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Directed by Dylan Williams, the heartwarming new film Men who Sing is a portrait of a Welsh male choir and their hunt for ‘brown haired men’ in their 40s and 50s who can save the choir from declining numbers.

This humorous and melancholic portrait of a male voice choir begins when the filmmakers’ father, widower Ed, 90, sells the family home and arranges his own funeral.

His only remaining solace is Tuesday night practice, but with an average age of 74 and suffering a hemorrhaging of the bass section his beloved choir is facing a crisis of its own.

They must act or face extinction. So the hunt begins to find ‘brown haired men’ in their 40s and 50s who can take the choir forward.

As their search intensifies we come closer to them. Whilst Ed finds new meaning, Merf deals with his own bad news by focusing on the Choirs revival and Gwyn laughs at his prostate cancer diagnosis and walks on the wing of a plane to raise money.

Finally, they raise themselves and travel to Northern Ireland to perform for the first time in 20 years.

Director Dylan Williams explained: “The story began when my father telephoned me for the first time since I had moved to Sweden 15 years earlier, to tell me that he had sold the family home and was busy throwing the majority of its contents into a hired skip.

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“Upon my return to help him move, I found him preparing his funeral arrangements. Despite him enjoying excellent health, he is nonetheless 90, and since the death of my mother he had felt increasingly isolated.

“The one notable outlier however was his beloved choir. For almost 70 years my father has been the bottom bass in the Trelawnyd Male Voice Choir situated in the neglected former industrial area of North East Wales.

“I followed him to practice on the first night of my arrival, and found myself faced with a room full of men that I have known since my childhood – all now in their eighties but still singing together.

“The decision to make a film came straight from my heart. It is a humorous melancholic tale that deals with loneliness, old age, as well as community and friendship as a group of proud choristers fight to find new blood to keep their beloved choir alive.

Men who Sing is in select cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema from Friday 5 November.

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Carmarthen

Major new TV drama latest to choose Carmarthenshire as its setting

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Carmarthenshire County Council has been working with location scouts and the production team to support the filming of a new thriller, which is using the county as its backdrop.

Y Golau/The Light In The Hall, produced by Triongl Cyf and Duchess Street Productions, is being filmed in Welsh and English and is set to air on S4C and Channel 4 in the UK, and Sundance Now in the US.

Cast and crew have been working in and around Llandovery, Carmarthen, Llangadog and Llandeilo over the past few weeks.

Actors including Joanna Scanlan, currently starring as Ma Larkin in the hit ITV family drama The Larkins, and Iwan Rheon of Game of Thrones, are amongst those featuring in the thriller.

The council has been working to ensure the local area benefits financially from the production with location fees, accommodation and associated spending on food and retail in the Llandovery, Carmarthen, and surrounding areas set to bring a substantial boost to the local economy.

Council officers have also ensured minimal disruption to communities for the duration of the filming, with traffic management and access to local businesses unaffected.

This is the latest major production to be located in Carmarthenshire, on the back of the hugely successful Keeping Faith drama based in Laugharne and Carmarthen, and Save The Cinema, a film due to be released on Sky in the New Year.

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Although Llandovery and Carmarthen will see the most activity, other locations across the county are also hosting film crews for a range of other productions at the moment.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “Yet again Carmarthenshire has been chosen as the location for a major production, which proves that what we have got to offer is enough to attract the best companies in the world.

“Our officers have been supporting the crew to scout locations, contact local landowners and liaise with partners – all part of our efforts to support the growth of the local economy. When we are able to attract productions of this scale, we are able to bring new money into the area – a cast and crew of around 60 people are staying and spending locally, and that means money in the tills of local businesses and in the pockets of local people.”

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, added: “We are very fortunate to have such a range of locations suitable for filming in Carmarthenshire, from large beaches that stretch for miles, to rural and urban landscapes, rolling countryside and historic buildings. We have worked hard to grow our reputation as a location for filming and that is paying off with more enquiries being made to us all the time. It will be fantastic to see Carmarthenshire featured on the screen once again.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Business

Council closes cinema that refused to follow COVID rules

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Swansea Council’s licensing and trading standards officers issued a 28 day closure notice to independent cinema Cinema & Co last night (Thursday 18 November).

The move comes after cinema manager Anna Redfern published a ‘manifesto’ to the businesses social media on Wednesday saying that the Welsh Government’s introduction of a COVID pass for cinemas, theatres and music halls was an “infringement of our human rights”.

Redfern refused to implement the COVID pass law at her cinema, calling it “nonsensical” and “unnecessary”.

Council Licencing and Trading Standards officers visited the Castle Street business on Thursday evening and issued an immediate 28 day closure notice.

The notice said that Cinema and Co had not completed a COVID risk assessment, staff had no training on how to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and there was no implementation of the COVID pass scheme.

It was also noted that there was no signage advising customers to wear face coverings and there was inadequate cleaning products to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The business will now remain closed for 28 days unless they can show that they have taken measures to address the issues highlighted.

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Campaigners who oppose the Welsh Government’s COVID-19 regulations immediately launched a crowdfunder for Redfern to cover the costs of her closure.

Aiming to raise £10,000, the fundraiser reached over £25,000 overnight.

Prior to the closure, the Welsh Government said: “The use of NHS COVID pass for cinemas, theatres and concert halls is required by law in Wales – it is not optional for these venues.

“Cases of coronavirus in Wales remains very high. The NHS COVID pass is another way we’re strengthening the measures we have n place to keep us all safe.”

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Arts and Entertainment

Independent Swansea cinema refuses to follow COVID pass law

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Cinema & Co on Swansea’s Castle Street is refusing to follow the Welsh Government’s new COVID pass law, claiming it is “nonsensical” and “unnecessary”.  

Cinema manager Anna Redfern goes on to claim that the Welsh Government’s new law mandating that all people must show a COVID pass to enter cinema’s, theatres and concert halls is an “infringement of our human rights”.

In a facebook post Redfern quotes passages from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and publishes her own ‘manifesto’.

The Welsh Government insist that the passes can play a key role in keeping people safe.

Opposition politicians, including the Welsh Liberal Democrat’s Jane Dodds MS say that “the Welsh Government has provided no evidence its COVID pass scheme has reduced transmission of COVID-19 nor has it provided an evidence as to why cinemas, theatres and music halls were unfairly singled out over other indoor spaces.”

Cinema & Co’s move to flout the new law has proved controversial on social media. A number of commenters on Cinema and Co’s facebook page voiced their displeasure at the move and concern for rising infection rates.

The move was welcomed in other quarters however, particularly by those who express anti-vaccination sentiments.

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The Welsh Government said: “The use of NHS COVIS pass for cinemas, theatres and concert halls is required by law in Wales – it is not optional for these venues.

“Cases of coronavirus in Wales remain very high. The NHS COVID pass is another way we’re strengthening the measures we have in place to keep us all safe.”

(Lead image: Cinema & Co)

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