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.
Here's our short film about a very enjoyable project working with Mencap Ceredigion to set up an animation club and create Abercon, Ceredigion's own inclusive anime convention.
Many thanks to Bethan Kench and family, Jake Whittaker, Hannah Rounding and all the particpants, businesses, volunteers and support!
WOW connects Welsh communities with global issues through the powerful medium of film.
In recent years public funding for film festivals in Wales has become increasingly limited so we are appealing to our audiences for support.
Many of the films that we show are not in distribution in the UK so your only chance to see them is at WOW Film Festival. However this also means they are more expensive for us to bring to Wales.
The funds raised through this crowd funding campaign will go towards paying the screening fees for next year's festival. This will allow us to continue to bring you the kind of adventurous, eclectic range of films that you have enjoyed over the last 18 years.
Thanks to the generosity of one of our loyal supporters any donation you make, however small (or indeed large!) will be matched, doubling the value of your gift to the festival.
If you would like to donate, please go to: https://www.gofundme.com/wow-film-festival-2020
I couldn't finish up today without a quick post to say thank you to everyone involved in making today's anime convention #abercon a roaring success! Bethan, Jan, Dylan, Roger, at Mencap Ceredigion plus numerous volunteers, Robin's Nest comic book store, Game Park who came with virtual reality headsets, Hannah and Gemma who came to run a drop in animation workshop throughout the day, and Ben Lake MP who cut short his visit to the Plaid Cymru conference just to join us. And especially all the cosplayers and the wonderful staff at Aberystwyth Arts Centre for accommodating us.
Here are a few pictures from the day. There will be more to follow!
For the second year running, WOW Film Festival has succeeded in curating a programme in which half the films are F-Rated, meaning that they are either directed or written by women. After 2018’s 50% F-Rated programme, I questioned whether we would be able to maintain that ratio in future years. But once again in 2019 women filmmakers continue to be prominent among the most striking and relevant voices in world cinema today.
Notable F-Rated films in WOW’s programme include Cathy Yen’s Dead Pigs (Sundance World Cinema Special Jury Prize) from China, Cristina Gallego’s Birds of Passage (Honourable Mention Best Film London Film Festival) from Colombia, Renée Nader Messora’s The Dead and the Others (Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival) from Brazil, Dominga Sotomayor’s Too Late to Die Young (Best Director Locarno International Film Festival) from Chile and Mouly Surya’s Marlina The Murderer in Four Acts (Winner Special Award Asia Pacific Film Festival) from Indonesia.
Today, to honour International Women’s Day I’d like to put the spotlight on two extraordinarily intimate documentaries that gained unprecedented access to women’s lives in Libya and Japan: Freedom Fields and Ama-san.
Set against the breathtaking expanse of the Mongolian steppe The Eagle Huntress follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter.
The 2019 WOW Film Festival trailer is here!
This year's festival has a global-rural theme, with a strong selection of South-American films, more than a hint of shamanism and our usual F-Rated focus - more than half the films in the programme are either directed or written by women!
We're also bringing Aberystwyth it's first comicon style convention, Abercon, a partnership event with Mencap Ceredigion, whose idea it was!
Tickets are now on sale too!
Tuesday 26 March, The Riverfront, Newport & Aberystwyth Arts Centre
With years of experience in narrative, commercial and documentary production Flore joined the core team at Scottish Documentary Institute (SDI), an internationally recognised research centre for documentary, in 2010. She is managing their various training initiatives and industry events, including the Edinburgh Pitch, and oversees the production of the flagship filmmaking program Bridging the Gap.
She is a tutor for creative documentary workshops, run by the Institute in collaboration with the British Council. These workshops have taken her to Libya, Palestine and Morocco, where she has exec-produced short documentaries directed by local filmmaking teams.
Flore has produced mid-length documentaries for UK broadcasters (BBC, STV) as well as short documentaries distributed in festivals internationally. FREEDOM FIELDS is her first feature documentary.
Saturday 23rd March, 5.30pm, Aberystwyth Arts Centre
Dr Francesca Fois will give a talk on “Shamanism in Brazil” before the film, The Dead and the Others.
