Britain on Film: Coast and Sea

50 newly digitised films from 1898 to 2000 have been made available to venues and online as part of BFI Britain on Film: Coast and Sea, a project that reveals hidden histories and forgotten stories of people and places from the BFI and the UK’s national and regional film TV archives.

To celebrate, Film Hub Wales and Chapter as Film Hub Lead Organisation have prepared a special coastal film programme at the Sinemaes tent during the National Eisteddfod of Wales. The Dragon Theatr in Barmouth and venues across Wales will also offer a colourful programme of coastal themed events. Read more about the Dragon Theatre’s screenings in our News section.

These screenings and events throughout Wales are part of a nationwide programme for Britain on Film: Coast and Sea supported by BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) organisations, taking place at coastal locations around the UK, with funds from the National Lottery, and lead by Film Hub Central East (Broadway Cinema, Nottingham).

Sinemaes at the National Eisteddfod of Wales

Sinemaes makes its anticipated return to the Eisteddfod for a second year, bringing a full programme of Welsh language films, special events and archive to Anglesey from the 4th-12th August. Sinemaes is led by a collective of partners in Wales, including Film Hub Wales, Chapter, BAFTA Cymru, Into Film, Ffilm Cymru Wales, The Royal Television Society, Wales Screen, BFI NET.WORK, ITV Cymru Wales, S4C and TAC.

The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales’ special coastal film collection will screen daily at the Eisteddfod in celebration of Britain on Film: Coast and Sea. The films have a sharp tang of sea salt as they drop in on beaches and promenades, harbours and islands for a glimpse of Wales’ coastal life through the 20th Century. From Prestatyn to Penclawdd, from Bardsey to Barmouth, audiences will discover how Welsh waters have sustained fishing, global trading and whole summers of unforgettable holidays. The package will debut at the Sinemaes+ Fringe event Oriel Môn.

Other events include an unmissable 1964 BBC theatre performance of T.Gwynn Jones’ Welsh translation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which will beam live from the past. The Canolfen Ucheldre Centre will screen Kevin Allen’s Dan y Wenallt, a lavish, star-studded update of Dylan Thomas’ play for voices, Under Milk Wood. Aleksandr Dovzhenko’s silent poetic masterpiece Earth will also feature, with Pontio’s electronic musical commission from R.Seiliog, bringing a modern edge to a timeless humanist masterpiece.

Innovative North Wales project Off Y Grid will also bring together young skate filmmakers and musicians from Blaenau Ffestiniog for Fideo Hud, which will celebrate the 80s and 90s homemade video revolution. Alongside music videos curated from the Video 9, I-dot and Garij archives, the young people will offer a special live score to a video of their choice.



Coastal Wales on Film – Daily, 5th-12th August

North Wales package:

  • The Morgan Family at Abersoch (1948);
  • Prestatyn Holiday Camp (1957);
  • Rhyl Fishing Fleet (1920);
  • Life Boat Day at Rhyl (1920);
  • The Return of the Llandudno Life Boat (1927);
  • Llandudno (1937);
  • The Hardings at Llandudno + North Wales (1965);
  • Conway Capers (1965); Carnival Day (1960);
  • Racing on the Menai Staits (1930);
  • The Island in the Current (1950); Criccieth Beach (1938);
  • A is for Aberdyfi, B is for Barmouth, C is for a Camel (1934)
Coastal Wales on Film – Daily, 5th-12th August

South Wales package:

  • A Sad Saga of the Sands (1959);
  • Our Holiday 1932 – Tenby (1932);
  • Borth, Ynyslas, Aberystwyth (after storm) (1938);
  • Aberystwyth Promenade [trampoline] (1960s);
  • Aberaeron Harbour (1965);
  • Haf 1933 – Cardigan (1933);
  • Babs Recovery (1969);
  • Porthcawl – Diving, Picnics, Carnival (1922);
  • The Coast Line of South Wales (1935);
  • Life Guards – Barry Island (1966);
  • Promenade – a Summer’s Day in Penarth (1967);
  • Holidays Under Canvas, Near the Sea (1954)
Earth – 7.30pm, Thursday 10th August

Aleksandr Dovzhenko’s silent poetic masterpiece depicting an idealistic vision of the possibilities of Communism, made just before Stalinism changed the focus of the Revolution. Depicting the Ukrainian peasant’s journey into the age of collectivization, examining natural cycles through his epic montage, this highly innovative new electronic musical commission brings a modern edge to this timeless humanist masterpiece.

