We’re just a day away from the start of the first Wicked: International Youth Film Festival and it’s all starting to feel very real. When Festival Director, Rhiannon Wyn Hughes came up with the idea of a new International youth film festival for Wales over a year ago I don’t think any of us thought it would get quite so big, quite so quickly.
In 2014 Rhiannon, based in Denbighshire, joined a network called the Youth Cinema Network. Its members are youth film festivals dotted around Europe that primarily screen short films made by young (under 25) filmmakers. The network may be fledgling but it’s incredibly friendly and collegiate and Rhiannon was invited by many of them to experience and learn about what they do, and how they do it.
It was during these trips that the idea of Wicked was born. It’s a bold undertaking to set up a brand new festival aimed at engaging filmmakers under 25 from Wales and across Europe; to bring them to Rhyl, Prestatyn, Colwyn Bay and showcase their work. These aren’t areas normally associated with film events or the creative industries. Yet Rhiannon put the idea to the festivals, local schools and colleges, and the overall response was one of incredible enthusiasm. The figures tell the story. Wicked:16 will be screening films made by young filmmakers from 19 countries and we’ll be hosting guests in North Wales from 14 countries. It’s a remarkable achievement for a festival in its very first edition.
The majority of the programme has been aimed at those local schools and colleges and includes packages of shorts from young filmmakers across the world, as well as sold out screenings of Roald Dahl films such as James and the Giant Peach, Matilda and Willie Wonka. Our international guests will also be running workshops across the week in Primary and Secondary classrooms and we’re hosting a conference to discuss how, as a collective, we can raise the profile of young filmmakers to audiences around Europe.
Personally, I’m also delighted to have secured two features for our first festival. Ambulance, a documentary about one filmmakers time on the front line with the emergency services in Gaza has stuck with me ever since I saw it in Norway at the Nordic Youth Film Festival back in June. I’ve also never seen a post screening Q+A so busy, an audience so engaged with the subject, and such fierce determination in a room to spread a film’s message. It’s an important piece of work.
Our closing film is Moon Dogs. This coming of age, road movie has done brilliantly in Edinburgh and Galway, and now we’re bringing it to Rhyl! I ’m so pleased we’re screening a film by a Welsh Director which is part financed by Ffilm Cymru Wales. It’s important that we not only give Young Welsh Filmmakers the opportunity to screen their work, but also support the Welsh film industry in general.
We’ll be handing out our awards on Thursday night to the best Welsh and International films in the programme. I hope one day, some of those young Welsh filmmakers in competition make their first features, and return to Wicked to show their work to new audiences.
For further information on Ambulance and Moon Dogs visit http://wicked.wales/#joinus
NEW INTERNATIONAL YOUTH FILM FESTIVAL CIDWM CYMRU/WICKED WALES APPOINTS ITS CHAIR
Cidwm Cymru/ Wicked Wales is delighted to announce that the chair of their Festival will be Catrin Cooper. Catrin Cooper is a producer and activist from Anglesey. Passionate about representation, she also helped to launch the viral hashtag FilmHerStory campaign as covered in Buzzfeed, The Mary Sue and the Daily Dot. Catrin says’ I am thrilled to take the position of Chair as this exciting Festival makes it debut. It is an absolute privilege to have the opportunity to bring together new talent, and to celebrate new voices, both locally and globally, and I look forward to drawing on my production roots to welcome and encourage all of those who we will meet there.’
The new Festival which will showcase short films made by young people in Wales and Internationally, will be held between 20th-24th September. The Festival will take place in the coastal towns of Prestatyn, Rhyl and Colwyn Bay and Bodelwyddan Castle.
Festival directors Rhiannon Hughes and Jonathan White says’ We are delighted that Catrin has agreed to become Chair of this new and exciting Festival which is a truly International event, whilst at the same time celebrating what is best about Wales. Dan Thomas former Head of Exhibition and Education at Ffilm Cymru Wales has also joined the team as Artistic Director.
The Festival is an opportunity to showcase films made by the many talented young filmmakers we have in Wales. There will also be an opportunity during the Festival to work with many Festival organisers and young filmmakers from a network of Festivals from all over Europe. The International guests will be attending to take part in an International conference which will be taking place during the Festival.
Film competitions for the Festival are open to filmmakers from the ages of 6-25yrs and application forms in English and Welsh can be downloaded from the website www. wicked .wales. Films made in the last 2 years can be entered, closing date 4th July.
Contact Rhiannon Hughes 07950033429 E firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell us a bit about yourself, how you got into music?
I’ve been writing music since I was able to play my first few guitar chords around the age of thirteen. For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by its effect on me. It’s inspired me to continuously listen to more and more music and teach myself new instruments and methods of creating it. I love how you can constantly learn and develop ideas through sound. I’ve never been able to express myself through other art forms so making music has been an important part of my life.
