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Leyla Pope
Women’s History Month: Leyla Pope

Biography

After six years working in communications for the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, Iranian-born Leyla Pope returned to the UK and completed an MA in Scriptwriting at the University of Wales. 

Her graduation short “Bubbles” won the Ffresh Film Festival award for Best Post-Graduate Fiction Film. Following this she was selected to direct an It’s My Shout short film, “Love Struck” based on a poem from the Mabinogion. The film was screened at festivals worldwide and she was named “One to Watch” by Moviescope Magazine. 

After taking maternity leave for the birth of her second child, Leyla co-directed a short film shot entirely in a lift starring Anita Dobson. Leyla’s first feature script “One Last Holiday” was selected for SKY Drama’s Table Read scheme for BAME scripts with additional funding from BFI.Network. In 2020 Her short film “Out of Breath” about two Iranian siblings growing up in Newport was awarded a Ffilm Cymru Beacons development grant.

When was the first time you realised you wanted to make films?

I was 18 years old and it was the day before my birthday. I had just resigned from a job I really didn’t enjoy. I went and watched 3 Colours Red by Krystof Kiewlowski alone in the cinema. Although the film is set in Geneva, something in it really made me miss my grandfather in Iran who I had not seen in a while. I also felt that the film had accessed my inner thoughts and I felt so much lighter after watching it. I was comforted by knowing that others struggle with the same issues as I do. I think the ability of cinema to access deep buried emotions, to make you feel safe enough to go to places we usually run from, is really what motivates me to make films.

What was the last project you worked on / made?

I directed a trailer for a short film called “The Pit” with a Ffilm Cymru Beacons Development Fund about a Syrian refugee going on a trip down to a mining museum. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to 2nd unit direct on “Dream Horse” with Euros Lyn.

What are you up to now? 

I’ve another short film with Ffilm Cymru Beacons “Out of Breath”, and I have been on BBC Writers Room Wales “Welsh Voices” scheme for 2019-2020 with my co-writer Emily Burnett. Emily and I are developing a series together and I have a couple of feature projects that I have been working on.

Useful links:

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Joanna Quinn
Women’s History Month: Joanna Quinn

Biography

Joanna Quinn is one of Britain’s most distinctive animators. Her first film, Girls Night Out (1987), featuring working-class heroine Beryl, was a humorous riposte to machismo and a celebration of uninhibited female sexuality that won three major awards at Annecy. Since introducing audiences to Beryl, Joanna and her writing and producing partner, Les Mills, have created three more personal films about her: Body Beautiful, Dreams and Desires: Family Ties, and Beryl’s newest adventure, Affairs of the Art. The politics of gender and oppression, along with Joanna’s obsessive fascination and delight with exploring the eccentricities of the female body, remain the central themes of their work together. Her films—including Britannia, a savage indictment of British imperialism—have won just about every major international award, including BAFTAs and Emmys, in addition to receiving two Oscar® nominations.

When was the first time you realised you wanted to make films?

I first I realised I wanted to make films was in my first year at college. I was on a Graphic design course at Middlesex university back in the late 1980’s. We all had to do an animation project. I chose to draw a dog walking because our teacher said avoid legs at all costs, so I chose an animal with four of them (I’ve always been a bit stubborn!) When I filmed my drawings for the first time and watched the legs actually walking I felt like GOD! I still remember the overwhelming joy of making my drawings come to life and I knew right then that this is what I wanted to do for ever – make animated films.

What was the last project you worked on / made?

We have just finished a 16 minute animated film called Affairs of the Art. It took years to make and stars Beryl who actually first appeared in my graduation film Girls Night Out. This is the 4th Beryl film and this time she becomes an artist. It was released in January and is now on the festival circuit – sadly online until the pandemic subsides.

What are you up to now? What is the next project you’re working on?

I am still recovering from finishing the last film but have started to get itchy fingers about making a new film but this time something very short and quick to make! Presently I’m doing a lot of online presentations and teaching which I love!

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Carys Lewis
Women’s History Month: Carys Lewis

Biography

Carys is a Welsh-Canadian writer and director who most recently worked with Welsh National Opera as their Filmmaker in Residence where she created a trilogy of films: GRAM GIRL, ALT, and FLUORESCENCE (LFF 2019). She is currently developing her directorial debut, BLUE MOTHER, with the support of Ffilm Cymru Wales and co-writing the feature film, HOW BLACK MOTHERS SAY I LOVE YOU, with playwright Trey Anthony. The team are also adapting the story for TV under the title; HOW WE SAY ‘I LOVE YOU’, in development with the CBC. She wrote and directed a BFI funded comedy, STUFFED, which was nominated for a Welsh BAFTA in 2019 for Best Short Film. Her LGBTQ+ Welsh-language short, AFIACH, premiered at the Iris Prize Festival and was screened on BBC iPlayer and S4C.

As an advocate for equal representation of women in front of and behind the camera, Carys is the founder of FEM SCRIPT LAB, a writing lab for female and non-binary screenwriters in Toronto, and has launched the sister branch of the lab in the UK.

When was the first time you realised you wanted to make films?

