BAFTA Cymru, IRIS Prize & Cineworld

We were lucky enough to attend a special screening at Cineworld Cardiff that was a joint venture between BAFTA Cymru and the IRIS Prize.

BAFTA Cymru has a remit to ‘champion film, television and games in Wales’ and their latest achievement has been partnering with Cineworld Cardiff with the launch of a BAFTA Cymru branded bar & screening events at the cinema; this being the first.

IRIS Prize is Cardiff’s international LGBT short film festival. 30 short films are in competition every year for a £30,000 prize fund that allows the winner to make another short film in the UK; this is a great initiative that brings interesting film-makers to make shorts in the UK.

The event began with a special screening of the LGBT short film Followers from writer/director Tim Marshall; the recipient of last years IRIS Prize. Followed by a Q&A with Iris Prize producer Grant Vidgen.

“Lynn, a lonely elderly woman, finds solace in an unlikely vision of Jesus that happens to be on the shorts of a young African man at her swimming class”

This is an insightful yet comedic look at what happens when an gay African male is introduced to a small welsh community…full review to follow.

The film has already been well received internationally; garnering selections for Sundance & SXSW film festivals ahead of the film’s UK première at the BFI Flare LGBT film festival.

The evening finished with a preview screening of the series finale of BBC period drama Wolf Hall ‘a historical drama chronicling the rise of Thomas Cromwell, the son of a humble blacksmith who became King Henry VIII’s chief minister’.

This was incredibly well shot, acted; and perhaps darker than most period drama’s in this gripping finale episode.IMG_2671

This was followed by a very interesting Q&A session  with assistant location manager Rebecca Pearson and researcher/graphic designer Josephine Watkinson detailing everything from re-creating manuscripts to the difficulties of shooting and lighting with a large number of candles.

We caught up with BAFTA Cymru director Hannah Raybould about the organization’s activities into 2015.

What does the relationship with Cineworld mean For BAFTA Cymru?

“I think it’s really important for us…because we’re a charity and we need to be showing off the great work that is coming out of Wales so we need a screen to do that and Cineworld have very kindly offered us a monthly slot where we can support the local film-making community (by) having preview screenings and q&a’s. So for them (Cineworld) it feeds into their support of the local industry and we get a home….”

Screening events will also continue however at the Chapter Arts Centre; which is the current favoured venue for film events in Cardiff (i.e. Cardiff Independent Film Festival)

“…this allows us to do bigger things because we’ve got more seats and we’ve got the (BAFTA Cymru) bar…’s a great relationship to have”

What about your relationship with the IRIS prize?

“They’re fantastic! BAFTA and IRIS Prize I think have had their relationship for the whole nine years that IRIS Prize has been going. It’s a very good, mutually beneficial relationship. We want to be reaching out to anyone that’s making films at BAFTA Cymru…we want to be celebrating their work but we also want them to join BAFTA; to join the network of members so that we can build up this support structure and we want to be talking to every kind of film-maker there is so for us to be able to work with an organization like IRIS Prize that’s got a fantastic network and a great following and is generally seen to be a really fun organization to be part of….it definitely offers them something but it offers us more I think”

What’s going on with BAFTA Cymru in 2015?

“We’ve got Lots going on to be honest! We’re planning about 50-60 events during the year. We’ve got obviously the regular preview screenings at Chapter and the preview screenings here (Cineworld) which will always have Talent; so will always have a Q&A attached. We’ve just finished our Doctor Who season where we’ve been showing a lot of archive films and we’d like to do more archive screenings so we’re looking a various film-makers we can focus on from Wales. We are hoping to do a few events to celebrate the 150 years of Patagonia (welsh settlers) so there’s a few Patagonian films the we’re going to be screening. We’re going to be doing some more intimate gatherings so we’re going to hopefully going to be using the Cineworld bar and some small Q&A sessions with producers & film-makers where maybe 20-30 can come together and ask a few questions. We’re trying to do as much as we can for students and career starters…who need some support, advice and mentoring. And of course we’ve got the awards! So we’ve got the games awards in June and the main awards in October”

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