I’ve been involved in the music community in Cardiff for the past 9 years or so through various bands. I formed Winter Villains with my partner Faye in 2011 out of a shared passion for similar types of music. We’ve released two albums so far, the first of which was shortlisted for the 2013 Welsh Music Prize. We’ve toured around the UK quite a bit and played at various festivals and we are currently writing again.
I’ve been writing music for film and TV for the past three years or so. Music has always been visual to me. When I listen to music it often conjures up images in my mind. When I make music I’m trying to communicate a vision or feeling through sound, so writing for film and TV feels very natural.
You’ve recently scored your first feature film, tell us a little about it.
It’s called ‘Cruel Summer’ by Cardiff based filmmakers Phil Escott and Craig Newman. It’s a dark, gritty story about working class teenagers with a brutal, devastating outcome. There’s an underlying sense of dissatisfaction and inevitability amongst the teenagers. An uneasy tension runs throughout it that builds to a release of violence. It was shot in South Wales and has some scenes of real natural beauty, which contrast wonderfully with the dark storyline. It felt like the perfect first feature film for me to work on. The guys had quite a clear vision for what they wanted for the score in terms of mood and atmosphere. Parts of the soundtrack are dark and foreboding, whilst others are quite dreamy and beautiful. I used cinematic arrangements in certain sections of the film, whereas other scenes needed more of a soundscape or slightly more experimental feel, so it was just a case of getting the blend right. We chatted in depth over a long period about the score, and I had a lot of fun coming up with different themes for the characters which run throughout the film.
How do you find the process of working with filmmakers?
I find it fascinating. The connection between a filmmaker and her/his film is rightfully a very personal one. They have developed the idea and seen it to the point where a composer comes in to add the final touches before post production. When the film comes to me, I treat it with the respect it deserves and I love working with filmmakers to help them complete their vision for a project. It’s no different to a songwriter or band completing an album. We all need to work with people we trust to see an idea to its completion. The important thing is ensuring an open dialogue about what they want my role to be. I’ve worked with filmmakers who have had a definite vision for a score, others who have sent temp tracks as a guide, and others who have given me complete free reign. I wouldn’t say I have a preference of any method of working, they all have positive elements. The important thing is to get a score that they are happy with.
How would you describe your music?
I love writing different kinds of music, which is why writing for film and TV is so appealing - every project is different. Though I’d say my passion and maybe something that is ever present in my music is atmosphere. I love creating both dark and light moods. I find merging electronic and classical sounds really satisfying, because the options for creating new sounds are endless. Saying that, I do love working with more conventional instruments and voices too. I’m maybe happiest creating sparse pieces that build into more complex or epic parts. I love both making and listening to music that takes you somewhere else.
With your band, Winter Villains, obviously you collaborate creatively with your fellow musicians– In film, though, you’re working mainly alone with dialogue, tone, mood, pace. Do you find that transition difficult? How different a process is it?
Creating music for film is definitely a different beast to making music in bands. Our music in Winter Villains is a shared vision between two people based on initial concepts or ideas, which are continuously developed and honed until we’re happy with them. We’re involved in every step of the way.
In film, the vision comes from the filmmaker and he or she will have an idea of what role they want the composer to play. Composers are often invited onto projects right at the end. There are so many components to making the overall film work. The acting, the dialogue, the camera shot, the cinematography are all locked… so its about establishing how you can contribute most effectively to the whole. It is a different process, but I haven’t found it difficult necessarily. You’re just hyper aware that the music has to compliment and not take over or get in the way of the other elements.
Through the projects I’ve worked on so far, I’ve found out that I’m quite an intuitive writer. I love being guided by the visual stimulus of the film, and I tend to arrive at general pieces of music quite quickly. Making the tweaks and changes to arrangements to make sure they’re not too much and not too little is the tricky part. That can be a very fine line.
Do you think about the audience when you’re composing?
It’s a good question. I wouldn’t say I’m consciously thinking of the wider audience. By default I am one of the first audience members to see and experience the film, and I watch and interact with it just like I would any other film. But it’s with the knowledge that I have the privilege and responsibility of being part of shaping it. So I’m more thinking about the pallet and mood of the sounds and how they need to fit in with the whole experience. At the early stages I have the filmmakers aspirations for the score in mind, and you obviously can’t help your own tastes and opinions being part of the formula. But ultimately composing the music is about filtering all those elements so you get to the crux of what the film needs as a whole and what will best for it.
How can a filmmaker collaborate effectively with a composer?
For me openness and honesty right from the outset are the most effective attributes a filmmaker can have when it comes to collaborating with a composer. If they have a strong idea for the score, then the earlier they can communicate that the better. If they have no idea what they want from the score, that’s also cool. We just need know where we stand as soon as possible, so we can get on with developing ideas. The possibilities of music and sounds are infinite, so it’s always useful to have an open and honest dialogue about ideas from the start.
