Female Film Makers Pauline
Women’s History Month: Pauline Williams

Biography

Producer, writer and former co-director of Gaucho production company. Producer of award winning feature films One Full Moon, Leaving Lenin a The Making of Maps. Multi BAFTA award winner as producer of numerous TV drama series & film. Mentor & producer of short film projects nurturing new directors & writers. Project manager for Off y Grid, a Film Hub Wales initiative. Currently producing short films in a pilot project between Wales and Nepal and developing a TV drama series for young people.

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

As a child, cinema was a regular feature on a Saturday morning & over the years the more films I saw the more I fell in love with the big screen. However I always thought that working in films was an impossible dream for a girl from the sticks. After a brief mindset detour – when I thought I would become a surgeon- I realised that this was definitely not for me. Throughout adolescence, university & the early days of my career film has always fired my imagination & has transported me to other worlds & cultures.

What was the last project you worked on / made?

I wrote & produced a 3 part drama series for S4C, filmed in Wales & Majorca.

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

Mentoring a filmmaking course for young people + waiting for venues to open to rekindle Off y Grid activities as a project manager/co-ordinator and producing a 6 part drama series for young people. Also I’m considering potential film projects. I have just accepted an invitation to produce/mentor 3 short films with young filmmakers from Wales as part of the International Youth Media Summit. This is a collaboration between Nepal & Wales. I’m also a producer/mentor on a forthcoming filmmaking course for young people in North Wales.

Useful links:

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Female Film Makers Claire Fowler
Women’s History Month: Claire Fowler

Biography

Claire Fowler is a writer-director from Wales who is based both in the US and UK. Her latest short, Salam, was the first Welsh short film to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, and was one of ten shorts selected for the Short Film Award at the BFI London Film Festival. It has since screened at more than one hundred festivals and won over ten awards including the BAFTA Cymru award for best short in 2020.

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

I’ve always been attracted to the idea of filmmaking, and I’ve always loved narrative in the form of reading books, drawing, and watching films. But being from a small village in North Wales it didn’t really occur to me that directing was even an option for me– which sounds ridiculous when you consider that I studied Fine Art at University. I guess my naive teenage brain thought I could be a teacher and an artist, but never a director because only posh people did that- which just goes to show that representation matters. But at University I began to make little experimental films and I became completely absorbed in the process. There was this palpable magnetic pull towards filmmaking, but there was also a huge amount of resistance from me (and my family) in the form of very practical questions such as: How do I even begin to do this? Where will I find the money for each film? How can I make a living? But I had to give in to the gradual realisation that I would not be happy unless I pursued it. To be completely honest, it still feels very far away because I don’t yet make a full-time living from directing. Sometimes I manage to for months at a time, but right now I still need a back-up for the dry periods. What we do not talk about is the fact that most people who succeed in this business have independent wealth. To make even a short film a director has to not only raise the funds for the film itself, but also factor in lost earnings for all of the days spent casting, in prepro, on-set and then in post.  If you don’t have all of the resources on hand, you still have to pay rent and bills, eat and travel and maintain other employment. It’s a real juggling act when you’re not wealthy and no one is ever going to give you extra credit for that. 

What was the last project you worked on / made?

The last project I worked on as director was actually as a director-for-hire and it was unfortunately not an enjoyable experience. The writers were great, the scripts had a lot of potential and the cast and crew were lovely, but it was low budget, corners were cut, and certain directorial decisions were taken out of my hands by the producers. It only served to weaken the end result and make the process painful. A director’s job is to bring their vision to a project. One person takes on that responsibility because design by committee is disastrous. A director-for-hire has the additional responsibility of pleasing various people– execs, writers, producers. In this situation, there is a process that should be followed to ensure that everyone is happy– for example, casting and other creative decisions (such as hiring key crew) should be made in consultation, there should be in-depth concept and tone meetings for every episode, a post-production schedule, time set aside for a director’s cut. It should be a collaboration, but one that supports the director as the creative helmer of the project. This job did not follow the usual professional process, and it did not respect my role as director. Compromise is always possible when there is respect present in a relationship, but if someone insists on imposing their vision over the director’s, then there is going to be discord on-screen and off.

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

I am developing a feature script with BBC Films and Sorcha Bacon of Try Hard productions. It has taken pretty much the whole of the pandemic to get the contract to a place where we are all happy, but I am really excited to be working with Sorcha, and Claudia and Eva of the BBC.

