Cinemas to Enchant Audiences this Winter with the Revival of Welsh Witchcraft on Screen

© Gwen (Bulldog Film Distribution), Annwn (Ffion Pritchard), I Am Not a Witch (BFI), Gwledd / The Feast (Picturehouse Entertainment)
Tuesday, 25th October, 2022

With the support of Film Hub Wales (FHW), cinemas across Wales will explore the timeless magic of Wales on screen this winter, bringing spells, spirits and folklore to Welsh audiences, through a season of films and events about Welsh witchcraft.

Activities launch at Pontio Arts Centre in Bangor on the 28th October, where their ‘Witches Sabbath’ weekend will welcome Mari Elen Jones from Gwrachod Heddiw, an award-winning podcast which celebrates Welsh women and their connections to witchcraft. Over the weekend, guests will also include Director, Ffion Pritchard, of new short Welsh film Annwn, about a talented young witch and illustrator Efa Lois who specialises in folklore, flowers and Welsh witches. The live, Welsh language, video podcast will explore the character of the Witch in cinema, the history of witchcraft in Wales, its revival and the modern Welsh witch.  

Off Y Grid, a network of seven venues across North Wales (including Pontio), that collaborate to bring the best British independent and international cinema to Welsh audiences, will host a second live podcast about horror cinema and Witches, with a screening of Gaspar Noe’s experimental horror film Lux Aeterna.

Both events will be recorded live and made available to cinemas across Wales with the support of funding from FHW’ Made in Wales (MIW) strand, which celebrates films with Welsh connections. Audiences can enjoy a series of witchcraft themed films in their local community cinema, such as Gwledd, St Maud and Rungano Nyoni’s I am not a Witch, which reaches it 5th anniversary in October. 

In Wales, five people were executed for ‘crimes’ of witchcraft. Drawing on Celtic roots and a deep connection with the environment, ‘rituals’, ‘prayers’, ‘blessings’ and non-Christian religious spiritual practises were familiar to Welsh people who practised dewiniaeth or magic at that time, that it was easy to tell apart real witchcraft apart from the accusations. In the following centuries, forced assimilation into Christianity and stricter laws around speaking Welsh, pressured generations to give up more of their cultural heritage and practices of dewiniaeth slowly faded.

Radha Patel, Film Hub Wales’ Made in Wales Officer explains why FHW encourage audiences to learn about the history of witchcraft:  

Today, a new generation of young, Welsh witches are emerging and revisiting their cultural practices and heritage. Wales’ unique spiritual connection to land, community centred society and common-sense saved thousands of women from being unnecessarily killed by superstition. In the future, what life-changing moments could be inspired by this new revival in Celtic spiritualty? We believe that film can help us to explore and answer these questions.”

Emyr Williams, Cinema Coordinator at Pontio Arts Centre, Bangor continued: 

‘‘Horror Cinema was never made to be watched on your own – a communal experience of terror is something we strive to offer our audiences. Our Witches themed weekend in Pontio allows us the opportunity to show brilliant horror films and engage directly with our audience’s interests, by recording two bilingual podcasts in in front of a live audience. We have invited experts to discuss Witchcraft in all its forms, from questioning cinematic representation and gender stereotyping to re-examining Welsh mythology and social history, as well as imagining how Witches are adapting to the digital age. 

Ffion Pritchard, Director of ‘Annwn’ concluded:  

“Witch’ was once a death sentence for women outside the social norms – disabled women, single women, childless women. Now, so many of us turn to its traditions. The films and conversations in this line up prove these experiences are far from rare and part of a wider movement of reclaiming womanhood and heritage in artistic and spiritual contexts in an exciting cultural moment for Wales. These stories deserve to be seen and told anew. The visual majesty of the old myths deserves a big screen experience – so where could be a better place to reinvent ancient tales, than at your local cinema?” 

MIW offers a host of year-round activities in partnership with Welsh exhibitors, including a film catalogue which hosts over 600 shorts and features with Welsh connections.   

MIW is made possible thanks to funding from Creative Wales, along with support of the BFI Film Audience Network, awarding funds from the National Lottery. FAN offers support to exhibitors across the whole of the UK, to boost cultural programming and engage diverse audiences. Funds in Wales are administered by FHW via Chapter as the Film Hub Lead Organisation.  

More than £30M is raised each week for good causes across the UK by the National Lottery. 


Download the full press release here


Welsh Witchcraft is a season of features, shorts, animations, documentaries and archival films about Wales’s unique spiritual heritage and practices of dewiniaeth or ‘magic’. With a focus on the position of ‘women as witches’ throughout in cinema, and a look at the young Welsh people revisiting their cultural practises – what life-changing moments could be inspired by this new revival in Celtic spiritualty and how can film help us to explore this? 

Cinemas can apply to Film Hub Wales for funding to programme films from this season and access assets to support their screenings. 

To find out more, please click the links below: 

Here are the events taking place across across the season.