I also admire filmmakers who are comfortable in acknowledging when an idea isn’t working. Some may see that as a weakness, but for me all things worth creating are processes of trial and error, and being comfortable in admitting something isn’t working is an important part of that.
Which composers, soundtracks have influenced you? Do you have a favourite?
There are lots of composers who I admire. Alexandre Desplat and Philip Glass are two of my favourites. I love Desplat’s score for the ‘Imitation Game’ and Philip Glass’ score for ‘The Hours’ is incredible. One of my favourite soundtracks of recent years is by Will Butler from Arcade Fire and Owen Pallet for the Spike Jonze film ‘Her’. I love their respective music as recording artists, and it was great to see them translate their talent onto film so effectively. Similarly I think Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead’s work on ‘There Will Be Blood’ is pretty special. I know that divided lots of people, but it certainly worked for me. And the soundtrack for ‘Drive’ is another favourite of mine.
Tell us a bit about your latest project ‘Forever Tomorrow’?
It was a feature by a London based filmmaker called Ben Rider. It’s a fragmented story about four different characters, who all meet at an AA meeting. Ben wanted 4 different composers to write music for different aspects of the film, to keep the fragmented feel to it. So I contributed about 20 minutes worth of material, just based on the script and conversations with Ben about what he wanted from the score. I still haven’t seen the finished film, but Ben is very happy with it, which is all that matters.
I’ve been speaking with lots of filmmakers in recent months about upcoming projects. There are plenty of really interesting ideas being developed for film in Wales at the moment, so I’m hoping to have the opportunity to work on some of them. I’ll be working on a short film by film maker Kyran Davies in the not too distant future. It’s about a video shop in the 90s, I’ve only read the script so far, but I loved it, so I’m looking forward to starting on that. My aim is to keep working on as many projects and with as many filmmakers as possible.
I’ve been writing music for a new project with my partner Faye and a friend of ours called Owain. We’ll be recording some songs over the summer. It’s layered electronic music with lots of beats, so it’s a nice change for us. We’re also writing for the third Winter Villains album which I’m excited about. We haven’t got a deadline for it or anything, we’re just writing for writing’s sake and seeing where it takes us.
You can find out more about Joesf's work and his music here:
Website: www.josefprygodzicz.com (to be available shortly)
Filmmakers wishing to get in touch with Josef can reach him here:
Are you a filmmaker based in Wales and under the age of 25? Want to be part of a truly European film festival in Wales?
This September sees the launch of a brand new film festival in Wales celebrating the work of young filmmakers. Wicked:16 will take place in multiple locations across North East Wales from September 21st -24th and includes screenings, workshops, masterclasses and events. Aimed at young filmmakers under 25, Wicked:16 is also part of Europe’s Youth Cinema Network. To this end, Wicked:16 will be a truly European festival, inviting young filmmakers from across the Youth Cinema Network’s member festivals in Europe to share learning and network with Welsh filmmakers. We’ll be announcing full programme details over the coming months and launching the Wicked:16 website which will include details of all screenings, workshops and how to get involved.
One of our key objectives is to showcase young Welsh talent and we’re now looking for short films from young Welsh filmmakers under the age of 25 for the inaugural Wicked:16 Film Festival competition. There are several categories and age groups for entry. Awards will be made for age groups 6-12, 13-18, and 19-25, and there are also primary and secondary school categories. Submitted films can be in the form of documentaries, animation, fiction, freestyle and school.
Application forms in Welsh and English are available to download here and the closing date is 27th June. Entry is free. Full details of how to enter are on the form but if you have any questions then you can email us email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Best of luck and we look forward to seeing you in North Wales in September.
Back in the Summer Film Hub Wales commissioned me to do some research into youth film festivals. You may, or may not know, that we have a number of them here in Wales (Zoom, Pics, Ffilmic to name but three) and there are many more around the UK. Although Youth Festival provision is something that’s grown over the last 10 years here, festivals such as Cinemagic in Belfast have been running considerably longer.
Over in Europe however they’ve been running youth film festivals for decades. Zlin in the Czech Republic for example will be in its 56th year in 2016. There are a plethora of festivals across Europe (it’s taking some time to map them all!) and they all vary in scope, size and ambition. In terms of USP they can be split into two distinct categories. Some festivals screen features from all over the world made for young people. Others celebrate films made by young people.
I recently visited the Up and Coming Festival in Hannover, which fits into the latter category. Now in its 13th year this international festival has more than 3000 entries from 57 countries. Out of that they chose 81 films from 33 countries for their international competition program. I wasn’t just there for the festival however. A committed and passionate group of festival managers from all over Europe have formed a network to not only promote the work they do, but more importantly to promote and advocate the work of young filmmakers.
