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The Tryweryn tragedy, a devilish daughter, and Delhi’s transgender community all feature in new projects supported by Ffilm Cymru Wales’ Development fund. “Ffilm Cymru Wales is proud to attract some of the most exciting and original filmmaking talent in Wales. We’ve seen a 300% increase in the amount of projects in development converting into production over the last three years, which is in no small part due to our Magnifier system of support for talent, as well as our commitment to an inclusive film culture.” Kimberley Warner Head of Creative Business

These latest additions to the Ffilm Cymru Wales slate demonstrate a broad spectrum of stories from diverse voices; all of the projects feature a female lead or colead character, and have at least one woman in the core creative team; almost half have BAME and/or LGBTQ talent in the writer, director or producer role, as well as featuring on-screen representation; and 40% of the projects are in Welsh language.

HIJRA A colourful, kaleidoscopic dive into the mysterious and brutal lives of the oldest transgender community in the world. Delhi’s Hijras find themselves on the cusp of redefining their identity as new laws and a determined activist begin to make waves. Indian-Welsh director Ila Mehrotra Jenkins and producer Andrew Smith are moving into feature documentaries with this project, having worked together on many high quality and prime time investigations and documentaries for BBC4, Channel 4, ITV and Vice News.

H O W B L A C K M OT H E R S S AY I L O V E YO U Based on Trey Anthony’s successful stage play, this searing drama follows a black lesbian social worker, who returns to her hometown to make amends with her terminally ill mother. Welsh-Canadian filmmaker Carys Lewis is adapting the script for screen alongside Trey Anthony, while Clement Virgo (Greenleaf, The Wire) will direct. How Black Mothers Say I Love You will be Carys Lewis’ debut feature, following her Ffilm Cymru Wales and BFI NETWORK supported shorts Stuffed and Afiach. Lewis is also co-founder of the SHIFFT Female Filmmakers collective, and was recently appointed the first Welsh National Opera Filmmaker in Residence.

THE PROMISE The director of Hinterland / Y Gwyll follows his haunting debut feature The Passing / Yr Ymadawiad with this psychological period horror. In an isolated Mid-Wales community in 1890, a young girl - Mari - is branded a whore after a liaison with a visiting schoolmaster. As the community brutally turns against Mari, she turns to the Devil to help her to wreak her revenge. Producer Ed Talfan and director Gareth Bryn are working with writers Caryl Lewis and Mark Andrew; the team recently worked together on Severn Screen’s 8-part drama series Craith / Hidden. The series was co-created by Mark Andrew and Ed Talfan and will screen on the BBC later this year.

RHIANNON Set against the wider canvas of the enforced drowning of the Tryweryn Valley in North Wales by powerful, uncaring authority, one woman struggles amid the destruction with her own very particular and personal heartbreak. A Welsh language story of loss and fragility, Rhiannon is to be written by Manon Eames, whose novel and stage play Porth y Byddar received critical acclaim, with Bethan Eames (Eldra, Cwcw) producing and Roger Williams (Bang) on board as Executive Producer.

TREMBLE A bilingual thriller based on the true story of Henry Tremble, a Carmarthenshire butler who set out to murder his employer and family one day in 1876. For her debut feature film, Welsh writer-director Tracy Spottiswoode is also exploring opportunities to blend live theatre and film with pioneering immersive technology. Tremble will be produced by Moon Dogs’ Kathy Speirs. For more information on Ffilm Cymru Wales development funding, and their innovative Magnifier approach, please visit

D o c u m e n ta ry film abo ut one of B r i ta i n ’ s m ost maveri ck perform to hit SXSW ers for its Wor ld Premier e Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story took director and producer Steve Sullivan five years to complete and the film received backing from over 3,000 crowdfunders. Production finance came from Ffilm Cymru Wales with further support from 104 Films and Fat Controller Management Ltd. Steve Sullivan’s debut feature documentary Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story has been selected for SXSW and will receive its World Premiere between 12th and 14th March in Austin, Texas. Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story explores the extraordinary secret life of artist Chris Sievey, best known as his alter ego Frank Sidebottom, the maverick British comedian in a fake head.

Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story will screen at SXSW in the in the festival’s 24 Beats Per Second strand that showcases the sounds, culture and influence of music and musicians, with an emphasis on documentary. Further information via

Frank Sidebottom, remembered fondly as the man with the papier-mâché head, was the court jester of the Manchester music and comedy scene for over 25 years. He had his own TV show, and played at Wembley Stadium but only a privileged few knew the man inside that huge head. Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story tells a twisted tale of split personalities - a suburban superhero with a fanatical desire to preserve the myth he created, and eventually having to battle against being consumed by his alter ego. The film includes extensive archive from Chris’s personal collection of hundreds of boxes of notebooks, home movies, art and music. Insights from Chris’s family, friends, and colleagues, including Jonny Vegas, Jon Ronson, John Cooper Clarke, Ross Noble and Mark Radcliffe, finally reveal the hidden story of Chris Sievey - a musician, songwriter, artist, comedian, filmmaker, performance artist and wayward genius.

