Joanna Quinn
Women’s History Month: Joanna Quinn

Biography

Joanna Quinn is one of Britain’s most distinctive animators. Her first film, Girls Night Out (1987), featuring working-class heroine Beryl, was a humorous riposte to machismo and a celebration of uninhibited female sexuality that won three major awards at Annecy. Since introducing audiences to Beryl, Joanna and her writing and producing partner, Les Mills, have created three more personal films about her: Body Beautiful, Dreams and Desires: Family Ties, and Beryl’s newest adventure, Affairs of the Art. The politics of gender and oppression, along with Joanna’s obsessive fascination and delight with exploring the eccentricities of the female body, remain the central themes of their work together. Her films—including Britannia, a savage indictment of British imperialism—have won just about every major international award, including BAFTAs and Emmys, in addition to receiving two Oscar® nominations.

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

I first I realised I wanted to make films was in my first year at college. I was on a Graphic design course at Middlesex university back in the late 1980’s. We all had to do an animation project. I chose to draw a dog walking because our teacher said avoid legs at all costs, so I chose an animal with four of them (I’ve always been a bit stubborn!) When I filmed my drawings for the first time and watched the legs actually walking I felt like GOD! I still remember the overwhelming joy of making my drawings come to life and I knew right then that this is what I wanted to do for ever – make animated films.

What was the last project you worked on / made?

We have just finished a 16 minute animated film called Affairs of the Art. It took years to make and stars Beryl who actually first appeared in my graduation film Girls Night Out. This is the 4th Beryl film and this time she becomes an artist. It was released in January and is now on the festival circuit – sadly online until the pandemic subsides.

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

I am still recovering from finishing the last film but have started to get itchy fingers about making a new film but this time something very short and quick to make! Presently I’m doing a lot of online presentations and teaching which I love!

Useful Links:

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Carys Lewis
Women’s History Month: Carys Lewis

Biography

Carys is a Welsh-Canadian writer and director who most recently worked with Welsh National Opera as their Filmmaker in Residence where she created a trilogy of films: GRAM GIRL, ALT, a FLUORESCENCE (LFF 2019). She is currently developing her directorial debut, BLUE MOTHER, with the support of Ffilm Cymru Wales and co-writing the feature film, HOW BLACK MOTHERS SAY I LOVE YOU, with playwright Trey Anthony. The team are also adapting the story for TV under the title; HOW WE SAY ‘I LOVE YOU’, in development with the CBC. She wrote and directed a BFI funded comedy, STUFFED, which was nominated for a Welsh BAFTA in 2019 for Best Short Film. Her LGBTQ+ Welsh-language short, AFIACH, premiered at the Iris Prize Festival and was screened on BBC iPlayer and S4C.

As an advocate for equal representation of women in front of and behind the camera, Carys is the founder of FEM SCRIPT LAB, a writing lab for female and non-binary screenwriters in Toronto, and has launched the sister branch of the lab in the UK.

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

I came to filmmaking through theatre, so the realisation was more gradual for me, but I started out wanting to tell stories – whatever form that comes in. I think stories have the ability to transport us, to connect us, to cut across the usual barriers that divide us. 

What was the last project you worked on / made?

I’ve been mostly working on my TV writing projects during COVID, but I recently had the pleasure of mentoring Ashrah Suudy, a photographer making her first short film through the Film Wales/BBC Ffolio Scheme. It was a challenge filming during COVID, but she’s created a beautiful film that showcases Butetown in a way we haven’t seen before. 

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

I’m currently writing a feature film called BLUE MOTHER, which will be my first feature as a director. I’m excited about getting the story out there – the film will examine mother-daughter dynamics through the high-stakes lens of prostitution, sex-industry work, privilege, and morality, set in our internet-obsessed world.

Useful links:

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Mothers Day 2021
Depictions of Motherhood

For Mother’s Day in 2021 we’re thinking about motherhood and representations of maternal care, in their numerous alternative forms on screen. The Film Hub Wales Team have been reflecting on what this means to us individually.

Scroll down to see a list of films with Welsh connections from our Film Catalogue, plus wider British and international titles for #MothersDay that recognise how everyone’s experiences are different.