The Youth Cinema Network (YCN) comes together across the year to share their festivals and ideas, and generally support each other in their collective aims and objectives. I spent two days with the YCN in Hannover interviewing some of the members about their festivals and the sorts of challenges and barriers they face. What struck me was that they are the same challenges and barriers no matter where in Europe they were from – Croatia, Slovenia, Norway – all were incredibly tireless in what they do yet are battling constantly against the lack of funding and support. They also struggle to attract the typical cinema and festival audience which suggests there is a perception around films made by young people that perhaps they are not of sufficient quality to go and watch. It couldn’t be more different.
But the show must go on and they do what they do on limited resources because they recognise the value and the opportunities these types of festivals give to young people. Most of the festival directors have other jobs to make a living. Sanja, who run Four Rivers Festival in Croatia, sells yoghurt and her colleague Lea works in a shoe store. They have to take vacations to develop and run their programme. Yet without Four Rivers where would the numerous great films made by 14-20 yr. olds, the diverse workshops, the roundtables, fieldtrips, and music concerts for youth actually happen in Croatia? It’s about giving young people a voice and a chance to work in an industry they clearly enjoy. Many of the festivals cited examples of young people they’ve worked with who’ve gone on to make features.
At the YCN meeting I attended we discussed some pretty terrific ideas about how to raise the profile of the work of young filmmakers around the world. We need to smash through the negative perception that says films made by young people aren’t worth our time. We go to youth choir concerts and we watch young musician of the year so why not International young filmmaker of the year?
I think most of the ideas will happen simply because there is a will and a collective desire around that table to advocate and work on behalf of those they work with. The good news for Wales is a new festival is currently being developed in Prestatyn. Wicked:16 has been born out of the YCN and will offer young filmmakers in Wales and further afield the chance to come together and show their films. After all, if we can’t support young talent, how does the film industry survive?
Four Rivers Festival: http://www.hfs.hr/hfs/festivali_782/Default_e.aspx#.VlcPBvnhDIV
The YCN webpage can be found here: http://www.youthcinema.com/index.html
Writer Robin Bell on growing Twisted Showcase as it prepares for its biggest and most horrifying series yet.
Created in 2012 by Wrexham based writer Robin Bell, Twisted Showcase is a web show that mixes self-contained horror, sci-fi, psychological thriller and comedy. The anthology series has already been recognised in The Guardian’s top 25 must watch web shows, the only independent British show to be included.
Headline actors have included Red Dwarf’s Norman Lovett and Torchwood's Gareth David Lloyd who will be returning to make his directorial debut for series four. BAFTA winning Film and TV writer Debbie Moon has also written a script for the new series.
We caught up with Robin as the crowdfunding campaign for season 4 was launched.
For those who haven't yet seen the show, tell us a bit about Twisted Showcase.
An anthology of all things odd, unrestricted by genre, but binded by tone and themes which investigate modern anxieties. Twisted Showcase offers its audience everything and each episode you don't know what you're going to get, which I find an exciting prospect, Hopefully our audience do to. We have featured actors from Torchwood, Red Dwarf and Doctor Who, and have even more surprises in the forthcoming series.
What are the influences?
Everything I watch/read will seep into being an influence I'm sure. Obviously stuff like The Twilight Zone, Tales of the Unexpected and Thriller form the anthology basis. I've also been inspired by lots of writers, particularly Debbie Moon who has written an episode for Series 4.
Where do you find your story ideas?
A lot of Twisted Showcase comes from exaggerating worries/fears/anxieties till they become almost surreal. Like in Payback where debt turns into someone taking a chainsaw to your neck, and Toilet Soup where a disagreement online ends up in feeding unsuspecting people a vile concoction.
It's different for each episode though, it could be disparate ideas coming together or wanting to subvert an empowering genre with a downbeat and twisted feel.
What scares you?
How long do you have? Everything is terrifying isn't it. You could die crossing the road. You could even die stretching in the morning or during your sleep. Seems that death is something that scares me, or death before I get all these ideas out of me.
I think it's how you handle everything scary which is interesting though and that's what Twisted Showcase allows us to explore. The show seems to encapsulate fear, but in an entertaining way which hopefully makes you think but doesn't leave any lasting psychological trauma. If you're watching the show you probably have enough problems already, Ha!
How difficult is it getting a web series off the ground?
I think a lot of people find it difficult to commit to following their dreams.. Before you do there's potential to be as good as you can imagine, You can sit in front of the TV saying "I can do better than that" but when you commit to pursuing that dream there's nothing to hide behind. With my writing every year I'd realise how much more I've got to learn. And every year of pursuing it, taking less paid working hours to allow more time to do this, it becomes harder to just get by. The sacrifices mount up.
