A unique film project which brought together Swansea University students, staff and the community to showcase the beauty of Gower will be officially launched next month.
The Gŵyr documentary series is a collection of films which each capture elements of local history, culture, ecosystems and natural resources.
They have been created by a not-for-profit community-driven project which saw residents sharing their experiences while working with students and filmmakers.
The project has been led by media and communication lecturer Georgios Dimitropoulos and the films will all be available for free on YouTube following a special premiere at Taliesin Arts Centre on June 10.
The event will mark the end of a five-year-collaboration between 25 students and more than 40 contributors ranging from Gower residents, farmers, environmentalists, and scientists to academics, historians, and research scholars.
Georgios said: “It has allowed us to not only offer innovative teaching and practical learning experiences to students but also gave us a chance to engage with the community and private sector, collaborate with the third sector and forge partnerships with creative industries.
“Our films aim to present the harmonious blend and integration of Welsh culture over time. Our mission is to capture and document Gower’s natural beauty and cultural, historical, and environmental characteristics.”
For the project, the team collaborated with award-winning actor and producer Vincent De Paul who took part in the films and represented them at film festivals around the world as well as private screenings with Hollywood executives. So far, the Gŵyr series has picked up 17 awards for Best Documentary, Best Film, and Best Cinematography.
Now Georgios is eager the films receive as wide an audience as possible. He said: “The series has been five years in the making, and it has been a long and wonderful journey. We want our work to be available for everyone to see. But this is just the start, we plan to carry the project on and produce another season of films.”
Associate Professor Richard Thomas, head of the Department of Media and Communication, said: “Georgios’s work is a great example of how our students are integrated into professional projects – the work experience they get is invaluable for them. A key element of our department’s success is that our teaching is always relevant for the sorts of jobs that our graduates might be moving into after their degrees.”
One of the students who took part said being involved had been very exciting: “It exposed us to professional standards.
Another said: “The University’s Film Hub has amazing facilities and the shoot was an opportunity for us to really get to know the business better,” while another described the experience as an adventure and a challenge. “I would definitely do it again,” she added.
Head of the School of Culture & Communication Professor Sian Rees added: “This is a great example of the way that staff and students within the School are connecting with our local environment and culture, positioning ourselves at the heart of our local and wider community in Wales. It has also provided our students with an invaluable opportunity to understand and experience professional creative media production in practice.”
Guests at the Taliesin premiere will include project collaborators, representatives of the Gower Society as well as Welsh Finance Minister Rebecca Evans, who represents Gower in the Senedd, and Swansea Lord Mayor Mike Day who will both take part in the panel discussion.
Proceeds from ticket sales will go to The DPJ Foundation, a mental health charity which supports the agricultural community across Wales and was chosen by the film-makers after they spent time with Gower’s farming community.
Georgios added: “We often think farmers are tough due to their physically demanding jobs but because of those tough conditions, hard-working farmers need support and recognition for their efforts and contribution to society.
“I believe that documentary films offer different perspectives, share knowledge and experiences, promote specific themes, regions, history, and nature, and raise awareness of emerging problems and possible solutions. Farming is one of the areas that we document, and present in our documentary films as we explore how important it is for a sustainable future.”
Tickets are available in advance or at the venue at the premiere.
(Lead image: Swansea University)
Lights, Camera, Action! New production fund makes Wales star of the screen
More support will be available for Welsh film thanks to a new and simplified Welsh Government funding package which will help create quality jobs in the sector and generate at least £12m for the Welsh economy over the next two years, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, announced today.
The Deputy Minister made the announcement during an address to Wales’ first Screen Summit, being held in Cardiff today.
The new fund, a collaboration between the Welsh Government’s creative agency Creative Wales and Ffilm Cymru Wales, is available for films intended for theatrical release – with talent development and skills at its heart.
The £1m per annum fund will be open for applications in July and will run for an initial period of two years.
The new agreement will see a streamlined approach to funding, with an application process via Ffilm Cymru Wales, who will administer the fund on behalf of Creative Wales.
Up to £600,000 will be available per project for eligible films, with up to £400,000 grant funding from Creative Wales and up to £200,000 via Ffilm Cymru lottery funds – which they administer on behalf of the Arts Council of Wales.
At least £12m will be generated for the Welsh economy across the initial two years of the arrangement between Creative Wales and Ffilm Cymru, providing a post-Covid pandemic boost for Wales’ world-class community of creatives, cast, crew, services and facilities.
Under Ffilm Cymru’s management, there will continue to be a focus on films featuring Wales-born or Wales-based writers, directors and producers at their helm.
Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, said: “Since its inception, Creative Wales has been reviewing its approach to improving and enhancing its support for TV and film production, with a new production funding offer for TV and games also now available. This new and improved investment package for film is next in a suite of improved investments for the sector.
“This new approach to film will boost film production in Wales, stimulating growth in the number and variety of productions made in Wales, whilst also maximising the economic impact on the local economy, improve employment opportunities, further support the development of a skilled workforce, and further demonstrate the excellence of Wales on screen through our world-class talent, crews, facilities and unique locations.
“This unique partnership between Creative Wales and Ffilm Cymru Wales, following on from the recent Memorandums of Understanding with the BBC and S4C, is a further example of how our partnership approach is driving growth and talent development in the creative industries in Wales.”
Pauline Burt, Chief Executive of Ffilm Cymru welcomed this latest development saying: “Having long worked directly with Welsh independent filmmakers to help bring their feature film projects to fruition, we are delighted to be collaborating with Creative Wales on our shared objectives. The production fund will continue to centre Welsh talent, whilst streamlining access to funding and tailoring the offer to producers’ and the wider sector’s needs.”
This new partnership between Ffilm Cymru and Creative Wales builds on a foundation of creative and economic collaboration that has already seen the co-funding of homegrown storytelling such as Euros Lyn’s Dream Horse and Mad as Birds Films’ forthcoming drama The Almond and the Seahorse, which was written by Kaite O’Reilly and co-directed by Celyn Jones.
(Lead image: RAW / Warner Bros UK)
Netflix is planning a real-life Squid Game – and is looking for people to take part
Netflix is bringing the global phenomenon Squid Game to life with the biggest reality competition series ever, Squid Game: The Challenge.
With both the largest cast and lump sum cash prize in reality TV history, 456 real players will enter the game in pursuit of a life-changing reward of $4.56 million.
As they compete through a series of games inspired by the original show – without the murder and violence, but including surprising new additions – their strategies, alliances, and character will be put to the test while competitors are eliminated around them.
The stakes are high, but in this game the worst fate is going home empty-handed.
Recruitment is open now at SquidGameCasting.com. For this round, the Front Man is in search of English-language speakers from any part of the world.
“Squid Game took the world by storm with Director Hwang’s captivating story and iconic imagery. We’re grateful for his support as we turn the fictional world into reality in this massive competition and social experiment,” said Brandon Riegg, Netflix VP of Unscripted and Documentary Series.
“Fans of the drama series are in for a fascinating and unpredictable journey as our 456 real world contestants navigate the biggest competition series ever, full of tension and twists, with the biggest ever cash prize at the end.”
The 10-episode competition series is a co-production between Studio Lambert (The Circle) and The Garden (24 Hours in A&E), part of ITV Studios, and it will be filmed in the UK.
Stephen Lambert, Tim Harcourt, and Toni Ireland from Studio Lambert and John Hay, Nicola Hill, and Nicola Brown from The Garden will serve as executive producers.
The scripted drama Squid Game holds the record as Netflix’s most popular series of all time, with over 1.65 billion view hours in the first 28 days after its September 2021 premiere.
On June 12, 2022, Squid Game was officially renewed for season 2 as Netflix and Director Hwang confirmed they will once again team up for a whole new round.
(Lead image: Netflix)
Swansea mobile cinema will perform at Glastonbury Festival
Glastonbury festival has booked the award winning Sol Cinema to perform during this year’s festival which starts on Wednesday, June 22nd.
The Swansea based tiny performing cinema to join their line up in the Theatre & Circus fields.Since 2010, the diminutive cinema has entertained more than 100,000 people at music and film festivals or community events.
Co-founder and Sol Cinema projectionist Paul O’Connor stated; “Following 2 years of no performing, Sol Cinema is excited about showing off our usherettes at Glastonbury. It is the mother of all festivals and we have a range of new short videos to show off. In the last 12 years we have taken Sol Cinema into fields, factories, schools, city centres, on a farm and even in a Zoo.
“Being mobile, we can squeeze into the smallest spots and entertain with short films and our stylish street performers.”
Sol Cinema will be showing short Independent films every day during Glastonbury Festival. Sol Cinema performed in Rhyl earlier this month and will be at the Big Tent Event in Oxwich, Gower in July.
The Sol Cinema has created by upcycling a 1972 caravan which was being used to house chickens on a small holding. Artist Jo Furlong added plush seating, LED lighting and a projector combined with surround sound to create the unique mobile venue. To boost it’s environmental credentials further the cinema is powered entirely by solar energy.
The Sol Cinema won a Digital Hero award for best use of sustainable technology. It also won a Network Wales award for best communication project.
Sol Cinema say they’re currently taking bookings and would love to hear from Welsh events.
(Lead image: Sol Cinema)
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