Useful links:

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The Torch Theatre Puts Young Film Ambassadors in the Picture

Following months of development and an extensive recruitment campaign, the Torch Theatre’s Young Film Ambassadors scheme launched this Wednesday (25 March) with its first online session, as the Torch Theatre’s Alex Lloyd and James Gent welcomed aboard its first intake of new members at the start of what promises to be an unmissable opportunity for young people in Pembrokeshire who are interested in film and cinema to experience film in a fun and educational way.

The Torch Theatre Young Film Ambassadors is a new scheme for those aged 14-18 in Pembrokeshire that will give opportunities for young people to watch, discuss and review the latest independent, UK & International, and blockbuster films. The scheme will give the young ambassadors the opportunity to get their reviews seen, and, to find out more about cinema and filmmaking in focused workshop sessions for aspiring reviewers with special guest speakers.

For the first session, the new recruits were joined by Keiron Self, the film editor for Buzz Magazine, who is also an actor, script writer and filmmaker in his own right. Keiron led an engaging, wide-ranging discussion on film, film genres, making your opinion count as a viewer or critic, and his own experiences writing, performing, and developing scripts for film & TV. 

Also present was Hywel Roberts of young people’s film network Into Film Cymru, whose Into Film Festival is the world’s largest free annual film festival, to share with the group just some of the opportunities available for young people to engage with great filmmaking and to develop a critical viewpoint so that they can learn and grow from those experiences.

Due to current COVID restrictions, the Young Film Ambassadors workshops and film screenings are taking place online. Conditions permitting, once the Torch Theatre is fully reopened and operating with a full cinema programme the Torch Theatre looks forward to welcoming its Ambassadors in person to take full advantage of the unique experience of enjoying films on the big screen.

Alex Lloyd, Senior Manager – Marketing, Press & Communications at the Torch Theatre said:

“It was brilliant to meet so many young people from across Pembrokeshire that share a common passion for film and cinema. This is the start of the journey for the Young Film Ambassadors scheme, we have a number of great workshops and films planned over the forthcoming months that will give a great insight into the film industry. There are certainly a few Marvel film fans here in Pembrokeshire, but we will be embracing the very best of independent and UK cinema as part of the ambassadors’ experience.”

The Torch Theatre’s Young Film Ambassadors scheme has been made possible by National Lottery funding distributed by Film Hub Wales, through the BFI FAN Film Exhibition Fund which was awarded to the Torch in the Autumn of 2020.

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Wales/Nepal: Our Lives, Our Stories, Our Countries

The project is a collaboration between Wicked Wales Ffilm and the International Youth Media Summit organisation based in Nepal. Wicked Wales Film runs the Wicked Wales International Youth Film Festival and IYMS brings together young filmmakers from all over the world to their annual summit meeting. 

This year these two organisations have formed a partnership to run a pilot project to create 3 webisodes from each partner. The 10 minute webisodes will be a celebration of each country,  promoting their diverse cultures & languages. The films will be screened at a number of  international events and uploaded onto the websites of the two partners. 

IYMS work on a global stage as partners with the United Nations UN, UNICEF and UNESCO so we are  delighted to be a part of this collaboration. Many of their previous films look at the global issues  facing future generations. Their current webisode series is available for viewing at  https://sanatione.iyms.org 

This project has been made possible with financial support from Wales Arts International a Wicked Wales Film funds. 

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BFI, BAFTA & The Film and TV Charity: Screen Industries Unite To Reinvigorate Action Against Bullying, Harassment and Racism

LONDON – Wednesday 17 March 2021: The BFI and BAFTA today announce the next stage of ground breaking work to tackle bullying, harassment and racism in the workplace with a new employer Action List for the film and television industry, as The Film and TV Charity launches new services, providing immediate support for workers. The announcement comes as Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) guidance on harassment at work is expected to become a statutory code of practice in the coming months, and filming restrictions and remote working during the pandemic have created additional pressures. 

The Action List is part of a wider industry mobilisation and call for employers to commit to following the latest advice to meet their legal and ethical responsibilities and signpost workers to available support. It includes a set of resources designed to assist employers to meet those responsibilities and is endorsed by producers such as Faye Ward and Hannah Farrell of Fable Pictures (the recently BAFTA-nominated Rocks, Stan & Ollie, Wild Rose and the forthcoming TV series Anne Boleyn). 