+ Live performance of a specially composed soundtrack by R.Seiliog, originally commissioned by Pontio

Macbeth 1964 – 4pm, Sunday 6th August

A theatre performance beamed ‘live’ from the past. T.Gwynn Jones’ translated William Shakespeare’s Macbeth for broadcast live on national television in 1964. It was an elaborately-filmed studio-bound theatrical performance well before the ‘professional’ Welsh language theatre as we know it was in existence. The film survives through T.Gwynn Jones’ magnificent Welsh language script, its keen director’s eye and the undoubted quality of. We would like to express thanks to the BBC, T.Gwynn Jones’ surviving family and to our partners at Pontio for their support on this event.

+ Live Q&A with Llion Williams (led by Elen Ifan)

Fideo Hud – 1.30pm, Satuday 12th August

With a huge rise in home-made videos due to iPhones and editing app’s, we’ve seen a return to the 80’s/90’s homemade video revolution. Think MTV and Fideo 9. For this event, young skate filmmakers and musicians from Blaenau Ffestiniog have come together to screen Welsh music videos from the Video 9, I-dot and Garij archives, and to offer a special live score to a video of their choice. Fideo Hud will travel as part of Welsh music video film festival across Wales.

Dan Y Wenallt – 5.30pm, Saturday 5th August

A lavish, star-studded update of Dylan Thomas’ play for voices, Under Milk Wood. The inner lives of the residents of Llareggub are revealed as they pine for old loves and relive past triumphs.

+ Live Q&A with special guest to be confirmed

Dragon Theatr Screenings, Barmouth

Archive coffee mornings – July 27th, August 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st. Adults £3, Children free of charge.

Each Thursday morning during the summer holidays, visitors will be welcomed in to the converted Victorian chapel, overlooking the Barmouth beach and lifeboat station for a ‘panad’ (cuppa) and to browse the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales’ Britain on Film Coast and Sea collection. Visitors of today will see what holidays were like in days gone by – carnival floats and decorated bicycles, steam trains and walks on the prom. So much has changed and yet so little.

Paddle sports Weekend  – 15th-16th July

Barmouth harbour teems with raft racers, kayakers and paddle-boarders. Competition is fierce to navigate the Mawddach estuary course and hundreds of spectators come along to enjoy this weekend event. A pop-up screening venue on the quay in the atmospheric Sailors’ Institute will host the film ‘It Was 50 Years Ago Today’ and a B-movie of archive camping holiday footage from 1967 in the Dragon Theatr, with accompanying music from the era.

Royal National Lifeboat Institution Fun Day – 20th August

This popular day in the fundraising calendar for the RNLI happens at the boathouse, just opposite the Dragon Theatre on the promenade. Screenings will take place on site at the lifeboat station, or in the Dragon Theatre.

Heart of Wales Rally – 9th September

For the fifth year running the Heart of Wales Rally brings a convoy of 60 colourful vintage lorries and commercial vehicles into Barmouth. It’s a sight to be seen and draws a crowd of enthusiasts for all things nostalgic. An archive coffee morning pre- arrival, will be followed by lunch for the 130 drivers, drivers’ mates and families at the theatre with films running for their post meal entertainment.

Barmouth Walking Festival – 16th-25th September

The Barmouth Walking Festival starts in the third week of September, guiding up to 200 people on 35 mountain and coastal walks. Their registration point each morning is the Dragon Theatre and while the ten day festival takes place, archive coffee evenings will run, so walkers can kick off their boots at the end of the day and relax with refreshments, to take in coastal views from times past.

Barmouth Bridge 150th Celebration – 13th-15th October

The final Barmouth is the weekend of celebrations planned for the 150th anniversary of Barmouth Bridge, the famous iconic viaduct across the Mawddach Estuary. The railway line it carries ‘The Cambrian Coast’ brought tourism to the town in the Victorian era. The bridge was used in the filming of The Ghost Train (1941), which will be shown alongside footage from the same era during the weekend. The theatre will also host an exhibition of bridge artwork and many other events will be held around the town, including a model railway exhibition and firework/laser spectacular on the Saturday night.

Additional events included Rhyl Little Theatre and Wicked International Festival working with Rhyl Lifeboat Station and coastal screenings at Canolfen Ucheldre Centre, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Porthcawl Library, which included a cone of chips from Beales Fish & Chip Restaurant, which opened in 1937.

These films, and many more related titles from around the UK, are available to watch for free on BFI Player via an interactive map for Britain on Film.  | #BritainOnFilm