I came to filmmaking through theatre, so the realisation was more gradual for me, but I started out wanting to tell stories – whatever form that comes in. I think stories have the ability to transport us, to connect us, to cut across the usual barriers that divide us. 

What was the last project you worked on / made?

I’ve been mostly working on my TV writing projects during COVID, but I recently had the pleasure of mentoring Ashrah Suudy, a photographer making her first short film through the Film Wales/BBC Ffolio Scheme. It was a challenge filming during COVID, but she’s created a beautiful film that showcases Butetown in a way we haven’t seen before. 

What are you up to now? // What is the next project you working on?

I’m currently writing a feature film called BLUE MOTHER, which will be my first feature as a director. I’m excited about getting the story out there – the film will examine mother-daughter dynamics through the high-stakes lens of prostitution, sex-industry work, privilege, and morality, set in our internet-obsessed world.

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Mothers Day 2021
Depictions of Motherhood

For Mother’s Day in 2021 we’re thinking about motherhood and representations of maternal care, in their numerous alternative forms on screen. The Film Hub Wales Team have been reflecting on what this means to us individually.

Scroll down to see a list of films with Welsh connections from our Film Catalogue, plus wider British and international titles for #MothersDay that recognise how everyone’s experiences are different.

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Women's Month Montage
Women’s History Month: Celebrating Female Filmmakers in Wales

To celebrate ‘Women’s History Month’ 2021 the Film Hub Wales team are excited to bring you #HereAreTheWomenWho

Throughout March, we will be releasing short interviews with some of the women writing, directing and telling unique stories in Wales. Our cultural landscape has never been richer thanks to the truly original narratives they’ve been working hard to tell.

These profiles have been compiled as part of Made in Wales – a Film Hub Wales strategy that supports exhibitors and focuses on highlighting films – and filmmakers – with Welsh connections. If you’d like to know more about how we support filmmakers and distributors get in touch with Radha, our Made in Wales Officer.

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Head Shot Efa
Women’s History Month: Efa Blosse-Mason

Biography

Efa Blosse-Mason is a filmmaker from Cardiff who wrote and directed a short Welsh language film ‘Cwch Deilen (Leaf Boat)’ which is currently on BBC iPlayer. Efa went to University at the Bristol School of Animation and her graduate film ‘Earthly Delights’ won the Royal Television Society Award for best student animation in 2019. Her work is usually focused on the themes of women, LGBTQ+ stories and nature.

Website

When was the first time you realised you wanted to make films?

I wanted to be a filmmaker from quite a young age, and when I was a teenager my parents gave me a camera for Christmas and I made a few short films with my friends. I thought I wanted to be a live-action filmmaker before I discovered animation. I did some work experience with an animation company, which made me decide to go to university to study it, and the more I did the more I fell in love with it.  I just love how you can create worlds and fantastical things.

What was the last project you worked on / made?

The last project I worked on was a really tiny 1 minute animation I made in collaboration with the singer Casi Wyn called ‘Y Genhinen Aur’ (‘The Golden Daffodil’ in English) which we made to celebrate St David’s day and the coming of spring…but also acknowledging the hard year we’ve collectively had due to the coronavirus pandemic…and the hope for better days ahead.  

What are you up to now? / What is the next project you’re working on?

I am currently doing something new and trying my hand at making a comic!  It’s a bit different from animation…telling a narrative across the space of a page rather than a timeline.  I am hoping to make it into a whole graphic novel but am at very early stages so far. I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels to get inspired, my favourites are ‘Fun Home’ by Alison Bechdel and ‘Persepolis’ by Marijane Strapi, ‘Maus’ by Art Spiegelman and ‘Ant Colony’ by Michael De Forge.

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Me B&W Graded
Women’s History Month: Liana Stewart

Biography

Liana Stewart is self-shooting Producer/Director from Cardiff with over 10 years experience producing factual, current affairs and documentary content for television. From landmark series to single documentaries and short form, recent credits as a self-shooting director include: Bafta award winning series Ambulance (BBC One), Get Your Knee Off My Neck (C4), Black and Welsh (BBC One Wales) and Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over (Sky).

Website

When was the first time you realised you wanted to make films?

I’ve always loved movies. I’d sit and watch Disney films on repeat as a kid but it wasn’t until I was a teenager – and I got the Spike Lee experience – that I thought…‘maybe I could do that’ – but it wasn’t directing and it was acting. I originally wanted to be a dancer and went to musical theatre college in London, but after the 1st year I came back to Cardiff to focus on acting. The plan was to imitate Spike Lee and direct films…and act in them too! Long story short, I ended up making factual programmes..not fiction and I wouldn’t change a thing..but I am still a Spike Lee fan!!

What was the last project you worked on / made?

The last series I worked on was Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over for Sky. It was so much fun and I got to make an episode in Wales!

What are you up to now? / What is the next project you’re working on?

I’m currently working on a development for a single documentary.

Useful links:

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Female Film Makers Hanna And Georgia
Women’s History Month: Hannah Daniel & Georgia Lee

Biographies

Hannah started her career as an actor and has worked for over 15 years in theatre, film and television. Credits include Hinterland, Keeping Faith, and Holby City. In 2016 she spent time  improvising at the UCB Theatre and The Groundlings in Los Angeles, where she began her work as  a writer-performer.  