Research commissioned by The Film and TV Charity, published in February 2020, which collected data on more than 9,000 workers, revealed that bullying remains highly prevalent – across all sub-sectors, 84% had experienced or witnessed bullying or harassment, with even higher figures in some sub-sectors. Those who had experienced bullying were twice as likely to want to leave the industry and highly likely to have had mental health problems. The charity’s new bullying support services have been developed in direct response to this need. 

The State of Play survey on unscripted TV undertaken in the wake of the pandemic and published in January 2021 by Bectu, Bournemouth University and Viva La PD, found that over 93% of respondents have experienced bullying or harassment in the TV industry, with only 11% who reported incidents considering that the matter was satisfactorily resolved. The report suggests that the vulnerability of the workforce over the last year has spotlighted a whole range of systemic employment-related concerns, including the need to ensure that incidents can be reported without fear of reprisal, and that procedures are in place to address reports. 

The new Action List is based on the Set of Principles and Guidance published in 2018 developed by the BFI in partnership with BAFTA and in consultation with organisations across the film, games and television

industries in response to urgent and systemic issues around bullying and harassment exposed so shockingly through cases such as the Harvey Weinstein allegations and subsequent conviction. In July 2020 the Principles and Guidance were updated with a specific commitment to anti-racism in recognition of widespread failings highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement. 

The Guidance outlines the law around bullying, harassment and racism, and also includes sexism, ableism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination. It sets out the responsibilities of employers, and provides advice for employees and freelancers. A supporting Dignity at Work Policy, developed in partnership with Bectu, provides a template for companies, productions and festivals to complement the Guidance and Principles to tackle workplace bullying and harassment. 

The new Action List for film and television launched today, which joins one for the games industry already in place, outlines simple yet effective actions that all employers can take to prevent and tackle workplace bullying, harassment and racism and demonstrate their commitment to tackling the issue. The Action List makes further recommendations including taking the new ScreenSkills online training module on bullying and harassment, and ensuring all employees and freelancers are aware of the new suite of bullying support services launched today by The Film and TV Charity. The Action List can be downloaded yma.

The Film and TV Charity has today launched a suite of new services to provide more support for individuals who have experienced or witnessed bullying including: the Bullying Pathway Service, accessible via the charity’s existing free and confidential 24-hour Film and TV Support Line 0800 054 00 00, offering free, confidential and independent industry-specific legal, HR and mental health advice; and digital incident recording tool Spot, accessible via the charity’s website, which can be used by anyone to create a confidential private record of something they’ve experienced of witnessed. The new services have been created as part of the Whole Picture Programme, the pan-industry movement for better mental health. More information can be found at www.filmtvcharity.org.uk/bullying 

The Principles and Guidance have now been endorsed by over 40 screen sector organisations with The Casting Directors’ Guild the most recent to formally endorse them. A number of below-the-line talent agents, including Sara Putt Associates, have committed to requiring employers to agree to adhere to the Guidance as part of their deal memos with talent, and producers such as Fable Pictures require workers to sign up to the Principles. 

The BFI has hired Morgana Melvin as Production Inclusion Manager to work across the BFI Film Fund, Inclusion and Skills teams and other partners such as ScreenSkills, BBC Films, and Film4 to identify the challenges and coordinate strategies that can result in real change for employment opportunities for underrepresented groups in the production sector across the UK. By reaching out to producers, Head of Departments and the wider industry, Morgana will work with BFI teams on strategies that can support job progression and retention in the industry. This will include support for the prevention of bullying, harassment and racism on set. 

As previously announced by BAFTA, entrants for the 2021 BAFTA Games Awards have been asked to provide information on their companies’ anti-bullying and harassment guidelines. This year, along with the adoption of the BFI Diversity Standards, is a pilot year for the BAFTA Games Awards and joins existing requirements for BAFTA’s Awards across Film and Television. BAFTA will be using the data collected to

enable them to see where support, guidance and training can be offered, if necessary. The move is part of a renewed commitment from BAFTA following the 2020 Review which marks the beginning of a significant cultural shift in BAFTA, challenging the industry to address the serious lack of opportunity and equality. 

