Nordic Youth Film Festival NUFF 2016 (Rhiannon Wyn Hughes)

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

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

Cidwm Cymru/Wicked Wales is a new international youth film festival in Wales. One of the key objectives of the festival is to develop and strengthen partnerships internationally. These new partnerships will be the key to creating new collaborative projects, exchange programmes and creating an international platform for young filmmakers in Wales with other countries and festivals in the future.

The objectives are in line with recent Youth Festivals in Wales research, which was commissioned by Film Hub Wales and carried out by Dan Thomas from Film CultureThis research identified gaps in youth film festival provision, particularly in the areas of international engagement for young and emerging filmmakers in Wales.

The visit to Tromso in Norway which WAI and FHW helped to finance was to enable face-to-face discussions to take place about the structure, programming and delivery of the Nordic Youth Film Festival NUFF and help strengthen the links with Hermann Greuel and his festival team.

Hermann was one of the driving forces to set up the Youth Cinema Network YCN, which Wicked Wales is a member of, acknowledging the need that youth film festivals would be stronger working in partnership. He is an experienced Festival Director running one of the most established youth film festivals in Europe. The festival has a strong and successful training programme, which we wanted to experience first hand.

The festival has established links with European countries and many other countries over a number of years. The visit was an opportunity to make new connections with Syria, Palestine, Gaza and United Arab Emirates

The visit also put us in touch with the organisers of the Tromso International Film Festival, which provided the opportunity to discuss how the two festivals relate to each other and provide a pathway for young film makers from NUFF progressing to the Tromso International Film Festival TIFF. This was particularly useful as it is our intention to look at how Wicked can develop links with the film industry and make those connections for the festival in 2017.


We wanted to develop a strategic relationship with NUFF, to look at the operation and running of the festival, programming and the role of young volunteers. We also wished to bring back to Wales examples of good practice from this well established and well respected festival. There were three elements which were particularly impressive and ideas which we would like to progress in Wales.

WORKSHOPS – The first few days of the festival were taken over by workshops run by international practioners, all with recognised reputations. The workshops included a masterclass examining the crossover of film and technology and throughout the week the film workshops worked alongside music workshops producing music to accompany the films. The resulting short films were part of the festival screenings and were very impressive. As part of the screenings there were opportunities for discussion with the filmmakers and their tutors which we found enlightening.

A THEMED FESTIVAL – NUFF had chosen a theme for their festival this year, which was looking at the crisis for refugees and immigration through the eyes of young people. We saw how choosing a theme gave a focus to the festival which was very powerful and also within that theme many challenging issues were able to be addressed. This experience has helped to clarify the way in which we will feature the Wales/India theme as part of our festival in 2017.

YOUNG VOLUNTEERS – We were able to see the role played by young people and the responsibility they were given in organising and recording the festival. This included programming, marketing, presenting, filming, photographing and event management. The whole time we were there, there was a strong feeling of ownership of the festival by young people. This is something we would wish to develop and we will include a training programme for young volunteers to take on similar roles. We will also look at an exchange programme to allow young people from Wales to shadow more experienced young people in volunteering at other festivals.

Our experience at the festival has already influenced our planning for this year’s festival. This includes how we are developing our festival workshop programme in terms of structure and outcomes. As with NUFF we will be asking the workshops to produce two short documentary films: one about the festival and one about the YCN International conference. These short films will then be used as promotional material in 2017.

One issue for NUFF was the small numbers attending some of the screenings. Wicked is keen to get good audiences for its screenings and having seen that this could be a potential difficulty, a lot of time has been spent since returning contacting schools and youth organisations before the summer holiday break to get their commitment to engage with the festival activities.

As a result of the visit we will be receiving three Norwegian films to show at our festival this year. Following on from our visit we are delighted that Hermann Greuel,  the Festival Director has accepted our invitation to come to our festival in Wales. Whilst in Wales we will discuss with him and other international partners the opportunities for developing an Erasmus+ bid, which will enable young filmmakers from Wales to travel to NUFF and other partner festivals and have the experience of working with filmmakers from other countries.

The film that won the International Award at NUFF was a film from India by a young female director Naomi Shah. Naomi was quite an inspirational speaker and we are exploring the opportunity to bring her to Wales as part of Wicked’s India/Wales programme either in 2016 or in 2017

The visit has reinforced the importance of providing young filmmakers with international experiences in terms of developing their confidence, technical learning and working collaboratively. The Vision for the Youth Cinema Network YCN which Wicked and NUFF are members of is ‘To bring young filmmakers and their stories to an international platform.’ This remains an aspiration for young filmmakers from Wales working through the medium of Welsh and English. Visiting NUFF has reinforced our views regarding the importance of international engagement and the benefits to young filmmakers in terms of confidence and the wider opportunities international engagement brings.

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