Dewiniaeth Gymreig

Apply for funds to explore the timeless magic of Wales on screen. Bring spells, spirits and folklore to your audiences through a season of films about Welsh witchcraft.

Throughout the 15ed and 17ed centuries, mass hysteria and accusations of witchcraft spread across the globe from North America. They were soon followed by persecutions. Women – by the majority – were hunted down, hanged and burned at the stake in events that are now famously mythologised, romanticised and depicted on the big screen.  

In Wales, only 5 people were executed for ‘crimes’ of witchcraft. Unlike in England and Scotland, very few were accused and those that were tried, were largely acquitted.  

Drawing on their Celtic roots and a deep connection with the environment, ‘rituals’, ‘prayers’, ‘blessings’ and non-Christian religious spiritual practises were so familiar to Welsh people who practised dewiniaeth or magic, that it was easy to tell apart real witchcraft apart from the accusations. Women, in Wales, would not be sacrificed for the sake of superstition our purity. 

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. 

Today, a new generation of young, Welsh witches are emerging. A greater push towards learning Welsh, protecting the environment and global conversations around ‘decolonising’ are encouraging more Welsh people to revisit their cultural practices.  

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 and how can film help us to explore this? 

As Rungano Nyoni’s I am not a Witch Programme reaches its 5ed anniversary, programme Dewiniaeth Gymreig this autumn and winter with a specially curated season of features, documentaries and short films about witchcraft in Wales.  

FHW members can access financial support to get involved up to January 2023. 

If you would like to screen any of the films from the curated list, or you have an idea for a themed event, activity or discussion that you would like to programme alongside, we can offer: 

  • Bursaries of up to £500, 

Mae enghreifftiau o’r costau y gallwn eu talu yn cynnwys:  

  • Ticket subsidy (towards loss of income on free screenings), 
  • Marchnata,  
  • Allgyrraedd cymunedol,  
  • Gwerth ychwanegol (costau Holi ac Ateb, gweithdai),  
  • Audience evaluation,  
  • Staffing. 

All you need to do is get in touch by email to lisa@filmhubwales.org and tell us: 

  • Your proposed screening/event date (ideally between Sept – Jan 22. February and March 23 may be considered), 
  • Film titles, 
  • Rhifau cynulleidfa,  
  • Unrhyw gynlluniau ar gyfer digwyddiad arbennig,  
  • Eich syniadau marchnata,  
  • Costau rydych chi angen help gyda nhw,  
  • What match you can offer (in-kind time etc). 

We will accept proposals on a rolling basis.  

This list is not exhaustive, you may apply for costs to support films of your choice: 

Annwn 
Fantasy drama set in rural North Wales in the fictional town of Annwn, a modern interpretation of the Celtic Otherworld that was home to the sorceress, Rhiannon. The story follows Ann, a talented young healing witch who dreams of using her gifts to help others. However, in this divided town, her idealism faces more and more obstacles in the form of mayor Gerallt Hopkins and his police goons. With her sister Cathryn and coven mother Tangrwst on her side, can Ann defy the odds against prejudice?
Length: 11 minutes
Language: English
Accessibility: Check with rightsholder
Format: DCP
Booking contact: ffionartist@gmail.com

Dashcam
Synopsis:
Two friends embark on a horror-fueled road trip and livestream the most terrifying night of their lives.
Length: 80 minutes
Language: English
Accessibility: Check with rightsholder
Format: Check with rightsholder
Booking contact: Entertainment One

Druids 
In this delightful stop-motion comedy of megalithic proportions, travel through the mysterious mists of time and join three wise old druids on a quest to restore the balance of their world after an inexplicable catastrophe. Sunspots is the debut animated film by Shwan Nosratpour, in which he brings his charming handmade models to life.
Length:  13 minutes
Language: Silent film
Accessibility: English Subtitles & close caption
Format: MOV, MP4
Booking contact: hannah@severnscreen.co

Gwen 
In the stark beauty of 19th Century Snowdonia a young girl tries desperately to hold her home together. Struggling with her mother’s mysterious illness, her father’s absence and a ruthless mining company encroaching on their land. A growing darkness begins to take grip of her home, and the suspicious local community turns on Gwen and her family.
Length:  84 minutes
Language: English
Accessibility: English Subtitles & close caption
Format: DCP, BLU-RAY
Booking contact: info@bulldog-film.com

Gwledd (The Feast) 
When a wealthy family and their guests gather for a dinner party in the remote Welsh countryside, they have little idea of what awaits them. Hosted at their luxurious new house, the family have a valuable mining venture at stake and the atmosphere is tense. The arrival of a mysterious young woman who has been hired as a waitress brings a quiet, unsettling presence to the evening. And as the night progresses, she soon begins to challenge the family’s beliefs, unravelling the illusion they’ve created with slow, deliberate, and terrifying consequences…
Length: 1 hr 33 minutes
Language: Welsh
Accessibility: Welsh and English subtitles and closed captions
Format: DCP
Booking contact: bill.s@picturehouses.co.uk

Howl’s moving castle (book based in Wales) 
Young Sophie is eighteen, and works tirelessly every day making hats in the shop once owned by her deceased father. On a rare outing to town, Sophie accidentally encounters the wizard Howl. Howl is dashing, terribly handsome, yet as wizards go, he’s a bit of a wimp. They are spotted by the Witch of the Waste, who mistakes the nature of the relationship between them. Seized by jealousy, she casts a spell on Sophie, transforming her into a withered ninety-year-old woman
Length: 119 minutes
Language: Japanese (dubbed in English)
Accessibility: Check with rightsholder
Format: DCP, DVD
Booking contact: Wild Bunch: feripret@wbinter.eu

