Rhowan is WOW's marketing officer. As a Japanese language graduate (SOAS), unsurprisingly she is a massive fan of Kore-eda Hirokazu, Beat Takeshi and all things Ghibli.
In an isolated house in the parched back of beyond in Bulgaria a mother supports her husband and teenage son by washing sheets for local hotels.
Mascaro has a happy knack of creating magical, atmospheric films from the everyday lives of ordinary folk who dare to dream. A cowboy working the rodeos around the back roads of Brazil, Iremar knows there’s more to life than his daily routine of bulls, dust and macho posturing.
If you want to be totally immersed in Tibetan culture this is for you. Rising before dawn to light the fire and load up the yaks, the inhabitants of a remote Himalayan village plan their pilgrimage to Lhasa.
Beautifully framed and shot, this visceral, anti-war silent movie is brought to life by Guy Bartell’s resonant score. The Great War has brought devastation, heartache and hardship to the Ukrainian people.
Timosh, a demobbed soldier, returns to his hometown Kiev amidst celebrations of Ukrainian freedom, only to challenge the local authorities by calling for the soviet system to be adopted. From its devastating opening sequence onwards you are acutely aware of the emotional impact of a completely different style of filmmaking. Anyone who saw the wonderful Turksib at WOW a couple of years ago will not want to miss this.
With live musical accompaniment by Bronnt Industries Kapital
This is the terrific, tender, emotionally restrained but powerful story of the unlikely love between a married Hassidic Jewess and a rich wastrel.
The brilliant Kore-eda's (I Wish, Still Walking) amazing ability to get natural performances from his cast creates a real sense of family life unfolding. Three sisters take in their younger half-sister, who they meet for the first time at their father’s funeral.
Like nothing you’ve ever seen before this staggeringly original dive into history raises endless, fascinating questions. Two unrepentant, unpunished mass murderers reenact their killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.
Set in the fabulous Ethiopian Highlands this is a delightful portrait of village life amongst subsistence farmers. Young Ephraim is left with his tyrannical uncle while his father looks for work. Alone in an unfamiliar world, Ephraim’s constant companion is his pet sheep, apparently destined for the pot.
This moody, masterful melodrama has a killer twist. When young couple on-the-run Sara and Iwan crash their car into a stream near a remote farmhouse they’re rescued by dogged loner Stanley.
Delighting in the beauty of Patagonia’s volcanoes, mountains and glaciers, this extraordinary film will give you much to ponder. In the same lyrical vein as his wonderful Nostalgia for The Light, Guzman ruminates on astronomy, water, memory, and much else besides.
Deep Listening - film screening and workshop with Helen Iles (via SKYPE)
at Small World Theatre, Cardigan, 20th February 2016 from 7pm
Exploring the timely Aboriginal concept of Deep Listening, this film is a fascinating portrait of the diverse communities thriving across Australia over 40 years. Beautifully made by the director of Lammas, this film explores the interpersonal dynamics of these ‘intentional communities’. It reveals the importance of taking time to truly listen to one another if we are to learn to live together in harmony. Share the insights of a generation that created an alternative lifestyle based on respect for the land, for the indigenous people and for one another.
Deep Listening Workshop 8.15pm
Led by Helen Iles via SKYPE
Deep Listening inspires contemplation about the value and role of community. Using the film as a tool, the audience is guided through an exercise in “speaking and listening”, taking turns to hear and be heard, to consider ways of being in the land, with ourselves and with each other.
WOW WOMEN’S FILM CLUB
Tuesday 8th December, 10.00am
Chapter Arts Centre
£5.50 / £3.50
Ticket includes film, lunch and crèche
(Free tickets for asylum seekers)
If you’re male in Thailand, in the year of your 21st birthday, you gather with guys the same age from your district to pick a card from an urn in front of everybody. If the card is black, your military service is waived and you don’t need to go. If it’s red, however, you must commit two years of your life serving your country. Unlike in other countries, where military service is either voluntary or compulsory, in Thailand it's largely dependent on luck. Consider this in relation to Thailand's relatively liberal stance on LGBT issues, with homosexuality having been decriminalised in 1956. It wasn't until 2005, however, that the ban on LGBT soldiers in the military was lifted.
This is a subject that director Josh Kim has explored previously, as he explains, "Before coming to Thailand, I had never actually seen this process before... it was still unclear what the rules were regarding male to female transgenders. So in 2013, I made a short documentary, which followed two transgender women on the day of their own draft."
Kim's experience of making Draft Day went into writing How to Win at Checkers (Every Time), Thailand's entry to the 2016 Academy Awards, which is being screened on Thursday 8 & Saturday 10 October at the Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff (in association with WOW).
Aberystwyth Arts Centre is bringing back two of the most popular and successful films of the 2015 WOW festival, Dukhtar and Timbuktu, for a double bill on Saturday 17 July.
Leila Sansour gave a tremendously successful Q&A at Taliesin Arts Centre on Monday night, when 190 people attended the WOW festival screening of Open Bethlehem, an event well supported by Swansea's Palestine support groups. Pictured from left to right are David Gillam, Open Bethlehem's director Leila Sansour and her assistant Julia Katarina.
With the support of Conversations About Cinema, we have been able to document a number of the panel discussions that have taken place during the 2015 WOW film festival.
Fadhili Maghiya (Watch Africa Film Festival), Dr Rachel Langford (Cardiff University) and Sandra Skinner (Hay Timbuktu) discuss issues raised by Abderrahmane Sissako's film Timbuktu and the nuances and complexity of the socio-political situation in Mali.
WOW Festival Director David Gillam is joined by guests Dr Saeed Zeydabadi-Nejad (School of Oriental and African Studies, Dr Maryam Ghorbankarimi (St Andrews University) and Ehsan Khoshbakht (Iranian Film Critic, Curator ad Architect) who discuss the Iranian classics Hamoun by Dariush Mehrjui and Under the Skin of the City by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad.
A heart warming, Oscar nominated story of a boy from a poor family who is devastated when he loses his sisters beloved pink shoes. Not wanting his parents to find out, he sets out to find, and then try to win, a new pair.
Quite possibly the most eye poppingly gorgeous film ever made, this sumptuous allegorical tale focuses on an almost extinct nomadic tribe of South Eastern Iran who are famed for their intricately designed Persian "Gabbeh" carpets.
We're delighted that Dukhtar/Daughter Director Afia Nathaniel and Co-producer Cordelia Stephens, will be joining WOW for Q&As following all three screenings of their award winning film at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff this month. They have some amazing stories to tell about their experiences, both in the lead up to and during the making of Dukhtar/Daughter, which was filmed in the Himalayan mountains in the north of Pakistan. For example, how they overcame the obstacles of getting a film made in a desolate region disputed between Pakistan and India, where no other film crew had been given permission to film.
We're really fortunate to have quite a few director Q&As in the festival this year. If, like us, you enjoy getting the chance to ask questions about the film you have just seen and are fascinated by what inspires filmmakers and what it takes to get the job done, then come along and join in with what promise to be some fascinating discussions.