Jen Smith, Head of Inclusion at the BFI, said:

“We’re delighted that so many organisations across the screen industries have already adopted the Guidance and Principles, but we know from our conversations with industry that more structured support needs to be within every workplace to prevent and reduce instances of bullying, harassment and racism. The Guidance, Principles, Dignity at Work policy and the Action List are working documents that we will continue to refine, as well as building even more complementary resources. 

“We have demonstrated our dexterity and adaptability as an industry in the face of a pandemic; as production begins to increase again, in the face of the visceral inequality that the pandemic has laid bare, the BFI and BAFTA want to share these resources widely as we believe they can immediately improve that lived experience for our workers and act as a very useful point of reference for employers.” 

Tim Hunter, Director of Learning, Policy and Inclusion at BAFTA, said: “The nature of our industries can make it more challenging to put in place policies and procedures which might be more achievable in other sectors. The Action List and accompanying training and resources suggest solutions for the kinds of workplaces common in the industries which we will continue to improve in the coming years. It’s so important that so many industry bodies are coming together with a united strategy to tackle this issue supporting both employers via the Action List, and workers via the fantastic services offered by The Film and TV Charity. Our shared aim is to create workplace cultures where everyone can contribute to the best of their abilities.” 

Caroline Waters, Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “We’re pleased to see the BFI and BAFTA taking clear action to ensure that bullying and harassment and racism issues across UK screen industries are dealt with. The Action list will help to minimise the possibility of incidents and ensure legal compliance which will protect both employers and workers.” 

Dame Heather Rabbatts, Chair of TIME’S UP UK, said: “It was just over three years ago when TIME’S UP UK, in collaboration with BFI and BAFTA, launched the Bullying, Harassment and Racism Principles and Guidance for industry calling out unacceptable behaviour. Three years on, whilst awareness has been heightened, we need these resources more than ever and so we welcome the Action List released today to bolster our armoury to help eradicate these toxic practices. At TIME’S UP UK we are soon to release a series of safety guides for people working in the entertainment industry, free resources to empower arts and entertainment workers with information about their rights, industry-specific norms, and practical ways they can advocate for themselves and their safety and help people understand that no matter your situation, you have options.” 

Lucy Tallon, Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing at The Film and TV Charity, said:

The Film and TV Charity is pleased to be part of this pioneering pan-industry commitment to end bullying and harassment.  Our research identified bullying as one of the leading causes of poor mental health in our industry. The personal testimonies we heard and continued to hear are shocking. We must do better as an industry. 

The Film and TV Charity is launching a suite of services to help those experiencing or witnessing bullying navigate their options. Individuals can come to us for self-help resources, for professional advice, and for access to a safe digital space to record experiences in private. These services are part of our strategy to make sure everyone working in film and TV has better support and better mental health.” 

Adeel Amini, Chair of the pan-industry Coalition for Change, and Founder of the TV Mindset, said: “The Coalition for Change is focused on raising awareness of the urgent need to improve working conditions for everyone in our industry and we continue to push for widespread cultural change. Bullying, harassment, racism, ableism and other forms of discrimination have no place in what should be a supportive, creative environment, so we’re happy to be supporting the BFI and BAFTA as they step forward with practical advice on how to combat a pernicious culture, and to have been involved in creating new services to support workers with The Film and TV Charity.” 

Philippa Childs, Head of Bectu, said: “Bectu has worked with BFI and BAFTA over many years to develop practical solutions to tackle bullying and harassment in the workplace. The guidance being re-issued today includes a simple template policy to help employers deliver on their legal responsibilities to all workers on-set. 

“We want to see employers deliver more for their workers than the legal bare minimum, which is why we are pleased that the guidance also includes Bectu’s recommendation that all productions have a designated individual who can take reports of bullying and harassment. We will be working with BFI, BAFTA and ScreenSkills to draw up a template of responsibilities for this role. 

“The industry quickly came together to agree Covid supervisor roles last year, and we hope to be met with a similar can-do attitude to tackling bullying and harassment.” 

Seetha Kumar, CEO, ScreenSkills, said: “It is so positive that the industry has come together to create a better, fairer working environment by addressing unacceptable behaviours that have no place in it. We at ScreenSkills already provide a range of training, e-learning and resources – including some supported by the BFI with National Lottery funds – to help the industry identify and tackle bullying and harassment and racism so companies and productions as well as individual freelancers can play their part in creating safe and welcoming workplaces for everyone.” 