I am not a Witch (5ed year anniversary)
Synopsis: After a minor incident in her village, nine-year-old Shula is exiled to a travelling witch camp where she is told that if she tries to escape she will be transformed into a white goat. As she navigates through her new life, she must decide whether to accept her fate or risk the consequences of seeking freedom.
Length: 98 minutes
LanguageEnglish, Nyanja, Bemba a Tonga (Tonga Islands)
Accessibility: English subtitles and closed captions
Format: DVD, BLU-RA
Booking contact: bookings.films@bfi.org.uk

Lux Aeterna
Synopsis: Two actresses, Béatrice Dalle and Charlotte Gainsbourg, are on a film set telling stories about witches – but that’s not all. ‘Lux Æterna’ is also an essay on cinema, the love of film, and on-set hysterics.
Length:  51 minutes
Language: French, English, Danish
Accessibility: Check with rightsholder
Format: Check with rightsholder
Booking contact: Arrow Films

Mystic Cords of Memory 
Mystic Chords of Memory explores how people experience and maintain connections to their shared past and culture through narratives about place. Set in Wales this unconventional documentary touches on a breadth of topics and features locals across the country, including a storyteller who practices ‘mythic maintenance’ on his favorite historical site, a land-based artist creating work about the life of slate quarry workers, former coal miners, village elders, political activists, sheep farmers, and practitioners of Celtic spirituality.
Length: 109 minutes
Language: English, Welsh
Accessibility: Check with rights holder
Format: DCP, MOV / MP4
Booking contact: laurenemeverett@gmail.com

Otherworld / Y Mabinogi 
Synopsis: Based on a series of Welsh tales written in the Middle Ages, Y Mabinogi follows friends moving from their world in West Wales to the setting of the mythological Four Brances of the Mabinogi. They encounter some problems with medieval life and have to deal with the conflict between fate, personal choice and magic.
Length:  108 minutes
Language: Welsh and English
Accessibility: Check with rightsholder
Format: DVD
Booking contact: S4C

Possession
Synopsis
: A woman starts exhibiting increasingly disturbing behavior after asking her husband for a divorce. Suspicions of infidelity soon give way to something much more sinister.
Length: 124 minutes
Language: English, French, German
Accessibility: Check with rightsholder
Format: Check with rightsholder
Booking contact: Second Sight (TBC)

Silent Twins (releasing December 2022)
June and Jennifer Gibbons are twins from the only Black family in a small town in Wales in the 1970s and ’80s. Feeling isolated from the community, the pair turn inward and reject communication with everyone but each other, retreating into their own fantasy world of inspiration and adolescent desires. After a spree of vandalism, the girls are sentenced to Broadmoor, an infamous psychiatric hospital, where they face the choice to separate and survive or die together.
Length:  113 minutes
Language: English
Accessibility: check with rights holder
Format: DCP
Booking contact: Jonny.Ramsay@nbcuni.com 

St Maud 
Live-in nurse Maud (Morfydd Clark) arrives at the home of Amanda (Jennifer Ehle), a famous dancer now frail from illness and trapped in her grand, isolated house. At first Amanda is intrigued by this religious young woman, who provides distraction from her failing health. Maud, in turn, is bewitched by her new patient. But Maud is not all that she seems…
Length:  84 minutes
Language: English and Welsh
Accessibility: English subtitles
Format: DCP, DVD, Blu-Ray
Booking contact: (theatrical): info@parkcircus.com (non-theatrical): info@filmbankmedia.com

Suspiria
Synopsis:
A darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.
Length: 2 hours 32 minutes
Language: English, German, French
Accessibility: Check with rightsholder
Format: Check with rightsholder
Booking contact: Mubi

The Black Cauldron 
In the land of Prydain, lowly pig herder Taran  dreams of becoming a gallant knight. Young Taran receives his heroic calling when the evil Horned King  kidnaps Hen-Wren, a prophesying pig that had been entrusted to Taran. Now, with help from his furry sidekick Gurgi and Princess Eilonwy, Taran must locate the magical black cauldron before the Horned King is able to use its mystical powers to summon an army of the undead.
Length:  122 minutes
Language: English
Accessibility: Check with rights holder
Format: DVD, BLU-RAY
Booking contact: Film Bank Media

The Love Witch 
Synopsis: A modern-day witch uses spells and magic to get men to fall in love with her, with deadly consequences.
Length: 120 minutes
Language: English
Accessibility: Check with rightsholder
Format: Check with rightsholder
Booking contact: Park Circus

The Witches
A young boy stumbles onto a witch convention and must stop them, even after he has been turned into a mouse.
Length: 91 minutes
Language: English
Accessibility: check with rightsholder
Format: DVD, BLU-RAY
Booking contact: Film Bank Media

Witchcraft in Wales 1964 
Synopsis: Witchcraft, Welsh witchcraft – it’s strictly taboo. A clip from Wales Today, originally broadcast 23 June 1964
Length:  21 minutes
Language: English
Accessibility: No accessible formats
Format: MXF / MP4
Booking contact: TBC

We’re cooking up some ideas in our mixing pot.. Look out for updates soon!

Image Credits: Mystic Cords of Memory © Lauren Everett, I Am Not A Witch © BFI, Druids © Severn Screen, Gwledd © Picturehouse Entertainment, Gwen © Bulldog Film Distribution, St Maud © StudioCanal UK

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