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Women's Month Montage
Mis Hanes Menywod: Dathlu Gwneuthurwyr Ffilm Benywaidd yng Nghymru

I ddathlu ''Mis Hanes Menywod'' mae tim Canolfan Ffilm Cymru yn edrych ymlaen i gyflwyno i chi #HereAreTheWomenWho

Drwy gydol mis Mawrth fe fyddwn yn rhyddhau cyfweliadau byr gyda'r rhai o'r menywod sydd yn ysgrifennu, cyfarwyddo ac yn adrodd straeon unigryw yng Nghymru. Fu ein tirwedd diwylliannol erioed mor gyfoethog Diolch i'r straeon gwirioneddol wreiddiol maen nhw wedi bod wrthi'n galed yn eu hadrodd.

Mae'r proffiliau hyn wedi'u casglu fel rhan o Gwnaethpwyd yng Nghymru - strategaeth Canolfan Ffilm Cymru sydd yn cefnogi arddangoswyr ac yn canolbwyntio ar amlygu ffilmiau - a gwneuthurwyr ffilmiau - gyda chysylltiadau Cymreig. Os hoffech wybod rhagpr am sut rydym yn cefnogi gwneuthurwyr ffilm a dosbarthwyr, cysylltwch gyda Radha, ein Swyddog Gwnaethpwyd yng Nghymru.

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Head Shot Efa
Women’s History Month: Efa Blosse-Mason

Biography

Efa Blosse-Mason is a filmmaker from Cardiff who wrote and directed a short Welsh language film ‘Cwch Deilen (Leaf Boat)’ which is currently on BBC iPlayer. Efa went to University at the Bristol School of Animation and her graduate film ‘Earthly Delights’ won the Royal Television Society Award for best student animation in 2019. Her work is usually focused on the themes of women, LGBTQ+ stories and nature.

Gwefan

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

I wanted to be a filmmaker from quite a young age, and when I was a teenager my parents gave me a camera for Christmas and I made a few short films with my friends. I thought I wanted to be a live-action filmmaker before I discovered animation. I did some work experience with an animation company, which made me decide to go to university to study it, and the more I did the more I fell in love with it.  I just love how you can create worlds and fantastical things.

What was the last project you worked on / made?

The last project I worked on was a really tiny 1 minute animation I made in collaboration with the singer Casi Wyn called ‘Y Genhinen Aur’ (‘The Golden Daffodil’ in English) which we made to celebrate St David’s day and the coming of spring…but also acknowledging the hard year we’ve collectively had due to the coronavirus pandemic…and the hope for better days ahead.  

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

I am currently doing something new and trying my hand at making a comic!  It’s a bit different from animation…telling a narrative across the space of a page rather than a timeline.  I am hoping to make it into a whole graphic novel but am at very early stages so far. I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels to get inspired, my favourites are ‘Fun Home’ by Alison Bechdel and ‘Persepolis’ by Marijane Strapi, ‘Maus’ by Art Spiegelman and ‘Ant Colony’ by Michael De Forge.

Useful links:

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Me B&W Graded
Women’s History Month: Liana Stewart

Biography

Liana Stewart is self-shooting Producer/Director from Cardiff with over 10 years experience producing factual, current affairs and documentary content for television. From landmark series to single documentaries and short form, recent credits as a self-shooting director include: Bafta award winning series Ambulance (BBC One), Get Your Knee Off My Neck (C4), Black and Welsh (BBC One Wales) and Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over (Sky).

Gwefan

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

I’ve always loved movies. I’d sit and watch Disney films on repeat as a kid but it wasn’t until I was a teenager – and I got the Spike Lee experience – that I thought…‘maybe I could do that’ – but it wasn’t directing and it was acting. I originally wanted to be a dancer and went to musical theatre college in London, but after the 1st year I came back to Cardiff to focus on acting. The plan was to imitate Spike Lee and direct films…and act in them too! Long story short, I ended up making factual programmes..not fiction and I wouldn’t change a thing..but I am still a Spike Lee fan!!

What was the last project you worked on / made?

The last series I worked on was Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over for Sky. It was so much fun and I got to make an episode in Wales!

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

I’m currently working on a development for a single documentary.