Victor Jenkins, Chair of the Casting Director’s Guild, said: “The Casting Directors’ Guild wholeheartedly supports these principles and actively promotes equality, diversity and inclusion within our own practices and the work of our members. Through a shared commitment across the industry, we can ensure there is no place for bullying and harassment.” 

Andy Harrower, CEO of Directors UK, said: “It is vital that as an industry we create an urgent and meaningful response to the systemic issues of bullying, harassment and racism. Ensuring everyone is treated fairly, professionally and with respect should be the first priority of every production. This additional tool to support the industry principles and guidance makes the advice accessible to all productions and empowers them to take action regardless of their size or budget. We are pleased to support this work today and will continue to work with our colleagues to prevent unacceptable behaviour in the workplace.”

Faye Ward and Hannah Farrell, Creative Directors of Fable Pictures, said: “Fable Pictures strive to offer an inclusive environment on all our productions where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. The Principles against bullying, harassment and racism have really helped us set the tone on set and create a welcoming and inclusive working environment. This new Action List has made it even easier for us to understand what steps we can take to prevent and deal with unacceptable behaviour and support all our employees.” 

Sara Putt of Sara Putt Associates, said: “Sara Putt Associates are proud and excited to support this work.  We, as many other talent agents, include adherence to the BFI/BAFTA Principles and Guidance for the prevention of Bullying, and Harassment and Racism in our deal memos, and this clear and comprehensive Action List offers great practical guidance enabling all productions to create a safe workplace for everyone. Through my role as a BAFTA Trustee I have witnessed at first hand the huge amount of hard work put in by the BFI and BAFTA to create the original guidance and principles and now to have honed the information into an effective practical toolkit for all of the industry to use. As we strive to create a better environment for everyone who works in film and TV the importance of this Action List and the associated resources cannot be underestimated.” 

Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie, said: “The games industry has worked closely with our colleagues in film and television, through BAFTA and the BFI, to ensure that there is a clear and coherent set of principles and guidance across the screen industries. The industry’s Action List for employers in games, which launched in July 2020, has drawn on that best practice to help games studios of all sizes to help create, foster and maintain healthy work environments for their employees and freelance workers.” 

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Female Film Makers Claire S
Women’s History Month: Clare Sturges

Biography

Clare Sturges is a writer and director based in Cardiff, Wales. She recently wrote and directed BAFTA Cymru-nominated narrative short THE ARBORIST through the BFI Network, which premiered on BBC Two and is currently available on BBC iPlayer.

Clare’s short documentary MY BRIEF ETERNITY won the BAFTA Cymru Short Film Award in 2016. The film was nominated for Best Short Doc at London Short Film Festival 2016, longlisted for a British Independent Film Award in the same year and the EE BAFTA for British Short Film in 2017. Clare won the BAFTA Cymru Breakthrough Award for her documentary SEXWORK, LOVE & MR RIGHT in 2015, which was acquired for broadcast by ABC Australia.

Since 2017, Clare has been shadowing director Euros Lyn – on Channel4 mini-series KIRI, Jack Thorne’s BBC adaptation of HIS DARK MATERIALS and Film4/Raw feature DREAM HORSE. She has also shadowed series DP Adriano Goldman on the Aberfan episode of Netflix’s THE CROWN (S3), and director Phil John on Sky’s LUCKY MAN (S3). 

In 2020, Clare was awarded bursaries from Ffilm Cymru Wales and the Welsh Broadcasting Trust to support her development as a director of scripted work.

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

I was 30 years old, recently made redundant from a desk job I hated, and freelancing as an advertising copywriter. One of my agencies asked me to write an AV script for a corporate client. I wasn’t sure what an AV script was and had to look it up. Then they asked me what the meta-narrative was and again I scurried off to Google to find out. A whole new world of visual storytelling opened up to me and I was hooked from then on.

What was the last project you worked on / made?

I wrote and directed narrative short The Arborist through the BFI Network scheme, via Ffilm Cymru Wales / BBC Wales. It’s a deeply personal film – a drama about grief and loss and the power of objects, places, people and memories to connect us to those we’ve lost.