Georgia started her career as a musician and songwriter and was signed to Island Records with her band JUCE. Since 2017 she has been working full time as a screenwriter and producer. She has  collaborated with screenwriter John-Henry Butterworth and a number of British and US production companies on a range of dramas for TV and film.

Website

When was the first time you realised you wanted to make films?  

We met in university in 2005, studying English Literature. We lived together, studied together and, both avid  film fans and masters at procrastination, watched a lot of movies together. We’d watch the Coen Brothers’  back catalogue repeatedly – lapping up the fluidity of genre in their films – their darkness, their humour, the  breadth of wild and wonderful characters. We’d sit on the sofa dreaming up the films that we, like The Coen  Brothers, would one day write, direct and produce ourselves…  

Finally, in 2017, having started writing together a year previously for television, we decided it was time to write and direct our first short film. DESTINATION was shot in three days around Cardiff, in Hannah’s mum’s car on a  shoestring budget. It follows a day in the life of a young Welsh female Uber driver facing a huge life decision.  

The film went on to win multiple awards internationally.

What was the last project you worked on / made?  

We completed our short film BURIAL in August 2020 (As part of Beacons: Short Films From Wales). A dark comedy set in a very Welsh funeral, about grief, sisterhood and complicated family ties. We shot it in Port Talbot with a wealth of Welsh talent. We had a ball!  

What are you up to now? / What is the next project you’re working on?  

We’re currently working on our first original feature script. Other projects in development include TV comedy NANNIES, a series following a bunch of delinquent childminders chancing their way through the madness of  Cardiff’s “New Parent” scene, and THE INVISIBLE WOMAN a truly unconventional superhero story.

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Ila Hijra
Women’s History Month: Ila Mehrotra

Biography

Ila Mehrotra was born in Delhi. She graduated from the University of Sussex and has worked in British film and television for the last decade. She has worked for broadcasters including BBC, Channel 4 and ITV on investigative documentaries for Dispatches and ITV Exposures and observational BBC 4 docs with Emmy and BAFTA winning directors. She has been involved in production on many different levels, including undercover filming and as a self-shooting AP working on her directorial feature debut.

When was the first time you realised you wanted to make films?

I have always loved storytelling and the visual medium. I studied photography at the University of Sussex and, before I graduated, I started working on a Dispatches for Channel 4. I felt my love for storytelling and the visual medium meet and there has been no looking back since then.

What was the last project you worked on?

The last project I worked on was called ‘Eugenics – Science’s greatest Scandal’ for BBC 4 and I have also been working on my directorial feature ‘India’s 1st Trans Model Agency’ (AKA Hijra)… because of the lockdown I’ve had very exciting remote shoots with my characters in India through a trusted camerawoman…and amazing technology which allowed me to be present for the more sensitive scenes.

What are you working on now?

I’m just about to start work on an exciting project celebrating diversity in Wales with a leading Welsh production company for BBC Wales.

Useful links:

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WOW Film Festival Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom
4 Ways to Celebrate International Women’s Day 2021

IWD: International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the achievements of women.

Activity takes place worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality.

As we celebrate while staying at home this year, why not check out the many online programmes and events from our members and beyond that are celebrating IWD in a big way!

Look out for us on social media (@filmhubwales), where we’ll be spotlighting many brilliant female filmmakers in Wales, finding out what drives them to make films, and the inside scoop on their recent projects.

We also encourage you to raise your hand high to show your support, solidarity and your commitment to #ChooseToChallenge

Strike the Choose To Challenge pose as part of the IWD 2021 campaign theme and share on social media using #ChooseToChallenge #IWD2021 to encourage further people to commit to a more inclusive world. Tag us too, we want to see!

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Film Hub Wales - Vacancies
Vacancy: Inclusive Cinema – Freelance Marketer required (Closed)
  • Contract: Fixed term (est. 20 days March-May)
  • Fee: £3000 incl VAT
  • Location: Flexible (remote working)
  • Additional Freelancer will require their own computer
  • Requirements: No paid-for software should be required

Film Hub Wales is seeking a marketing freelancer to support the BFI FAN Access Officer with raising awareness of Inclusive Cinema, a BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) Diversity and Inclusion project.

The freelancer should have expertise in digital media, experience using WordPress, Mailchimp and Twitter, and be confident speaking with cinema exhibitors of all sizes and shapes, press and media, whether on the phone, or online.

We’ll expect the freelancer to have an understanding and active passion for inclusion, and ideally, this contract will be completed by someone with lived experience of diversity.

  • Check the brief here for details – PDF or Word. These documents have been optimised for accessibility.
  • Email toki@filmhubwales.org to state your interest and enclose your portfolio/CV (written, video, audio formats all accepted) with references, by 6pm Mon 15th March 2021
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LesFlicksLogo Websitelogo
Why Naomi Bennett Launched Lesflicks, A Film Streaming Platform For Queer Women

This week, Forbes interviewed Naomi Bennet of Lesflicks about why she launched a film streaming platform for Queer Women. 

Read the full interview

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