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 for details of the full programme.