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

I’ve recently signed with United Agents and we’re working together to progress my career to the next level… having ‘generals’ with producers and execs, applying for career development opportunities and being put forward for jobs. It’s all about landing upon a lucky opportunity to break through into drama directing, while developing my own projects alongside. I’m currently writing my first feature film: a ghost story set in the Highlands of Scotland. And I’m developing a documentary series and a factual drama – both of which explore the ripple effects of homicide.

Useful links:

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Female Film Makers Rungano
Women’s History Month: Rungano Nyoni

Biography

Rungano Nyoni is a self-taught Writer / Director. She was born in Lusaka, Zambia and grew up in Wales, UK. 

Rungano’s first short film THE LIST won a BAFTA Cymru, her subsequent short film MWANSA THE GREAT was selected for over 100 International Film Festival and was nominated for a BAFTA in 2012. In 2013 Rungano wrote Z1 which subsequently won Best Short at The British Independent Film Awards. Her short LISTEN has been nominated for a European Film Award 2015 and won the Best Short Narrative Prize at Tribeca Film Festival. 

Rungano’s debut feature was I AM NOT A WITCH. It follows the story of an 8 year old girl who is exiled to a Witch Camp. The film premiered in Cannes and was nominated for numerous international awards. In 2018 Rungano won the BAFTA for outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer. She also won best director and best debut director at the 2017 British Independent Film Awards.

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

I can’t pinpoint the first time it was a bit more organic than that. I made my way through acting, producing and other jobs in film and landed on directing and writing.

What was the last project you worked on / made?

A short film during lockdown called ‘Couple Break Up While In Lockdown Lol’.

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

I am busy writing and working on several projects and hoping I get to make them soon. I was due to shoot my next film in Zambia but obviously due to Covid thats had to be postponed until next year.

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Female Film Makers
Women’s History Month: Maria Morancho

Biography

Born in Spain and based in Wales, Maria Morancho gained a scholarship to study theatre at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and started directing theatre then under the wing of The Magdalena Project. She later worked with the former Ty Ffilm collective making short films, as well as being tutored by the ‘Red Flannel’. Her first short film ‘Thief Of Sounds’ was a runner up at the DM Davies awards, and her subsequent work has since won awards at short film festivals around the world. This year she was selected for the BFI NetWork and BAFTA Crew 2021 and is developing her first feature based on her critically acclaimed winning short ‘Mercy’.

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

I was very young, 7 yrs old, when I saw ‘The Red Shoes’ dir Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, it scarred me and fascinated me. I loved the mix of media, theatre, film, dance… It planted a dream, a dare, I too wanted to wear the red shoes, I thought, but I wanted to be able to do so and live. I was an avid reader and with each story I started to imagine films in my mind.

What was the last project you worked on / made?

My latest short film was ‘Mercy’ a story of trauma and solitude of a girl trying to make sense of her baby brother dying and being adopted. It was last shown as official selection at Fes-map festival of Arts and Mental health in the Pyrenees 2018.

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

While in development with my first feature film, a version of ‘Mercy’. I am in post-production with my last short ‘Magic Moment’ shot in Spain and Wales last year… despite covid… about a girl trying to restore her world with a hammer and a few nails but ended up discovering the magic of words, letting go and setting them free.

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Rhiannon Evans
Women’s History Month: Rhiannon Evans

Biography

Rhiannon Evans is an award winning film-maker from South Wales. She specialises in heart-felt characters and hand made techniques to tell allegorical stories that entertain and uplift audiences.

She has worked as an animation director at PartizanLab, a stop motion animator in TV series productions and commercials as well as creating her own short films. She was chosen as a recipient of the prestigious BAFTA scholarship to attend the National Film and Television School, where she was mentored by Peter Lord.

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

I got in to animation relatively late. I went to Walt Disney World, saw animators working there, realised it was an actual job and wanted to do it but I was discouraged in school from pursuing it and told my drawing ability wasn’t good enough. I tried some other things but in the end I decided I wanted to be an art teacher and to get there I would study an animation degree so at least I could learn how to do it. It took me years to get the courage to apply for the course because I thought I would be rejected. 

I knew I wanted to pursue a career as a stop motion animator when I saw ‘Flatworld’ by Daniel Greaves and ‘Film Noir’ by Osbert Parker. I loved the tactile nature of the work and it showed me something completely different to the traditional clay and puppet animation I’d seen on TV. I saw how visually striking stop motion could be and how the medium you choose to work in can enhance the story.

