan and by the same director as Heavenly Nomadic; and The Cave, a powerful and urgent documentary about the Syrian war through the experiences of a doctor in Ghouta. A strand of films which explores father-son relationships is also featured at the festival, including Pema Tseden’s Balloon, which sees a close-knit rural Tibetan family facing embarrassment and ethical dilemmas when a condom is found amongst the family’s belongings.

WOW Film Festival 2020 will see the return of AberCon – for a second year, this comic-con style anime event is being hosted by the festival at Aberystwyth Arts Centre (Sat, March 21st). This ground-breaking initiative is a partnership with Mencap Ceredigion, a grass-roots group who support people with learning disabilities, autism and brain injury. Animation is a brilliant way for autistic adults and children to improve communication skills, and over the course of the winter WOW Film Festival has been working with a group of Mencap Ceredigion members to create their own animations. AberCon will showcase their work alongside relaxed, accessible screenings of stunning animated films, including the Studio Ghibli classic, Pom Poko.

We’re immensely proud of this year’s programme and that we’re continuing our partnership with Mencap Ceredigion on AberCon,” said Rhowan Alleyne, WOW Programmer and co-ordinator of AberCon. “By bringing this type of event to a rural location we’re able to showcase films to an appreciative audience and help the local community put on a fun and inclusive event.”

Bringing films from Kyrgyzstan, France, Japan, Tibet, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Hungary, Syria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Colombia, Brazil, and others, WOW Film Festival opens at The Riverfront, Newport on March 7th, and travels to Aberystwyth Arts Centre; Pontio, Bangor; Mwldan, Cardigan; The Riverfront, Newport; Kinokulture, Oswestry and Taliesin, Swansea.

See www.wowfilmfestival.com for details of the full programme.

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Make your independent cinema a destination for Student Art Pass members with tickets for £5 or less!

To raise the profile of the existing youth ticketing schemes at FAN member venues we’ve developed a new partnership with the Art Fund’s Student Art Pass which aims to give independent cinemas in the UK some additional profile.

COLLABORATIVE OPPORTUNITY

If you have a ticket offer of £5 or less for 16-25 year olds (or if your general ticket offer is £5 or less) they’d like to profile your cinema and offer to their student membership. The partnership will run for a year from the 25th February and will continue if successful. All we need to add your cinema to their offer is details about your venue, your ticket prices and a lovely image! Venues will be added on a rolling basis over the year but the more we have on board by the 25th February the better.

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Mr Jones At Chapter Feb 2020 © Rosie Johns
Film Hub Wales to champion Welsh Film through new Made in Wales projects

Film Hub Wales (FHW), led by Chapter as part of the BFI Film Audience Network, has announced two pioneering new projects that will champion Welsh storytelling across Wales, the UK and internationally.

Supported by Creative Wales and developed in consultation with Welsh screen organisations, an exciting new role will be created for a Made in Wales Officer. Building on the work of FHW to date, the post holder will explore ways of bringing Welsh film to public audiences, ensuring that regional stories, talent and locations are at the forefront. Details of the post can be found on Film Hub Wales’ website.

Also underway, is a piece of research into the potential of Made in Wales as a recognisable brand. Funded by Clwstwr, the project will explore the possible cultural and economic impact of a national brand for films with Welsh connections.

Read the full press release here

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Film4 boards Iris Prize Best British Short as sponsor & submissions open for 2020

Submissions are now open for the 2020 Iris Prize Festival, with a total prize fund of £50,000 at the Cardiff based festival

Organisers of Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival have today (28 January 2020) announced details of a new three-year sponsorship agreement with British producer/broadcaster Film4. The agreement will see Film4 acquire broadcast and streaming rights to each of the 15 British LGBT+ short films shortlisted for the newly rebranded ‘Iris Prize Best British Short Supported by Film4’.

See the tabs below to find out more about the Iris Prize and how to submit your film.

Andrew Pierce, Iris Prize Chair, commented:

“This is a pivotal moment in the development of the Iris Prize. This relationship with Film4 will allow Iris to achieve our main aim which is to increase audiences for LGBT+ stories. As the premier film channel in the UK, with a strong track record for supporting diverse British film making, this is the perfect partner for Iris. We are so excited!”

Tim Highsted, Senior Editor, Acquired Feature Films for Film4, commented:

“The Iris Prize, with its focus on diversity, inclusion and new voices, and its setting in Cardiff, is a perfect fit for Film4. Short form content is a critical proving ground for rising talent, but with new platforms allowing for a wider range of voices to be heard, it’s also increasingly a draw for viewers. We can’t wait to see this year’s shortlisted films and look forward to giving those filmmakers a chance to reach a nationwide audience through Film4 on All 4.”

Berwyn Rowlands, Founder Iris Prize, commented:

“This is always an exciting period for us at Iris HQ as we open submissions and wonder which filmmakers will take home this year’s prize fund of £50,000 to invest in new LGBT+ film talent. Thanks to the generous support of The Michael Bishop Foundation, the Iris Prize continues to be the largest and only LGBT+ short film prize in the world which allows the winner to make a new film.”

“Thanks also to Pinewood Studios Group we are able to support our British film makers directly with a prize valued at £20,000 for sound post production on their next short film project.”

“And now in 2020 we are also able to help British filmmakers reach a huge audience thanks to our new sponsorship agreement with Film4.”

“Iris is more than just a trophy that gathers dust or a certificate that yellows on the wall. Iris is what filmmakers need – funding, support, guidance and a new audience for their work.”

Russell T Davies, presenting the 2019 Iris Prize commented:

“I think the world is becoming a much more scary place. It’s becoming the sort of world where we have to fight for our rights. I thought all that was over 10 years ago. It turns out there was just a little lull, and now we need to defend ourselves and speak for our rights more than ever. What better place to do that than at a film festival where we all come together – different types of people, different types of ‘otherness’ and queerness, sexualities and identities. All together in one place, raising our voices. It’s brilliant.”

The main festival sponsors are: The Michael Bishop Foundation, Welsh Government, the BFI awarding funds from the National Lottery, Film4, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Pinewood Studios Group, Cardiff University, BBC Cymru Wales, For Cardiff, Bad Wolf, Gorilla Group, Co-op Respect, University of South Wales, Ministry of Sound and Cineworld.

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

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At Abertoir Corp’s 2019 edition of the festival, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Alien and their sci-fi theme, Abertoir attempted something literally out of this world…Abertoir, IN SPACE!

Teaming up with one of the writers of Alien, Ron Shusett, they recorded a very special introduction to the screening of the iconic film.

Before the festival, Ron’s video was loaded onto a computer attached to a special balloon capable of travelling to the edges of space. There, a mounted camera recorded Ron’s introduction playing back against the backdrop of our planet. The resulting footage was screened before the 40th anniversary screening of Alien on the closing day of the festival.

As a special thanks, Abertoir included Film Hub Wales, BFI Fan, the Institute of Physics, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Ffilm Cymru in the launch!

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