From the Best of Bollywood, to the rolling mountains of Switzerland, Wales’ travelling film festival returns this March with an inspiring feast of cinematic magic from around the globe. First brought to our attention in 2001 – thanks to the daring imagination of festival director David Gillam – Wales One World film festival has continuously challenged, excited and touched audiences all across Wales. This year, the festival promises to be bigger and better than ever before, with a diverse range of untold stories and dazzling events to rival the popularity of previous years.

Travelling between Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff, Clwyd Theatr Cymru Mold, Taliesin Swansea and Theatr Mwldan Cardigan, WOW 2014 brings 18 of the very best world cinema films to all parts of Wales, with exclusive events across every location.

A Story of Children and Film

A Story of Children and Film

 Kicking off on Friday 21 March until Wednesday 9 April, the festival opens at Chapter Arts Centre with the Welsh premier of A Story of Children and Film; a rich exploration of the position of children in arguably the most popular art form of our time. Drawing on scenes from some of the most recognised classics, the film is directed by the celebrated Mark Cousins, the director of Channel 4’s The Story of Film, and followed by a special Q & A session. 

Metro Manila, Sundance Film Festival 2013

Metro Manila

 But this year’s festival doesn’t stop there. Perhaps one of the most outstanding factors of WOW 2014 is the high level of work it is exhibiting, with award-winning and BAFTA nominated world cinema scattered throughout. Winner of the Audience Award at the Sundance film festival and BAFTA nominated Metro Manila promises to shock audiences with its tense and gripping thrill factor, whilst the winner of last year’s Best Documentary Prize at last year’s European film awards Winter Nomads looks to take audiences on a thought-provoking journey of discovery.


Winter Nomads

 The ingenious work on display truly plays homage to the journey the festival has taken itself on since 2001, becoming a globally recognised and powerful event, attracting world-class talent and pulling in growing audiences year on year.

 The growing phenomenon that is WOW also means the festival can now put on bigger events, such as this years Best of Bollywood Live; a new departure for the festival thanks to a partnership between WOW and their sister project, WOW Women’s Film Club. The event will take place on Saturday 22 March with a pop-up film and live music experience at Samaj Community Centre, Grangetown. Magnificent clips of iconic Bollywood scenes accompanied by the encapsulating beat of the Bollywood Brass Band promise to transport its audience members out of the festival and into a whole new world, with a delicious array of authentic Gujarati food set to seal the evening in true style.

BBB Oslo Opera posing - photo Michelle Baracho

Bollywood Brass Band

 And that’s not all. Big or small, popular or untold, every story that the Wales One World film festival brings to its audiences illuminates our world in which we live in, from the voices of those often kept quiet. The festival brings the world a little closer to home, and takes its audience on a journey to places they may have never been. It’s innovative, expressive and utterly inspiring; and this year’s programme looks to take the festival to new heights.



Papusza Still 2 (1)

 An inspired evocation of a Gypsy life lost for ever, this film charts the life of Polish Roma Poet Bronislawa, full of music, despair and triumph. With strikingly beautiful black and white imagery and a tale of discovery, this film looks to linger in the audiences’ mind for years to come.



 The tale of Anne, a strong-willed widow trying to piece her life back together after the civil unrest of Kenya. The film follows her life after the 2007 elections, where devastation left her widowed, her son hospitalized and her farm in tatters. Inspiring, consuming and heart-rendering; a must.



 Something entirely different, this classy supernatural thriller is a cleverly scripted and atmospheric portrait of a twisted ghost story and a paranormal murder mystery.



 A powerful Palestinian drama about a rebellious young refugee on the hunt to find his Father. A touching story of people affected by the trying times around them, desperately searching for a way out.



Quaint and subtle, this film tells the romantic tale of two mismatched personalities that have never even met. Clever, comical and charming, this delightful picture promises to put a smile on your face.



It has been an absolute pleasure meeting some of the International stars of Takeover Cardiff  this week.  Not only has it been wonderful to speak to such inspirational people, but it has been incredibly interesting and inspiring to see  the different ways in which they work.  I am so excited for the fantastic things that tomorrow has to hold, and humbled that I have had first hand experience of the artist’s incredible work.

Today I met Lotte van Gale: the documentary film maker from The Netherlands.

Lotte has come to Cardiff for the very first time to work alongside Zoom Cymru for Saturday’s event, creating incredible films with 17 – 23 year olds.

Lotte’s work is emotional, appealing and innovative, and she brings to Zoom Cymru a wealth of experience and knowledge. Earlier I met her for a low-down of all things “filmy”, and what exciting things we can expect from Saturday’s showing…

Q: Can you tell me a bit more about the work that you do? 