Useful links:

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Female Film Makers Hanna And Georgia
Women’s History Month: Hannah Daniel & Georgia Lee

Biographies

Hannah started her career as an actor and has worked for over 15 years in theatre, film and television. Credits include Hinterland, Keeping Faith, and Holby City. In 2016 she spent time  improvising at the UCB Theatre and The Groundlings in Los Angeles, where she began her work as  a writer-performer.  

Georgia started her career as a musician and songwriter and was signed to Island Records with her band JUCE. Since 2017 she has been working full time as a screenwriter and producer. She has  collaborated with screenwriter John-Henry Butterworth and a number of British and US production companies on a range of dramas for TV and film.

Gwefan

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

We met in university in 2005, studying English Literature. We lived together, studied together and, both avid  film fans and masters at procrastination, watched a lot of movies together. We’d watch the Coen Brothers’  back catalogue repeatedly – lapping up the fluidity of genre in their films – their darkness, their humour, the  breadth of wild and wonderful characters. We’d sit on the sofa dreaming up the films that we, like The Coen  Brothers, would one day write, direct and produce ourselves…  

Finally, in 2017, having started writing together a year previously for television, we decided it was time to write and direct our first short film. DESTINATION was shot in three days around Cardiff, in Hannah’s mum’s car on a  shoestring budget. It follows a day in the life of a young Welsh female Uber driver facing a huge life decision.  

The film went on to win multiple awards internationally.

What was the last project you worked on / made?  

We completed our short film BURIAL in August 2020 (As part of Beacons: Short Films From Wales). A dark comedy set in a very Welsh funeral, about grief, sisterhood and complicated family ties. We shot it in Port Talbot with a wealth of Welsh talent. We had a ball!  

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

We’re currently working on our first original feature script. Other projects in development include TV comedy NANNIES, a series following a bunch of delinquent childminders chancing their way through the madness of  Cardiff’s “New Parent” scene, and THE INVISIBLE WOMAN a truly unconventional superhero story.

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Ila Hijra
Women’s History Month: Ila Mehrotra

Biography

Ila Mehrotra was born in Delhi. She graduated from the University of Sussex and has worked in British film and television for the last decade. She has worked for broadcasters including BBC, Channel 4 and ITV on investigative documentaries for Dispatches and ITV Exposures and observational BBC 4 docs with Emmy and BAFTA winning directors. She has been involved in production on many different levels, including undercover filming and as a self-shooting AP working on her directorial feature debut.

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

I have always loved storytelling and the visual medium. I studied photography at the University of Sussex and, before I graduated, I started working on a Dispatches for Channel 4. I felt my love for storytelling and the visual medium meet and there has been no looking back since then.

What was the last project you worked on?

The last project I worked on was called ‘Eugenics – Science’s greatest Scandal’ for BBC 4 and I have also been working on my directorial feature ‘India’s 1st Trans Model Agency’ (AKA Hijra)… because of the lockdown I’ve had very exciting remote shoots with my characters in India through a trusted camerawoman…and amazing technology which allowed me to be present for the more sensitive scenes.

What are you working on now?

I’m just about to start work on an exciting project celebrating diversity in Wales with a leading Welsh production company for BBC Wales.

Useful links:

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WOW Film Festival Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom
4 Ways to Celebrate International Women’s Day 2021

IWD: International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the achievements of women.

Activity takes place worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality.

As we celebrate while staying at home this year, why not check out the many online programmes and events from our members and beyond that are celebrating IWD in a big way!

Look out for us on social media (@filmhubwales), where we’ll be spotlighting many brilliant female filmmakers in Wales, finding out what drives them to make films, and the inside scoop on their recent projects.

We also encourage you to raise your hand high to show your support, solidarity and your commitment to #ChooseToChallenge

Strike the Choose To Challenge pose as part of the IWD 2021 campaign theme and share on social media using #ChooseToChallenge #IWD2021 to encourage further people to commit to a more inclusive world. Tag us too, we want to see!

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Date Announcement FINAL (1)
WOW Wales One World Film Festival: Free & Online Festival, March 11-21 2021

Celebrating 20 years of eye-opening world cinema to Wales, WOW Wales One World Film Festival in partnership with Aberystwyth Arts Centre returns this March in a somewhat different guise. Instead of buying tickets to enter a darkened cinema, festival goers will be settling back into their sofas to view the films streaming online, for free.  

