Beacons shorts highlight Welsh film flair

Seven new shorts from diverse emerging Welsh filmmakers have been selected to go into production through Ffilm Cymru Wales and BFI NET.WORK’s Beacons scheme.

From an historical Welsh-language thriller to apocalyptic animation, this fresh crop of short films displays a broad range of bold voices and burgeoning talent. With sponsorship from Western Edge Pictures, part of the Wales based finance company Gennaker Group, the successful shorts will start production in the autumn. The selected films are:

Writer: Matt Redd
Director: Ryan Hooper
A black comedy about Brendan, a toll booth operator in the middle of nowhere with a disdain for conversation, a mild lactose intolerance and an interest in the genre of the academic novel. Why do all his customers keep trying to change him?   

Writer-director:  Medeni Griffiths
Producer: Julie Gardner, Bad Wolf Productions
Based on the Welsh legend, Beddgelert tells the story of Llewelyn, a prince grieving for his dead wife. He seeks solitude in a remote hunting lodge, taking with him his newborn son and his most trusted hound, Gelert. But despite Gelert’s companionship, Llewelyn is blinded by grief, and he fails to see the new danger that threatens his family. This exciting filmmaker team will work with a specialist in 12th century Welsh language to achieve complete authenticity in the period dialogue.

Creepy Pasta Salad
Writer-Director: Lauren Orme
Producer: Amy Morris, Winding Snake
A werewolf with an anxiety disorder, a ghost with low self-confidence and a lonely witch muddle through their everyday lives in this apocalyptic animation. Following her film education work with Amy Morris and their animation company Winding Snake, Lauren Orme’s last short Fade was recently selected as Best of the Postroom on the BFI NET.WORK online portal.

Egg Soldier
Writer-Director: Guymon Cheung
As a boy in an isolated farmhouse tries to survive his crazed father, he yearns for the return of his mother to protect him - but instead slowly discovers his father’s grim past. Welsh filmmaker Guymon Cheung studied at the New York Film Academy before building a career in music videos and commercials.

Writer-Director: Carys Lewis
Producer: Lisa Davies
A dinner party turns awkward when one guest arrives with the taxidermied body of her recently deceased husband. This filmmaker team was forged on BFI NET.WORK Wales’ Female Directors Lab last summer, and Lewis was recently selected to direct the first ever Straeon Iris Welsh language LGBT short film, Afiach.

Writer-Director-Animator: Shwan Nosratpour
In this delightful stop-motion comedy of megalithic proportions, travel through the mysterious mists of time and join three wise old druids on a quest to restore the balance of their world after an inexplicable catastrophe. Sunspots is the debut animated film by Shwan Nosratpour, in which he brings his charming handmade models to life.

The Vest
Writer-Director: Lesley Manning
Producer: Myf Hopkins
An anonymous man in a mac is walking through rush hour of a city. Unbeknownst to anyone he is wearing a suicide vest. While determinedly walking through the crowds, he is disturbed by unexpected glimpses of humanity. Away from the crowd he breaks down. Can he complete his mission? Lesley Manning has extensive experience in directing for television, and is currently developing sci-fi feature Extrasensory with Ffilm Cymru Wales.

Congratulating the successful filmmakers, BFI NET.WORK Wales Manager Tracy Spottiswoode commented “Beacons shines a light on emerging talent from Wales, offering Welsh filmmakers an opportunity to showcase their cinematic flair. Once again, we had an overwhelming response with so many high quality applications making it exceptionally difficult for the panel to choose the final seven projects. It’s great to see a majority of women directors and filmmakers from diverse backgrounds following on from our recent Launchpad initiatives to support equality of opportunity and improved inclusivity of the sector.”

Last year’s Beacons’ films attracted Michael Sheen to join Carl Rock’s ‘Welsh Gremlins’ adventure The Truthful Phone, while Catherine Linstrum gained production funding for her feature debut Resolute after shooting her Beacons short Things That Fall from the Sky (pictured).  It’s clear that the Beacons scheme can make a real difference. 

Gennaker Group CEO Vaughan Sivell said, "The Beacons shorts scheme is an exciting chance to work with filmmakers from all backgrounds and disciplines. We are immensely proud of our roots in Wales and hope we can help encourage the global reach of the talent involved.”

Click here for more information on Beacons, and find BFI NETWORK Wales on Facebook and Twitter for updates.