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Lights, Camera, Action! New production fund makes Wales star of the screen

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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)

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Film & TV

Netflix is planning a real-life Squid Game – and is looking for people to take part

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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.

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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.”  

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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)

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Swansea mobile cinema will perform at Glastonbury Festival

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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.

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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.

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Sol Cinema say they’re currently taking bookings and would love to hear from Welsh events.

(Lead image: Sol Cinema)

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Swansea paramedic announced as first contestant of new series of Love Island

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ITV has announced twenty-four year old paramedic, Paige Thorne as its first contestant in the new series of Love Island.

The Swansea singleton has said she’s joining the show as she can’t find love back home.

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Paige said: “In Swansea there is just no-one I can find, I’ve tried and there’s just nobody there anymore. I need to break out and broaden my horizons and Love Island just brings everyone together for me.

“I haven’t got to go out and I haven’t got to swipe. So, hopefully they can just come to me now!

“I came out of a relationship and I was just so done with guys so was like, “Right, that’s it. I’m going to focus on me.” Then I was like, “Ok, I’m bored now, I’m lonely and I miss love and the connection and everything else.” I’ve been on a few dates but I just haven’t clicked with anyone.”

Paige says she’s going to bring lots of bubbly energy to the villa. “I am a good cook and I’m quite mumsy” she added, “so I’ll look after anyone that needs looking after.

“If I had to pick a signature dish, it would probably be a Sunday dinner. My roasties are up there, I think Gordon Ramsay would be impressed – I think he would be like ‘9/10 or 10/10’.

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Paige isn’t the only Welsh contestant this year, with 22 year-old Masters student Liam Llewellyn from Newport also taking part.

Love Island contestant, Liam Llewellyn (Image: ITV)

Liam said: “I think 22 is a really nice age to meet someone, you’ve got your years ahead of you so you have time to experience stuff and grow together. I think Love Island is a great opportunity to meet someone, you’re in with a load of different types, so you can get to grips with what you really like about people.”

Liam says friends and family would describe him as quite generous, quite caring, happy, chatty, chirpy, bubbly.

“I wear my heart on my sleeve”, Liam added. “I can’t hide how I feel about anyone. I’m probably quite emotional as well come to think about it.

He says if you’ve got one chance to impress someone, pay them a compliment!

Liam said: “The thing that girls quite like is that I’m not just like, “You’re mint.” I’m like, “Your eyes are piercing, I’m lost in your eyes.” Or I’ll say something like, “You’ve got nice feet” or something.”

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Love Island returns to ITV2 on Monday 6 June.

(Lead image: ITV)

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