Making the series bigger every year is also difficult. What would be the point in doing more if it didn't grow, but going alone with growing something like this is increasingly difficult. I'm still amazed at how far Twisted Showcase has come, from fumbling through our early films with a half broken camera and a crew of two, to seeing brilliant, respected actors making their directorial debut in our series and working with scripts written by BAFTA winning writers. With every series our ambition has definitely grown, while retaining our trademark of psychological terror within the confines of a small budget.
What advice would you give others who might want to start their own webseries?
Ask yourself truthfully if you really want to do it. If you can find an excuse why you shouldn't then deep down you probably don't want to. If you can find a way to overcome all of those excuses then you have to go for it.
I'm making it sound like a dark path, but there's so much fun in creating your own stories then seeing them come to life and other peoples reactions to them. The hard work is worth it.
What treats lie in store for this season of Twisted Showcase?
I think this year I've managed to do something I'd not in previous seasons. The stories seem larger in scope, and it's not because we're adding loads of explosions and special effects it's just they're more imaginative. Maybe we've plunged further within the genres we're exploring. It's probably a bit more sci fi, a bit more weird. I wouldn't say it's darker, but there's more depth. Which makes it seem darker, I suppose.
But what you really want to know is who's involved, right? I'm really excited by the fact that not only is Gareth David Lloyd joining us again to star in an episode entitled Be My Head but he is also making his directorial debut with the episode, Just hearing his ideas for what he's going to do with my script is exciting so I can't even imagine how great it's going to look. Our maddest episode yet.
Equally exciting is a BAFTA winning writer is now part of Twisted Showcase, as Debbie Moon, creator of the superb Wolfblood, delivers a beautiful episode called Muscle Memory. I mean beautiful in it's pure horror.
You've launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund this season. How can people get involved?
To achieve all of this we need the word to get out there, and raise our budget through our Kickstarter campaign, there are behind the scenes rewards and signed pictures of Gareth David Lloyd up for grabs, as well as loads more, but the biggest reward will be seeing this series become a reality.
People can visit the Kickstarter page here and help us make this season bigger and better than ever.
The Twisted Showcase Kickstarter campaign closes on the 9th November. To find out more about Twisted Showcase visit the website for all the latest news and to view all the previous episodes. http://www.twistedshowcase.com/
Debbie Moon is a BAFTA award winning film and television writer. She has had over fifty short stories published in the UK and US, and her novel, Falling (Honno Press) was shortlisted for Welsh Book Of The Year.
She has written for The Sparticle Mystery, Hinterland, and is the creator and lead writer of the CBBC fantasy drama series Wolfblood. She also has several feature scripts and television series currently in development. Debbie has written one of the episodes for season 4 of Twisted Showcase which will premiere online in 2016.
Tell us where you got the idea for Wolfblood and how long did it take to get to screen?
The idea for Wolfblood actually came to me in a charity shop. As I was glancing at a shelf of second-hand books, my eye skipped from half of one title to half of another, combining “wolf” and “blood’. That’s interesting, I thought: what’s a ‘wolfblood’? And from that came the idea of people who were not quite traditional werewolves, who live among us and have their own culture, and who work hard to keep their existence secret…
I submitted it to a BBC writersroom open call for new children’s drama scripts, and it was accepted for development. From there, it took about 15 months to develop the idea, write a strong pilot episode, and find co-production funding that would allow us to realise the special effects the way we wanted. Then there was another few months of developing the first season before filming finally started...
Does its success surprise you?
I always knew we had a fantastic show with a great cast, but the scale of Wolfblood’s success – selling to dozens of countries around the world, winning two BAFTAS and a number of other awards – took everyone by surprise I think!
Why did you want to write for Twisted Showcase?
I love writing for television, but it’s a low, slow process, and being able to write a self-contained story and see it realised so quickly. And Twisted Showcase is a fantastic opportunity to reach an engaged, passionate audience who love horror, who love the short film medium and enjoy a good scare!
What can you tell us about your Twisted Showcase episode?
I’m not sure I should say too much, I’ll get in trouble! It’s a story of an accident that isn’t an accident, and two people who aren’t what they seem…
Do you like scaring people?
I think I like surprising people. And we all love to be surprised, don’t we? Whether it’s comedy or horror, all drama revolves around taking a situation that appears to be one thing and actually turns out to be another…
How different is it writing for adults rather than children? Which is the more challenging?
I think the two are surprisingly similar, actually. You should certainly never underestimate a child audience – they’re incredibly demanding and perceptive, always trying to figure out what’s going to happen next. And they engage passionately with their favourite shows and their favourite characters. A television show can mean a great deal to a young audience, and it’s a wonderful responsibility to write for them.
Any tips for writers wanting to get into the fantasy/horror genre?
