Persian New Year, or Nowruz coincides with the opening weekend of the WOW film festival. Deeply rooted in Zoroastrian traditions, Nowruz, meaning ‘New Day’, has been celebrated for at least 3,000 years to mark the start of Spring.
When we found out that it was actually celebrated for two weeks, it was the perfect excuse to hold a little party in our west Wales home town of Cardigan, on Saturday 28th March.
Here we have Small World Theatre, a sustainable community arts venue resembling of a pagoda, creating the perfect space for a sociable evening involving great food and a great film!
After only two years in Melbourne, I wasn't sure that we would be able to muster the kind of crowd that turned out for the premiere of my last film, Lammas, which launched to packed houses across Wales as part of the WOW Wales One World Film Festival in January 2013.
Then, we faced blizzards of snow, whilst here, on March 1, the thunderstorms which rage across the city the night before thankfully give way to a calm, warm evening.
Are you an aspiring screenwriter, director or producer looking to progress your career in film or television?
BFI NET.WORK Wales are presenting their latest Launchpad event for writers, directors and producers in conjunction with BBC Wales and CULT Cymru at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff on Saturday 28th March 2015.
The event is targeted specifically at Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) talent with the aim of championing under represented voices and stories from Wales. We invite all new and emerging talent from BAME backgrounds born or based in Wales, to join us for this unique opportunity.
There will be a mix of sessions for producers, writers and directors including talent labs, screenings and a networking reception. Speakers and mentors include producer Stella Nwimo (Human Traffic, Stud Life), writer-director CampbellX (Stud Life), producer John Giwa-Amu (The Machine, Silent Storm), Nadia Denton, Calum Gray (Independent Film Group) Deborah Sathe (Film London), film maker and festival programmer Cary Sawhney and writer-director Kolton Lee.
Screenings include 4 short films from Film London’s initiative for BAME film makers - London Calling+ - and Amma Asante’s first feature, set in Wales: A Way Of Life.
Ffilm Cymru Wales also have calls out for Writers' Lab and Director's Lab participants, targeting aspiring BAME filmmakers.
Here's the 2015 WOW Festival trailer, carefully crafted by Jacob Whittaker, an artist and filmmaker based in Cardigan. The rather catchy tune is taken from Where is My Friend's Home?, Abbas Kiarostami's classic 'kid quest' movie, which features in our Iranian season, starting on March 21st. Enjoy!
WOW audiences from a couple of years back may well remember the stunning live soundtrack performance by Bronnt Industries Kapital. They are now releasing their new album Turksib on Monday 19th January 2015 on I Own You Records. The album is comprised of music from Bronnt's soundtrack to the acclaimed Russian film Turksib (1929, dir. Viktor Turin), commissioned by the British Film Institute and originally released as the centrepiece of The Soviet Influence: From Turksib to Nightmail, a collection of films looking at the influence of Soviet propaganda on British filmmaking. We wish them well with the new album and look forward to future projects.
I had a great time at Sheffield DocFest, meeting up with a number of colleagues, making some new contacts and seeing a dozen films. This was the first time I had been to the DocFest and among my highlights were:
Only in west Wales could you go to a nomadic film festival that begins in the village hall, travels to a workers cottage, the pub, the old school and a mansion before ending with a dance party!
Curated through an open call, 'Bodies in Land' is bringing an international line up of artist, moving image, experimental and dance film to the north Pembrokeshire village of Abercych.
These images capture perfectly last night's joyous celebration of the best of Bollywood film at the Samaj Community Centre with Bollywood Brass Band. The event sold out over a week ahead and we must say a huge thank you to the centre's secretary Anoup Kerrai and all the volunteers involved at the centre who gave WOW and our sister project, the WOW Women's Film Club, such a warm welcome, making it a night to remember.
Today it's the turn of Anoup Kerrai from Grangetown's Samaj Community Centre and Sita Thomas from the Bollywood Brass Band, who tell us about their favourite childhood films.
Sita: My favourite childhood film is Disney's The Parent Trap. I've watched it so many times that I know all of the words. A brilliant Lindsay Lohan (before she went bad) playing the coolest twins Hallie and Annie; the plot made me hope I'd be reunited with a long-lost twin - I'd take her place in India, she'd put on a Welsh accent and be me!
Anoup: This is probably the hardest question I've ever had to answer! My brothers and I would forever burn through tapes of John Candy Films, Superman, The Jungle Book and a Hindi film called Hum. They all stuck inside the VCR and cost my Dad a small fortune in repairs. If I had to narrow it down though it has to be Star Wars, we have all grown up as huge tech and sci-fi enthusiasts from the original Star Wars trilogy. We never really understood quite why Darth Vadar was so evil as he seemed amazing to us all that power and a red light sabre, he was the only bad guy we all wanted to play.