Pontio, Bangor (28th – 31st October)

A Witches Sabbath – A weekend long event featuring double bill screenings of Welsh horrors, international classics and Q&A’s with invited speakers about ‘the modern witch’, asking ‘is horror cinema a positive or negative force for female representation on screen?’  

SeeMôr Film Festival, Anglesey  (29th – 30th October)

The Ucheldre Centre will be celebrating Halloween with a lantern making workshop and a trick or treat procession on Saturday, followed by screenings of Gwledd (The Feast) and St. Maud on Sunday.

Neuadd Dwyfor, Pwllheli  (21st October – 3rd November)

Screenings of Gwledd (The Feast), The Witches (1990) and Annwn alongside a recording of ‘Gwrachod Heddiw’ featuring Mari Elen Jones, Efa Lois and Ffion Pritchard. The Witches will be accompanied by craft and story sessions for young children led by Mair Tomos Ifans, about local witches in Pwllheli.

Wicked Wales, Rhyl (20th – 23rd October)

As part of their annual film festival, audiences in Rhyl can attend an exciting wand making workshop followed by screenings of Harry Potter, Annwn and I am Not a Witch on Sunday 23rd 

Chapter, Cardiff (22nd October – 6th November)

Alongside BFI’s ‘In Dreams are Monsters’ featuring films about ‘the evolution of monsters and ‘the monsters within’, Chapter are hosting a range of films exploring Welsh Witchcraft including Gwledd, The Witches, St Maud and Haxan which unpacks the myth of the witch as a tool of oppression throughout Europe. 

Wyeside Arts Centre, Builth Wells (9th – 23rd November)

As part of their Community Drop In, Wyeside Arts Centre will host a screening of Annwn followed by Gwrachod Heddiw’s discussion on the modern Welsh Witch. Audiences can stop by once again on the 23rd for a recording of the second discussion, led by Off Y Grid, all about the wider history of women as Witches in cinema.


Dates subject to change – see cinema websites. Further venues and dates to be announced. 

For further information, please contact: 

About Film Hub Wales 

Film Hub Wales (FHW) celebrates cinema. We support organisations that screen film, from film festivals, to societies and mixed arts centres. Working with over 315 Welsh exhibitors, we aim to bring the best British and international film to all audiences across Wales and the UK. Since Film Hub Wales set up in 2013, we’ve supported over 250 exciting cinema projects, reaching over 480,000 audience members.  

We’re part of a UK wide network of eight hubs which forms the British Film Institute (BFI) Film Audience Network (FAN), made possible thanks to National Lottery funding. Film Hub Wales is managed by with Chapter 

We are also proud to lead on the UK inclusive cinema strategy on behalf of BFI FAN.

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About the BFI Film Audience Network  

Supported by National Lottery funding, the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN), is central to the BFI’s aim to ensure the greatest choice of film is available for everyone. Established in 2012 to build wider and more diverse UK cinema audiences for British and international film, FAN is a unique, UK-wide collaboration made up of eight Hubs managed by leading film organisations and venues strategically placed around the country. FAN also supports talent development with BFI NETWORK Talent Executives in each of the English Hubs, with a mission to discover and support talented writers, directors and producers at the start of their careers.  

BFI FAN Film Hubs are:  

  • Film Hub Midlands is led by Broadway, Nottingham working in partnership with the Birmingham-based Flatpack 
  • Film Hub North is led collectively by Showroom Workstation, Sheffield and HOME Manchester  
  • Film Hub South East is led by the Independent Cinema Office  
  • Film Hub South West is led by Watershed in Bristol 
  • Film Hub Scotland is led by Glasgow Film Theatre  
  • Film Hub Northern Ireland is led by Queen’s University Belfast  
  • Film Hub Wales is led by Chapter in Cardiff 
  • Film Hub London is led by Film London 


About the BFI  

We are a cultural charity, a National Lottery distributor, and the UK’s lead organisation for film and the moving image. Our mission is: 

  • To support creativity and actively seek out the next generation of UK storytellers 
  • To grow and care for the BFI National Archive, the world’s largest film and television archive 
  • To offer the widest range of UK and international moving image culture through our programmes and festivals – delivered online and in venue 
  • To use our knowledge to educate and deepen public appreciation and understanding 
  • To work with Government and industry to ensure the continued growth of the UK’s screen industries 

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter.  

The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Tim Richards.

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About Chapter 

Chapter is one of Europe’s largest and most dynamic arts centres with cinemas, theatres, exhibition spaces, studios, a café, award-winning bars, over 60 cultural workspaces and more. Chapter has an international reputation for excellence, innovation and collaboration. It offers an ever-changing programme of the best performance, films and exhibitions from Wales and from around the world. 

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About Creative Wales   

Creative Wales is a Welsh Government internal agency that supports the development of the fast-growing creative industry in Wales. We focus on developing and promoting growth across the Screen, Digital, Music and Publishing sectors, positioning Wales as one of the best places in the world for creative businesses to thrive.   

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