FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday 15th February 2019
WOW Wales One World Film Festival returns from Thursday 21st March. This is WOW Film Festival’s 18th journey of discovery through the riches of world cinema, bringing an eclectic, colourful and eye-opening view of our world to film fans around Wales.
As ever WOW brings to Wales the very best films that have won major awards at festivals worldwide, such as Dead Pigs (Sundance World Cinema Special Jury Prize), Aga (Best Director, Eurasian Film Festival), Birds of Passage (Honourable Mention Best Film London Film Festival), Burning (Cannes Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize), The Dead and the Others (Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival) and Three Faces (Co-Winner Best Screenplay Cannes Film Festival 2018).
“We’re immensely proud of this year’s festival programme” says David Gillam of WOW Film Festival who happens to be the UK’s longest serving film festival director. “WOW connects audiences in rural Wales to trends happening around the world. Sparking conversations around what we have in common is one of the reasons that WOW Film Festival is more committed than ever to giving more people and places around Wales access to world cinema.” This global-rural theme runs throughout the WOW Film Festival programme in 2019.
Some of rural Wales’s most socially isolated people are actively leading the development of AberCon, a comicon style anime event being hosted by the festival at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on Saturday 23rd March. This ground-breaking new initiative is a partnership with Mencap Ceredigion, a grass-roots group who support people with learning disabilities, autism and brain injury. Animation is a brilliant way for autistic adults and children to improve communication skills, and over the course of the winter WOW Film Festival has been working with a group of Mencap Ceredigion members to create their own animations. AberCon will showcase their work alongside relaxed, accessible screenings of stunning Japanese animes.
Jan Kench, chair of Mencap Ceredigion says, “AberCon is an event that we have dreamed of holding for years. Many of our members would like to attend the comicons in the big cities, but do not have the means and support to travel. This is a chance for them to access this kind of event here in Ceredigion. AberCon will welcome everyone and we hope that it will bring people together from all walks of life around a shared interest in anime, cosplay and fandoms. It’s going to be lots of fun!”
WOW Film Festival’s sister project the WOW Women’s Film Club makes the cinema accessible to marginalised women from black and minority ethnic, refugee and asylum seeking communities in South Wales. On the morning of Tuesday 26th March in Newport (Gwent) the WOW Women’s Film Club will be hosting producer Flore Cosquer at the Wales premiere of the documentary Freedom Fields about the Libyan national women’s football team. Cosquer will be introducing her film in Aberystwyth that evening too.
WOW has a strong track record of showcasing films directed or written by women, who are still woefully underrepresented in top roles in the mainstream film industry. Margherita Pisano will join co-director Gaetano Crivano at the UK Premiere of En Route, their documentary about African migrants in rural Sardinia. Such ‘F-Rated films’ make up half of WOW programme in 2019 and include films such as Cathy Yen’s Dead Pigs, a smart, vibrant comedy set in Shanghai, and Dominga Sotomayor’s Too Late to Die Young, a sensuous coming-of-age tale that woozily evokes a Chilean summer after the fall of the Pinochet dictatorship.
There are three essentially feminist films directed by men in the festival: Jafar Panahi’s Three Faces astutely probes Iran’s patriarchal customs and how they impact on Iranian women. Gustavo Pizzi’s Loveling, from Brazil, (co-written with Karine Teles who also gives a tremendous performance in the lead role), is a humorous and tender family drama that gleefully shows the full range of emotions felt by a mother at the centre of a loving but chaotic household. Hayao Miyazaki’s animated classic Kiki’s Delivery Service is about a courageous young witch who bravely takes on the challenges of adapting to a new life in the city with the support of the women around her.
Other themes in 2019’s diverse and wonderful selection are shamanism and eco-feminism. In Aga an elderly Yakut couple live in a yurt in Siberia surrounded by signs that climate change is making their traditional way of life even more precarious. The immersive The Dead and the Others, set in a tribal community in Brazil, is an atmospheric, visually poetic portrait of a young man resisting his destiny as a shaman. The striking Colombian movie Birds of Passage, Ciro Guerra’s follow up to the exceptional Embrace of the Serpent, sees a tribal matriarch, guided by her shamanic beliefs and practices, seek wealth and prestige for her clan through the drugs trade. In the humorous Woman at War from Iceland, an independent, feisty 40-something leads a double life as an undercover environmental activist. Ama-san is Cláudia Varejão’s intimate portrait of three generations of ama-san, or Japanese diving women, lovingly depicting their rituals, spirituality, reverence for nature and strong sense of community.
Bringing films from South America, North Africa, Siberia, Iceland, Iran, Korea, China and Japan to Wales, WOW Film Festival takes place at Aberystwyth Arts Centre from Thursday 21st - Thursday 28th March before travelling to Swansea, Newport (Gwent), Fishguard, Cardigan, Narberth, Mold and Oswestry. See www.wowfilmfestival.com for details of the full programme.
WOW Film Festival is funded by Film Hub for Wales and Ffilm Cymru Wales.
Aberystwyth Arts Centre:
Thursday 21st - Thursday 28th March
The Riverfront, Newport
Tuesday 26th March
Theatr Clwyd, Mold
Tuesday 26 March - Tuesday 9 April
Wednesday 27 March - Thursday 4 April
Theatr Gwaun, Fishguard
Saturday 30 March
Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan
Sunday 7 April
Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea
Monday 8th - Wednesday 10th April
Queen’s Hall, Narberth
Sunday 14 April
The Courtyard, Hereford
Monday 29th April - Monday 13th May
For all press enquiries, interviews and images, contact Rhowan Alleyne,