Always have a strong concept, and make it original. “Just another” vampire or ghost story won’t cut it, no matter how well you write it. Have a new angle, a new approach. And remember, all the great fantasy and horror stories are really about human nature and human failings – greed, lust, anger, all the big emotions. They’re the things that create true monsters.
What’s next for you?
I’m writing another episode of Hinterland at the moment, and I’m also developing a number of TV projects, one for children but mostly for adults. And I really want to find time to get back to writing movie scripts…
Debbie's episode for Twisted Showcase, entitled Muscle Memory, will feature in season 4 of Twisted Showcase in 2016. A crowd funding campaign to raise funds for the production of the series was launched last week, and has already reached three quarters of its target. If you'd like to help them achieve their goal then please click here: www.kickstarter.com/projects/254498199/twisted-showcase-series-4
Torchwood’s Gareth David-Lloyd to make directorial debut in fourth series of hit Welsh web show, Twisted Showcase
Torchwood’s Gareth David-Lloyd to make directorial debut in fourth series of hit Welsh web show, Twisted Showcase
Best known for his role as Ianto in Torchwood, Welsh actor Gareth David-Lloyd is returning to both direct and star in the fourth series of the hit web show, Twisted Showcase, due to be released in 2016. Today sees the launch of a crowd funding campaign to raise funds for the production of the series.
The only British independent web series to be named in The Guardian top 25 must watch shows in 2012, Twisted Showcase is an anthology series mixing genres from horror and psychological thriller to sci-fi and comedy. The fourth series is created by Wrexham based writer, Robin Bell, one of the original creators of the web show.
Today (Tuesday 20 October) sees the launch of a crowd funding campaign to raise the £2,000 required to produce the fourth series. Fans old and new can support the campaign here and watch a special message from Gareth David-Lloyd on what to expect from the brand new episodes. Backers of the campaign can receive rewards ranging from early access to exclusives to a Gareth David-Lloyd fan pass and even the chance to be a producer on the series.
As with the previous series, series four will draw on a range of modern anxieties to offer unique, stand-alone installments, each offering something new and different to shock, amaze and entertain. Twisted Showcase will be revealing its line-up of directors, writers and actors over the course of the next week via Twitter @twistedshowcase.
Gareth David-Lloyd commented: “I love the horror genre and I am always looking for opportunities to help showcase new talent. I couldn't resist the offer to star in and direct an episode of series four. Web drama is such a fertile ground and I feel very much part of the future - help support Twisted Showcase and you can be part of that future too!”
Twisted Showcase writer, Robin Bell, said: “I'm still amazed at how far Twisted Showcase has come, from fumbling through our early films with a half broken camera and a crew of two, to seeing brilliant, respected actors making their directorial debut in our series and working with scripts written by BAFTA winning writers. With every series our ambition has grown, while retaining our trademark of psychological terror within the confines of a small budget. As with anything in Twisted Showcase, though, the achievement of dreams is accompanied by a nightmare, and that is funding the series. There's no easy way around this, but if this series is to happen we really need the public's help to make it a reality.”
The Kickstarter campaign can be found via the following link: www.kickstarter.com/projects/254498199/twisted-showcase-series-4
Clare Sturges is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and the founder and Creative Director of Brightest Films, based in Cardiff Wales. Clare's recent documentary Sexwork, Love & Mr Right – about an Amsterdam red-light district sexworker who falls in love with a customer – earned her a BAFTA Cymru Breakthrough Award in 2015, the first female Director to win this category.
How did you get into documentary filmmaking?
I started out in filmmaking as an advertising scriptwriter, then quickly realised I love the teamwork and hands-on creativity of directing, especially documentaries. My first opportunity to make a longform film came through a Dutch production company I’d met at the Berlin Film Festival Berlinale 2012. They had finance from a private investor and wanted to make a longform documentary about Amsterdam’s red-light district for sale through international markets. They asked me to develop the initial idea and direct the film. I had full editorial control.
The film, Sexwork & Me: Red Light Conversations went on to win Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and an Award of Excellence at the Women’s Independent Film Festival Los Angeles 2012, and sold to ABC Australia – the country’s public service broadcaster – at the Cannes Film Festival Marché de Film. It’s now available on a compilation DVD along with the follow-up film Sexwork, Love & Mr Right.
Tell us where your love of documentary film first came from
I love all kinds of filmmaking – from adverts, music videos and promos, to indie shorts, documentaries and blockbuster features. I think that all these forms give you the opportunity to develop creative techniques and gain experience of the production process. I’m inspired by well-considered, beautiful, meaningful cinematography, visual and aural storytelling, and high production values across online, in cinemas, at home, on TV… literature, art, radio.