The free WOW Film Festival opens on Thursday 11th March, 10 years to the day since Japans devastating earthquake that led to the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. The first film, chosen to mark this sad anniversary, is 3:11 A Sense of Home, Naomi Kawases a collection of shorts from directors such as Oscar winner Bong Joon Ho (Parasite)Victor Erice and Patti Smith that explore timely themes of renewal, recovery and home. 

Gŵyl Ffilmiau WOWGreen Screen” selection includes several environmental films. Among WOW Festivals many international guest speakers this year is forest ranger turned best-selling German author Peter Wohlleben, whose film The Hidden Life of Trees has its UK online premiere. The growing local food movement is the theme of documentary First We Eat, whose director Suzanne Crocker will be joining live from Canadas frozen Yukon.  

One of sixteen online premieres, the strange and wonderful Sanctorum imagines the awesome power of nature unleashed to protect the traditional way of life in a mountain village. Beloved about an 82 year old woman devoted to the wild mountains and her cows will feature alongside a Q&A with producer Elaheh Nobakht from Tehran. 

Need a laugh? Feel good movies include comedies Arab Blues starring Iranian actress in exile Golshifteh Farahani (Paterson, The Patience Stone); The Whaler Boy set against the visually poetic backdrop of the Bering Strait and Joy, an international programme of short films curated from the best of Iris LGBT+ Film Festival. 

There is plenty of family viewing too. Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom is a heartwarming drama set in the worlds most remote school, high up in the mountains of Bhutan. Delfín follows a young boy whose determination to audition for a childrens orchestra takes him and his father on a life changing adventure. Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival are joining the WOW Womens Film Clubs International Womens Day celebration with a selection of animated family-friendly shorts by up and coming female animators in Japan. Running to the Sky sees young runner Jekshen competing for the top prize in traditional running races of Kyrgyzstan. 

Nature, gods and mysticism feature in WOWStrange Films for Strange Days” strand. Laoss only female film director Mattie Do is another guest speaker, alongside her wonderful ghost story The Long Walkpresented by Abertoir Festival. Abertoir are also presenting the chilling Malaysian folk-horror RohIn Tantas Almas/Valley of Souls about Colombias civil war, the swampy air of the magnificent Magdalena river is thick with mystery and fear.

Saturday 20th March is Nowruz, or Persian New Year. Iranian film curator Ehsan Khoshbakht will introduce his film about the vibrant world of Filmfarsi, a popular genre of cinema from the 1960s and 70s, alongside the UK online premiere of the restored version of the greatest Iranian movie of all time, The Deerwhich is rarely seen outside Iran.

The 2021 WOW Film Festival will wrap on Sunday 21st March, with a celebration of the UNs International Day of Forests. With the climate emergency, everyone is talking about planting trees. But are we going about it in the right way?

WOW Film Festival Director David Gillam said:

“It has been really exciting to put together our first online festival. Now people anywhere in the UK can join the party and discover what Welsh audiences have enjoyed for twenty years.We would like to thank all our funders and sponsors who have made it possible for us to brighten these dark days by providing the online festival entirely for free. Without the support of the Welsh Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund, this free festival would not have been possible.We’ve only thrived for so long thanks to the support of many great partners. But I would particularly like to thank everyone at our ‘spiritual home’ in Aberystwyth Arts Centre without whom we simply couldn’t have put on this year’s festival. Other film festivals in Wales have also provided essential support. As well as bringing the world to Wales, by taking WOW online, we can export the best of Welsh film festivals to the rest of the UK. I would also like to thank the many people who have supported WOW over the last twenty years.”

WOW Film festival is funded by The Welsh Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund, Ffilm Cymru Wales, National Lottery Communities Fund and Film Hub Wales as part of the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN), made possible by the National Lottery.

For all the news on the festival, visit ww.wowfilmfestival.com and sign up to the newsletter. 

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Rhys Big
Hollywood star Rhys Ifans opens new community screen room at Blaenau Ffestiniog’s cinema, CellB

On Saturday February 20, CellB’s second cinema screen was officially opened by none other than The Amazing Spiderman & Kingsman star Rhys Ifans, in a virtual livestream event. The screen has even been named after him as a gesture of appreciation for all his community youth work during the pandemic.  