“For the film to be given its World Premiere at SXSW in Austin, Texas is unbelievably exciting. To know that Chris Sievey and Frank Sidebottom’s work and legacy is about to be launched on such an important international stage is a tremendous feeling. I can’t wait to bring the film back to the UK and launch it in the biggest possible way later in the year.” Steve Sullivan, Director


Bankside Films has taken international sales rights to the film and will be introducing it to buyers for the first time at the European Film Market in Berlin. Bankside Films announced that Academy Award® nominee Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water, Paddington, Submarine, Happy-Go-Lucky) will star in writer/director Craig Roberts’ Eternal Beauty alongside Alice Lowe (Prevenge, Adult Life Skills, Sightseers) and Golden Globe nominee David Thewlis (Wonder Woman, The Theory of Everything, Harry Potter). Set to start production this Spring on location in Wales, the comedy drama is Produced by Adrian Bate and Executive Produced by Pip Broughton of Cliff Edge Pictures, Mary Burke for the BFI, Adam Partridge for Ffilm Cymru Wales, Meroë Candy for Wellcome and Paul Higgins. The film is backed by the Welsh Government, the BFI with funding from the National Lottery, Ffilm Cymru Wales and Wellcome. Eternal Beauty follows Roberts’ 2015 feature directorial debut Just Jim, which was nominated for a BAFTA Cymru award, and the first for his production company banner, Cliff Edge Pictures. Roberts is also set to star in the forthcoming Tolkien biography, and has numerous acting

credits which include Kill Your Friends, 22 Jump Street, Submarine and Amazon’s Red Oaks. When June is rejected by life, she spirals into a chaotic, schizophrenic world, where love and normality collide often with humorous consequences. Bankside Films exclusively represents foreign sales rights for the film, while Endeavour Content and Bankside Films co-represent domestic sales rights. Producer Adrian Bate of Cliff Edge Pictures said, “Eternal Beauty represents Craig’s ‘coming of age’ as a director and his unique authorship will surprise and delight both new and existing audiences. And we are so fortunate to have the chance to work with a wonderful cast who will inhabit and enhance Craig’s vision and characters.” Craig Roberts said, “I want to shine a light into some pretty dark places but I want to do it with affection, humour and respect. I’ve been living with the characters in Eternal Beauty for a while now and it feels like the right time to share them. I’m in my oils.”

1 3 n e w L G BT s h o r t f i l m s available for free The Iris Prize’s groundbreaking film library continues to expand thanks to Big Lottery Fund Wales and Ffilm Cymru Wales. Organisers of the Iris Prize have released 13 new short films on their ground-breaking LGBT film library. Launched in 2016 the film library now has 30 short films which have been produced by community groups and secondary school pupils from all over Wales. Available free of charge on YouTube, the films are all unique telling a different story using comedy as well as hard hitting drama to communicate their message. Côr Blimey by South Wales Gay Men’s Chorus, which covers the choir’s successful journey to compete at the Cornwall International Male Choral Festival was also a winner at the 2018 Iris Prize Community and Short Film Awards. The award-winning film is one of 7 made by community groups and organizations in Wales, the remaining films were made by The Office of National Statistics, Wales Audit Office, RainbowBiz, Shelter Cymru, Swansea People First and Glitter Cymru. Commenting on Côr Blimey the jury said: “Côr Blimey was the whole package- re-watchable, engaging, and enjoyable for a very wide audience. It could even change attitudes.” PLUS was made by pupils from Stanwell School in Penarth was voted the winner in the education category of the

2018 Iris Prize Community and Education Short Film Awards. The film asks the question “what exactly does the “+” in “LGBT+” mean? Lucas a pupil at Stanwell takes the viewer on a journey through his school identifying the notso-visible sexualities, and the stigmas surrounding these minorities. The education jury commented on PLUS said “We were impressed with the originality of the content and the energy in its delivery. It brought out details of members of the community that are not usually covered and the use of humour was very effective.” The new collection includes a further five short films made by pupils from Ysgol Dyffryn Aman, Ammanford; Ysgol Tryfan, Bangor; Eastern High School, Cardiff; Lewis School Pengam, Bargoed and Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn, Castell Newydd Emlyn. Andrew Pierce, Iris Prize Chair, commented: “Community groups and school pupils across Wales have been busy over the past 12 months discussing films, putting on mini Iris film festivals and producing their own short films. I’m delighted that 13 new short films will be available to view on our You Tube channel. The stories and themes cover everything from music through to religion and homophobia, which continues to be a problem for LGBT people.” The films can be viewed by visiting the Iris Prize You Tube channel.

H ea v enly N o m a d i c t o l a u n c h 2018 WOW Film Festival The film from Krygyzstan will open the 2018 WOW Film Festival at Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea on Tuesday 13th March.