Francesca Fois is a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Salford – Manchester from February 2018. Francesca’s doctoral research undertaken at Newcastle University explored alternative spaces such as intentional spiritual communities drawing upon ethnographic research. Since 2012, Francesca has been collaborating with Terra Mirim, a shamanic community located in Bahia, Brazil, and has organised a series of public events about sustainable communal living and shamanism in the UK and Italy with members of the community (https://www.xamam.org/t-en). Francesca has been supporting Terra Mirim environmental activism and their recent mobilisation against the construction of a landfill in a protected area of the Atlantic Forest in the Metropolitan Region of Salvador (Bahia).
Saturday 23 March, Aberystwyth Arts Centre
At last Aberystwyth has it's own comicon convention!
Everyone is welcome!
This has been a dream of Mencap Ceredigion's members for many years. Please come and support it and help Abercon grow.
This is a partnership event between WOW Film Festival and Mencap Ceredigion. Suitable for everyone and all ages!
Ticket offer: £13 for a group of 4 (each film)
This year’s ‘Global-Rural’ theme encompasses many films that depict the impact of globalization on rural societies, as well as the rise of ‘rural cosmopolitanism’.
Sunday 24 March, 5pm
Global Rural: Encountering the Global Countryside
Professor Michael Woods explores the impact of the globalization of rural societies and the responses of rural communities to these changes.
Dr Francesca Fois will introduce the Sardinia case study and En Route film.
6.15pm En Route film
What does it feel like to trek overland across Africa, risk the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean and then find oneself stuck in limbo in the Sardinian countryside? This is the dilemma En Route explores with two groups of young African men who find life in Europe rather different from what they’d expected, focusing on the everyday life, the travel stories, the desires and aspirations of young migrants.
+ Q&A with the directors Gaetano Crivano and Margherita Pisano
This intelligent feel-good film tackles urgent global issues with wry humour and a playful, genre-bending wit. Independent, feisty 40-something Halla is not just the life and soul of the local choir but also leads a double life as an undercover environmental activist.
A moving tale full of memorable images interspersed with moments of great beauty, charm and dry humour. Living in a yurt amid the frozen expanses of Siberia, an elderly Yakut couple, Sedna and Nanook seem to be the last people still living the traditional way.
Subversive, gorgeously shot and truly unusual, this is a finely-executed mash-up of Tarantino, spaghetti Western and Indonesian folk tale complete with poison berries, machete-wielding women, rape, murder, revenge and headless ghosts.
A serenely intimate portrait of three generations of Japanese diving women, their mothers and grandmothers whose delicate bodies transform underwater into those of sea hunters. The ama-san’s way of life dates back 2,000 years and their mysterious rituals seemingly come from such a faraway and dreamlike past.
Satyajit Ray, one of the greatest directors of world cinema, set this groundbreaking social satire about the changing roles of women in Indian society in his native city, bustling Calcutta.
Football, feminism and revolution are the subjects of this extraordinary documentary, shot over the course of five years following the Arab Spring. The Libyan women's football team is made up of a diverse group - the captain is a petro-physicist, the family of one of the players is displaced and the goalkeeper is training to become a doctor.
With a tone that recalls Apocalypse Now this presents a breathtaking journey through the Amazon from a native perspective that captures the extraordinary landscapes with a haunting sense of wonder. The last surviving member of his tribe, native shaman Karamakate leads the two interlocking stories of European travellers in search of a rare healing plant.
Liberated by the end of the Pinochet dictatorship, a group of families set up an isolated community under the Andes, where they hope to build a new world away from the excesses of urban living.
Smartly-executed by Danis Tanovic (an Oscar winner for No Man’s Land) he balances both the inspirational true story of the whistle-blower at the heart of the Nestle baby-milk scandal and the wrap-around story of how films that question corporate irresponsibility are squashed by legal threats.
What does it feel like to trek overland across Africa, risk the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean and then find oneself stuck in limbo in the Sardinian countryside? This is the dilemma En Route explores with two groups of young African men who find life in Europe rather different from what they’d expected.