My first interest in documentary came through photography, in particular the photojournalism of Sebastaio Salgado (about whom Wim Wenders has recently made a film called The Salt of the Earth). A war photographer friend of mine took me to an exhibition of his work at CaixaForum when I was living in Barcelona in the early Noughties – I was absolutely transfixed by Salgado’s depiction of migrant peoples across the world and the way he seemed to capture ‘decisive moments’ that revealed so much humanity. It triggered something profound in me, a kind of recognition that life is precious and fragile.
It’s taken me over 15 years to realise that into something I can sustain as a profession, for which I feel very lucky and am willing to work hard for.
What particularly interests you in the human story?
I think that in Western culture we have an unhealthy obsession with fame, youth, wealth and status, and it can lead to a crisis of identity. Stars and celebrities don’t really have much to do with most people’s real experiences, but we compare ourselves with their glittering lives so that ours come up lacking. I see my job as looking around us and spotting the people and the stories that will inspire emotion; reveal the intimate detail of lives that are unfamiliar; encourage people to think differently and question stereotypes, prejudices and assumptions. I’m not interested in celebrities for celebrity’s sake or reality stars.
I believe that ordinary people have extraordinary stories to tell and that life’s true stars are among us – our next door neighbour, our cousin, our friend – people leading apparently unremarkable lives doing remarkable things. They are our everyday heroes and they are people I think audiences will relate to and want to get to know.
How difficult was it changing careers and going into the film industry?
Before I got into film at the age of 30, I studied the humanities (literature and philosophy), taught English as a foreign language in Spain and Italy, worked as an editor in consumer magazine publishing for five years, then retrained as a marketer before going freelance as a copywriter in advertising agencies (that’s a whole other story).
Being a freelance allowed me to explore film opportunities as they came up, and manage things around my paid work. For example, I was invited to a screenwriting workshop in Copenhagen by Brendan Foley – a director I met through the National Union of Journalists (I was a member for five years). And I’ve attended Cannes Film Festival, Berlinale, Edinburgh, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Foyle Film Festival Ireland and a women’s festival in Burbank, Los Angeles.
What advice would you give others who might want to do what you do?
Have a second income and keep it coming in. Do things that are completely unrelated to making films – good stories come from life and getting out there, not watching movies, consuming online media and TV. Get as much training as you can – in writing, story, production, promotion etc. Present yourself well with a good website and social media presence. Be clear and compelling when you describe what you can do. Never undersell your skills, experience and attitude.
But be super sure that the way you come across in person matches up with everything you say you are online, and you really can deliver what you promise people – on time, within budget, without compromising quality. This is especially important if you’re commissioned to do some work, or you’re giving a talk in public, speaking on a panel, pitching, in a meeting or in a networking situation.
Join professional membership bodies and go to their socials. I’m a member of BAFTA in Wales, the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the British Humanist Association – all of which represent different parts of my skillset, personal ethos and approach to my professional life. I started out at Chapter Moviemaker, which is run by the excellent Tom Betts in Cardiff once a month, in association with Shooting People.
You’ll need life experience and maturity to manage the relationships and situations you find yourself in as a serious documentary-maker, so don’t neglect this stuff. Building a career as a filmmaker is a long-term endeavour. For me, if I could make good films and sustain this career for the rest of my life, I would look back from my deathbed and feel my life was well spent.
Oh, and don’t drink too much at film festivals.
Where would you like to be in five years time?
My aim is to make visually beautiful, thought-provoking films that challenge us to think differently about the world we live in and our changing social reality. In five years time I’d like to be making culturally significant, independent feature-length documentaries for the international market that have my unique fingerprint as a director – I want people to know what to expect from a Clare Sturges film, and to look forward to it when I have a new film coming out.
I’d like to be working with really excellent, top-flight producers, cinematographers, editors, publicity people and distributors around the world, supported by the best broadcasters (like BBC, Ch4, PBS America, NRK Norway, SVT Sweden, YLE Finland, DR Denmark and ABC Australia) and funded by a mix of film agency, film fund, third sector, private patronage and crowdfunding finance. I already have a statement of interest from distributor Journeyman Pictures, an excellent crowdfunding partner Spaceboy UK and the support of some leading people, so it’s a start!
Tell us a bit about your latest project My Brief Eternity?
The My Brief Eternity project is a powerful and poignant way of sharing the inspiring legacy of Wales’s much-loved late artist Osi Rhys Osmond – an important public intellectual whose work and practice has value for everyone.
It came about when I was introduced to Osi by a mutual friend at a still life art exhibition. One of the first things he said to me was that he was having chemo for cancer and that, “…it’s hell, but better off than being dead.” I was completely taken with his candour, his speaking style – he was there to launch the exhibition – and the way he made very complex things accessible and understandable.
I immediately approached the cancer charity Maggie’s to collaborate on the project, and Osi’s faculty at University of Wales Trinity Saint David. It took six months of work to get the funding in place, during which time Osi was fading, but we made it just in time and filmed with him at his beautiful home in Llansteffan in the last month of his life.