What was the last project you worked on / made?

When I made my graduation film, ‘Heartstrings’, I found that audiences connected well with it. It had a surprisingly successful festival run for something so simple and I had positive feedback from those who had seen it. When it was nominated for a British Animation Award it gave me a lot of confidence as a filmmaker and I realised that I had more things to say and stories to tell. 

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

I have just completed a short video for the SYFY channel which will be aired in the US. It’s a paper craft animation about my hatred of boob armour. They commissioned some female filmmakers to create a short to honour women’s history month, and were open to any kind of story…but with a genre twist so I took the opportunity to voice my opinions on how female armour is often designed in genre fiction. It’s only purpose is to objectify the woman wearing it and makes me feel unwelcome as a viewer. I know that character would not dress herself that way if she’s trying to protect herself so I’m instantly thrown out of the story and see it as a barrier to anyone smart enough to see through the motivation. It’s a 30 second video… and I’m hoping that it will give some other SYFY viewers a little bit of catharsis when they see it because even though it’s funny and charming it’s confronting a serious example of normalised sexism.

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Female Film Makers Rachel Dax
Women’s History Month: Rachel Dax

Biography

After two years working in retail, Rachel trained as a Religious Education Teacher, but became restless and in 1999 moved to Cardiff, where she began pursuing a career in Drama by attending an array of performance based courses, and doing TV and Film walk on/acting roles. In this period Rachel also began writing novels and short stories. (Her fifth book will be published this year.)

Since 2014, Rachel has been teaching an array of Film and Creative Writing courses at both University of South Wales and Cardiff University. Rachel’s professional films include Caravan Sight, Planet Love, A Delicate Love and her latest film, Time & Again (2019), starring Dame Sian Phillips and Brigit Forsyth. Time & Again has been shown at over 50 film festivals and won 13 awards. It was broadcast twice on BBC Wales and was on BBC iPlayer for a year.

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

I first realised I wanted to make films rather than just act in films, when I went back to university in my early 30s to do a BA in Drama (Theatre & Media). I took a film module as part of that course and fell in love with the medium straight away. Until then I had only wanted to write and act. But filmmaking soon became my greatest passion of all!

What was the last project you worked on / made?

The last film project I made was Time & Again (2019) starring Dame Sian Phillips and Brigit Forsyth. This film is about two women who meet again in a care home, sixty years after their relationship broke up due to societal pressures. It has done tremendously well having been screened at 52 film festivals and won 13 awards – including Best Short Film at Cardiff International Film Festival.

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

Due to the pandemic this is most uncertain. I was aiming to make the feature sequel to Time & Again in late 2020 or early 2021 but that didn’t come to pass (although it might emerge this year in another medium instead). I therefore will most likely make another short film in August and then see how things are looking. I have many scripts to choose from as I am a prolific writer, but I suspect the one I wrote in the last two weeks will be the one I pursue as it has my passion and focus right now.

Useful links:

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Prano Bailey Bond
Women’s History Month: Prano Bailey-Bond

Biography

Prano Bailey-Bond is a director and writer who grew up on a diet of Twin Peaks in the depths of a strange Welsh community. Named a 2021 ‘Director to Watch’ by Variety and a Screen International ‘Star of Tomorrow’, her strong body of work invokes imaginative worlds, fusing a dark vocabulary with eerie allure. Her debut feature CENSOR had its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, opening the Midnight section of the festival. The films’ European premiere will be at the Berlin Film Festival, playing the Panorama section.

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

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t obsessed with film but initially I thought I wanted to be a performer. It was during college when I directed a play – a version of Ionesco’s The Chairs – that I realised I wanted to direct – to craft and shape a production from the outside. Straight after this experience I started applying these ideas to film instead of theatre.

What was the last project you worked on / made?

My debut feature film CENSOR, which recently premiered at Sundance Film Festival and will have its European premiere at Berlin Film Festival. It’s a psychological horror film, or perhaps a mystery about horror, that follows a film censor working during the ‘video nasty’ era in 1980’s Britain.

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

Alongside the continued festival journey and release of CENSOR, I’m writing a couple of feature films and a TV series.

Useful links:

Darllen rhagor
Leyla Pope
Women’s History Month: Leyla Pope

Biography

After six years living in Geneva and working 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:

Darllen rhagor
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