One of this year’s highlights is the hugely powerful, stunningly beautiful Aboriginal tale Sweet Country directed (and filmed) by Warwick Thornton, who made the memorable Samson & Delilah.

WOW’s special focus for 2018 is ‘Tales from the Silk Road,’ a cinematic journey across the heart of the world. Following the ancient trade networks from China through Mongolia and Central Asia to the Mediterranean, this programme presents some outstanding films that have won festival awards across the world.

Not to be missed is highly acclaimed The Square, a wickedly funny, bracingly surreal satire on the pretensions of high art.

At Taliesin the festival will feature the beautiful Heavenly Nomadic from Krygyzstan about a family of horse breeders. With its wistful humour, this is a warm, atmospheric, sweet natured tale about nomadic traditions that are slowly disappearing from the magnificent mountains of Central Asia. Set on the shores of the Caspian Sea the visually striking The Gulls plays out amongst the striking cultural mix of Kalmkyia, the only country in Europe where Buddhism is the national religion.

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F i r s t l o o k at R a f e S pall in Den m ark Ffilm Cymru Wales, BBC Films and WestEnd Films release a first look at Rafe Spall as “Herb” in Denmark. Principal photography has now wrapped on the comedy movie directed by Adrian Shergold (Funny Cow, Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman, Mad Dogs TV series), which filmed on location in Wales and Denmark. Herb (Rafe Spall) can fix pretty much anything, a broken clock, a radio, the only thing he can’t fix is his own life. He’s out of work, he can only just afford a birthday card for his son, the loud neighbours keep him awake day and night, the local kids have just mugged him for his trainers – and it’s raining. Herb has had enough. Sitting in his cold flat in soggy socks, physically and mentally bruised, he knows he has to do something to turn his luck around. When he stumbles on a TV programme about the luxury of Danish

prisons Herb finds the answer he’s been looking for: organic food, a flat screen TV, healthcare, a dentist, peace and quiet. It will be hard to leave behind his friends and the green valleys of South Wales, but now he knows what he has to do to find his second chance in life. Herb needs to make it to Denmark… and get arrested. Denmark is written by Jeff Murphy (BAFTA winner Hinterland TV series) and is produced by Ed Talfan (Hinterland, The Passing, upcoming Netflix film Apostle) and David Aukin (Hyde Park on Hudson, Endgame, Churchill’s Secret). Crew members include Editor Tania Reddin (Funny Cow, Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman, Luther TV series) and DoP Ulf Brantas (The Wife, We Are the Best!). Denmark was developed and financed by BBC Films and Ffilm Cymru Wales.

Three new community films are now available to watch. These films came out of a collaborative project between National Theatre Wales and Ffilm Cymru Wales, which enabled a programme of community film education to accompany We’re Still Here, National Theatre Wales’ latest show, created in co-production with Common Wealth. We’re Still Here was a dynamic new piece of theatre focusing on the Port Talbot steelworks, one of the last heavy industries in Wales, which was threatened with closure in 2015.

S tories of S teel This film was created with community members from Neath Port Talbot in partnership with Tai Tarian Housing Association and Neath Port Talbot College. Community members were interviewed about their memories of the Steel Industry and learnt skills in practical film-making through workshops in different film techniques.

W e ’ re S till H ere : B ehind the S cenes This film documents and captures the collective community experience around the creative process undertaken during the development of We’re Still Here. It focuses on the community cast’s experience of being part of a major National Theatre Wales performance.

S teel T own This film was created with young people from DEWIS Supported Housing in Neath Port Talbot and was based on a poem written by Port Talbot resident Sally Jones. The young people gained skills in creating film poetry and other practical filmmaking skills. Watch the films free at

I A m N o t a W it c h o n D V D a n d B l u - r ay Rungano Nyoni’s BAFTA-nominated film is available to own now A present-day African drama about beliefs in witchcraft, I Am Not a Witch revolves around a nine-year-old girl – Shula - who is accused of being a witch. As she navigates through her new life, she must decide whether to accept her fate or risk the consequences of seeking freedom. The film premiered in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight last year, before being selected for the Toronto, London and Sundance film festivals. I Am Not a Witch was recently nominated for Outstanding Debut By a British Writer, Director Or Producer at this year’s BAFTAs, and last year won three British Independent Film Awards, including Best Breakthrough Producer for Emily Morgan and Best Director for Rungano Nyoni. Nyoni was born in Zambia and raised in Cardiff, Wales, which remains her home. Before making her feature debut, she made several short films, including BAFTA Cymru winner The List, and was supported from an early stage by Ffilm Cymru Wales through the BFI NETWORK Wales emerging talent fund. I Am Not a Witch is available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray through Curzon Artificial Eye.

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Ffilm 18 Issue 01  
Ffilm 18 Issue 01  

Welcome to the latest update on Ffilm Cymru Wales news, events, and more.