The film documents Osi's artistic process as a metaphor for life, following him as he creates his last artwork. As Osi pieces together the people, places, memories and experiences that matter to him in a fascinating 'psychogeopgraphy' – and the painting takes shape – he reflects on how we come to terms with mortality, entreating us all to value our lives, no matter how ordinary they may seem.
This is an important aspect of existence for us all to consider, even though it's hard to talk about and something we often avoid. Osi was so open, candid and clear – he leads by example. I hope the film will help people living with cancer and their families, and the wider public, to reflect on Osi's approach, opening up new conversations about our relationship with life and death.
One of the most rewarding things for me about this project was that Osi and his wife accepted me into their lives at a time when he was most vulnerable. They allowed me and my excellent crew (Director of Photography Ryan Owen Eddleston and sound recordist Nick Davies) to capture intimate moments that turned out to be some of Osi’s last.
The confidence Osi showed in me, the way he welcomed us into their home and worked with us as a part of the team – it confirmed my purpose with the film and bolstered my commitment to producing a work of quality that would honour the man with integrity, creativity and sensitivity. It’s a shame Osi didn’t live to see the film.
Maggie's talks to Director Clare Sturges about My Brief Eternity:https://vimeo.com/129786524
I’m in early-stage talks with cancer charity Maggie’s about doing another shortform project with them. I’m also developing a TV documentary called The Soul Midwives, which is about these extraordinary people who help someone who is dying to have a good death – they’re like heroes of the dying.
I’m also developing a feature documentary about global end of life care – it’s a tough sell, but I’d really like to document the ways different peoples, communities and societies deal with this most tragic, often painful yet universal aspect of the human condition. I’d like to raise some tricky questions about why cheap pain relief medicine isn’t widely available worldwide, and explore what makes a good death.
More than anything, I hope that winning the BAFTA Cymru Breakthrough Award brings me new opportunities to work in Wales, nationally and internationally. So I’m open to new commissions from broadcasters, production houses, charities or causes, creative agencies and independent producers.
Note: My Brief Eternity is a collaboration between Brightest Films and Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres, supported by University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
o My Brief Eternity is screening in a pop-up cinema at Brompton Cemetery, London, as part of Maggie's Culture Crawl in association with Open House London on Friday 18th September.
o My Brief Eternity can be seen at a retrospective exhibition of Osi Rhys Osmond's work. The film will launch the exhibition at UWTSD Alexandra Building, Swansea, screening in The Reading Room, plus filmmaker Q&A in November 2015.
o Clare Sturges is the first female filmmaker to win the BAFTA Cymru Breakthrough Award.
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Creative Director, Brightest Films
Fall in love with film this autumn as Film Hub Wales announces an irresistible Wales-wide season of events.
Film Hub Wales invites audiences across Wales to rekindle their passion for film, as the Film Audience Network launches BFI LOVE in partnership with Plusnet. A season of films to fall in love with, films to break your heart.
As part of the UK-wide BFI LOVE season between October and December 2015, venues will be bringing an alluring selection of 85 screenings and events to audiences right across Wales, from The Magic Lantern in Tywyn, to Castell Coch in Cardiff.
Audiences will be taken on an emotional journey, experiencing the heartbreak and longing of epic love stories like Brief Encounter (1945), charming and light-hearted romantic comedies such as Amelie (2001) and the darkest tales of obsession, betrayal and danger including Fatal Attraction (1987).
From today, the full listing of confirmed Film Hub Wales BFI LOVE events can be found at www.filmhubwales.org/whatson
Strategic Manager for Film Hub Wales, Hana Lewis, commented: “Audiences have many chances to discover their love for film this autumn at some of the exceptional independent cinemas Wales has to offer. With an array of exciting events arranged, from an immersive multi-media production of Brief Encounter at The Torch, to touring LGBTQI ‘Love Bites’ shorts from Iris Prize, there’s plenty to choose from. Our Film Hub Wales members make BFI blockbusters creative, exciting seasons to look out for. With Chapter as our Hub lead organisation in Wales, we have an unmissable season ahead.”
Heather Stewart, Creative Director, BFI said: ‘‘Film can bring love to life more powerfully than any other art form - it is cinema's most seductive illusion and has transformed the way we see ourselves, and our love lives. Our season is not about sex. We’re getting back to LOVE: embracing the intimacy of the close-up and the anticipation of the much longed-for screen kiss: the very language of cinema itself.”
The heart-warming and heart-breaking highlights from the Film Hub Wales BFI LOVE offering include:
Find out more about BFI LOVE at: www.bfi.org.uk/love and on social media: @BFI #BFILOVE
NOTES TO EDITORS:
For further enquiries contact:
Dan Thomas: email@example.com / 07989 971956
Fleur Tucker: firstname.lastname@example.org / 07703 679227