A: In the Netherlands, I work as a documentary film maker. Since graduating last year, I’ve been really lucky with some of the exciting work I have been asked to do. When I first met the guys from Zoom Cymru, I was actually participating in a European Film Forum in Milan. The Forum was basically a chance for young film makers from all over Europe to get together, network and learn from one another. That’s how I got to know them – Zoom Cymru were also there! They told me they were working with Takeover Cardiff, and were looking for an international artist. When they invited me over, I was overjoyed to say yes!

 Q: What led you to become a documentary film maker?

A: I always wanted to do something creative. Initially, I was really interested in journalism. At about the age of 17, I was introduced to this critical film by a Dutch film maker, Sunny Bergman. The film was called Berperkt Houdbaar, and revolved around the notion of female beauty, and the way that women are pressurized by the media to look a certain way. This film hugely inspired me, and let me down the path of documentary film making.

I then got into film school – quite a big feat as places are coveted in the Netherlands! This was a brilliant learning curve for me as it taught me that I didn’t want to make political or critical films. I wanted to make “film films”!

Q: What does your work tend to be about? 

A: There is no particular theme with my work. I’m not really drawn to subjects portraying actuality. I prefer to evoke a level of emotion in my work, and something that is understandable to everyone, regardless of education and background.

For example, I created a graduation film centred around the Dutch Coast. The film wasn’t filled with facts, but rather encapsulated what the coast meant to me in a poetic way. I’m currently working on a film about family relationships, and in particular gay men’s relationships with their Mothers. It’s subject matters like this that I love to convey; things that people can relate to.

 Q: Why did you want to get involved with Takeover Cardiff?

A: Firstly, I had never been to Wales! So that was an exciting step for me. It’s been brilliant to get to know Cardiff, and I’ve already met so many incredible film makers. Secondly, I felt a real connection with Zoom when I met them in Milan. I knew there and then that I wanted to work with these people.

Working with Takeover has also been fantastic as it means I get to do what I love: making films and coaching young people. Although I have taken part in many workshops, I have never taught this age group before – so it’s been a real learning experience! They have a whole new attitude to film which is so exciting to see.

 Q: Do you think events like Takeover Cardiff are important to youths and the arts community? 

A: Definitely. For the arts community, it is great to be able to cease this opportunity to display work. Although there is so much going on in the arts, often it is not visible to the community. Unless something is pushed right in front of your face, you might miss it altogether. So Takeover Cardiff is ultimately making arts available to a mass audience, allowing people to be challenged and inspired by it.

I like to think for young people that making films and taking part in media courses allows them to learn so many more general skills that will help them throughout life. Through the process of film-making, they learn how to express themselves, communicate, negotiate, plan things in advance, compromise and learn from their mistakes: I believe these are all powerful learning tools!

 Q: How have you found working with Zoom Cymru? 

A: I’ve really enjoyed it! They have provided me with a nice balance. I am given room to do my own thing and communicate in my own way, but then they are there to back me up when I need them. As I am new to working with this age group, and the people of Wales, they really help me understand people’s backgrounds and needs. I couldn’t do this alone – I have learnt so much from them, things that I will now implement in my own work away from Cardiff. They have made me feel so at home; a real family atmosphere!

Q: What do you hope to achieve through your work with Takeover Cardiff? 

A: I really hope that participants feel like they have learnt something; this is so much more important to me than the end result! I want them to feel proud of what they have achieved, and confident in their film-making skills. If the participants leave feeling like they have really contributed something, and have had a good time, then that is the best reward for me.

Q: What can we expect from Saturday’s performance? 

A: There will be two films shown on Saturday – they are really quite short films, and will be playing on a loop throughout the day at CFQ (Womanby Street). The general idea was to give participants a chance to express their view of culture in Cardiff. The first focuses on the opportunities young people are given in the arts in Cardiff. The second is a bit of a social advert; it portrays the frustration of kids about the lack of interest in teens about the history of Cardiff – this really surprised me! I mean, this kids were genuinely disappointed in the small number of their peers that were interested in places such as the Castle and Museum. Throughout the day, the participants will also be floating around the city centre, handing out leaflets and bringing in new crowds to see the films. They are all very excited to see people’s reactions – as are we!

For more information on Zoom Cymru, visit their website.

For more information on Takeover Cardiff, and a list of our partners, visit the British Council website. 

Join the conversation on Twitter @bcwales, Like ‘British Council Wales’ on Facebook, Hashtag: #TOC #YoungCurators.