This marks an exciting step forward for the local arts and culture industry, as well as creating more opportunities for youth projects, all of which have suffered greatly over the last year due to the Covid crisis.  

CellB is run by Gwallgofiad, a not for profit social enterprise that has been providing creative training for the young people of Blaenau Ffestiniog since 2003. Situated in the old police station, it has been a hub of activity over the years, hosting a range of gigs and youth projects, then expanding into a hostel, bar, restaurant and now most recently, a cinema.  

Owner and Blaenau local Rhys Roberts has always believed in broadening the horizons for young people, a core value behind CellB’s ‘Clwb Clinc’, a Welsh language youth club providing a range of free creative arts and media workshops. When the pandemic first struck in spring 2020, these workshops had to move online. Members still benefited from structured virtual meetings, and were also treated to Q&A sessions with Rhys Ifans and Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens. Since his first zoom appearance in May last year, Rhys Ifans proved a hit with the kids, forming a lasting mentorship and inspiring them to create their own videos, as well as committing to support future creative projects for the youths. 

Thanks to support from Art Council WalesCommunity Foundation WalesCist GwyneddFfilm Cymru Wales a Nod Canolfan Ffilm Cymru as part of the Rhwydwaith Cynulleidfa Ffilm BFI (FAN), made possible by the Loteri Cenedlaethol, this creative energy fueled Clwb Clinc’s reopening in August 2020, where the team worked together to reshuffle its priorities, namely asking the question, how to keep a cinema open in a socially-distanced world? It soon became clear that space was extremely important, with many of the locals having expressed concern about revisiting the cinema due to being in close proximity with others. It was decided that the upstairs courtroom, previously used for social events, would become the second screen, with its large space providing room for flexibility both in terms of functions and audience seating. This includes six ‘creative pods’ where the young people can also work on their projects outside of screen time. 

The aim of the cinema is to use any profits to subsidise the costs of these youth workshops, thus creating a sustainable community system that benefits the general public as well as young people. Training opportunities in box office and projection skills will also be provided, with the long-term goal of securing future work in the industry. Rhys Roberts says: 

 Past projects have proven that arts workshops often lead to the development of an exciting and successful career in the arts, whether in theatre, music, literature. I am confident that we can repeat this goal again and again.

In this time of restricted movement and social isolation people are yearning for ways to escape, and what better way to do so than to watch a good film in the (safely distanced) company of others? A diverse program is currently  being put together, featuring films from around the world as well as much loved classics. Films to be screened include Spirited AwayPain and Glory a Capernaum. 

The ‘Rhys Ifans Sgrin 2’ was opened with a live-stream event. Rhys Ifans said: 

 It is a great honor to be part of such an exciting initiative, the Cell B team & Gwallgofiaid is a great example of a community pulling together to create a safe and creative space for the young people of the area. 

 Having a Welsh-born actor opening a cinema screen in collaboration with the local youth project perfectly encapsulated the ethos behind CellB’s new venture. It’s a special mix of community-focused concern and forward-thinking innovation, whilst also following guidelines to keep everyone safe.

 Hana Lewis, Manager of Film Hub Wales adds:

The role of cinemas in our communities has become even more crucial during the pandemic. CellB continues to put their young creatives first, keeping them connected at a time when they are most at risk of isolation. The opening of screen two, with the invaluable support of Rhys Ifans, is a testament to their hard work and creativity.

Keep an eye out for Cellb’s ‘Sinema’r Byd’ film package takeaway box coming soon. At a time where we can’t travel let Cellb take you on a world voyage through film, food and drink. Boxes will vary each week with a diverse range of specialised, independent and world cinema films on DVD accompanied by street food snacks and drinks from the visited country.

www.cellb.org

Watch the opening of Sgrin2 live stream on Youtube

ENDS

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St Davids Day Collage
Film Hub Wales Recommends: Saint David’s Day Edition

In celebration of Saint David’s Day coming up, the Film Hub Wales team have picked just a handful of films with welsh connections to watch at home. See below for our personal recommendations, but you can also find our full Made in Wales film catalogue, and an extensive list of films with Welsh connections that can be watched while at home yma.

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