Film Hub Wales has put together a selection of the most anticipated releases with Welsh connections coming to a cinema near you this year.
First up is Timestalker. Produced by Pembrokeshire born Vaughan Sivell,the film tells the story of a time-travelling hopeless romantic (Alice Lowe) as she deals with love, death and reincarnation.
If biopics are more your thing, then look out for Y Sŵn from the Welsh creatives behind 2022 success Gwledd (Roger Williams and Lee Haven Jones), which tells the story of iconic politician Gwynfor Evans and the rise of S4C during the Thatcher era.
Also highly anticipated is The Almond and the Seahorse. Written by Llanarth based Kaite O’Reilly, with directorial debut from Anglesey born Celyn Jones and a soundtrack from Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals). The film stars Rebel Wilson as Sarah, an aspiring archaeologist, who is coming to terms with her partners traumatic brain injury.
“The film has a long history and connection to Wales. I first wrote the theatre script in 2008 and the extraordinary response to the play made Celyn Jones and I determined to bring this ‘hidden’ story to the screen, to bring awareness, hope and the particularly reassuring reaction a collective experience brings. Cinema is special – it is remarkable to sit together across Wales with friends and strangers, to share a resonant moment and make noise about this ‘silent epidemic’ – to let people know they are not alone.” – Kaite O’Reilly, Writer of ‘The Almond and the Seahorse’
Audiences can also look forward to international stories from Welsh storytellers, from South African apartheid (London Recruits) to the first transgender model agency (Being Hijra). These films offer crucial representation for minoritised communities, within a Welsh context, giving us a platform to shape how we see ourselves as a nation and how others see us from across the world.
“Our local cinemas need us, just as much as we need them. All of these films say something about Wales whether they’re directly about our country or not. The most important thing is that we – as audiences – watch them, talk about them, voice what they say to us with our friends and online and continue to support local, independent, cinemas so that they can keep showing films that explore Wales’ cultural identity as times change.” – Radha Patel, Film Hub Wales’ Made in Wales Officer.
Film Hub Wales’ Made in Wales (MIW) project celebrates films with Welsh connections. It offers a host of year-round activities in partnership with Welsh exhibitors, including a film catalogue, which hosts over 600 shorts and features with Welsh connections.
MIW is made possible thanks to funding from Creative Wales and the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN), awarding funds from the National Lottery. BFI FAN offers support to exhibitors across the whole of the UK, to boost cultural programming and engage diverse audiences. In Wales, activity is led by Film Hub Wales, managed by Chapter.
Welsh Films 2023
Release Date: 3rd February 2023
Welsh Talent: Director: Jamie Adams
BIFA nominated filmmaker Jamie Adams’ (Black Mountain Poets, Love Spreads) intense and involving romantic drama She is Love will be released in cinemas and digital platforms 3rd February. Haley Bennett (Cyrano, The Girl on the Train & The Magnificent Seven) and BAFTA nominated and BIFA award winner Sam Riley (Control, Free Fire & On the Road) star as estranged lovers, who meet a decade after their split. When Patricia (Haley Bennett) arrives at a country hotel in Cornwall, she encounters her ex-husband Idris (Sam Riley) who manages the place with his girlfriend Louise (Marisa Abela, Industry). Things are immediately awkward and the former couple reconnect over a long, messy night where they revisit the past while remaining open to new beginnings.
Where to watch ‘She is Love’
- Torch Theatre, Milford Haven (10th -16th February)
Release Date: 1st March 2023
Welsh Talent: Director: Gordon Main, Producers: John Giwa-Amu, Peter Edwards, Geoff Arbourne
London Recruits is an upcoming documentary film about a group of young men and women who undertook missions for the African National Congress (ANC) during apartheid South Africa. Kept secret for over 40 years, this true story documents their part in the long struggle for freedom.
Release date: 13th March 2023
Welsh Talent: Director: Lee Haven Jones, Writer: Roger Williams Producers: Roger Williams and Steffan Wilson-Jones
Margaret Thatcher swept to power in 1979 with a manifesto that promised to establish a Welsh language television channel. Months into her premiership, she reneged on her promise and sparked protests in Wales. Against a backdrop of civil disobedience, the iconic politician Gwynfor Evans vows to starve to death unless the government changes its mind. One of the most colourful chapters of modern Welsh history told in an imaginative and unique style.
Where to watch ‘Y Sŵn’
- Cellb, Blaenau Ffestiniog (10th March with Q&A)
- Aberystwyth Arts Centre (10th March to 16th March)
- Gwyn Hall, Neath (13th, 16th and 18th March)
- Galeri, Caernarfon (13th March to 17th March)
- Pontio, Bangor (13th March to 19th March with Q&As)
- Yr Egin, Carmarthen (15th, 16th and 17th March with Q&As)
- Theatr Sir Gar, Camarthenshire (16th March)
- Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan (19th, 21st and 23rd March with Q&As)
- Y Stiwt Rhos, Wrexham (21st March with Q&A)
- Theatr Felinfach, Ceredigion (Exact dates TBC)
- Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea (Exact dates TBC)
- Theatr Derek Williams, Bala (Exact dates TBC)
- Brynamman Public Hall (Exact dates TBC)
- Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff (Exact dates TBC)
- Wyeside, Builth Wells (Exact dates TBC)
- Denbigh Film Club (Exact dates TBC)
- Home Manchester (Exact dates TBC)
- Pontardawe Arts Centre (Exact dates TBC)
Dates are subject to change, please keep an eye on the cinema’s website for details on their upcoming film screenings.
Release Date: April 2023
Welsh Talent: Producers Catryn Ramasut and Alice Lusher (ie ie Productions)
1941, sisters Thom and Mars have built a machine, LOLA, that can intercept radio and TV
broadcasts from the future. This allows them to rock out to music from the 50s, 60s and 70s, rip off the bookies and be wild feral punks well before that movement came into existence.
But with the Second World War escalating, the sisters decide to use the machine to intercept information from the future that could help with military intelligence.
Release Date: Available to book now
Welsh Talent: Director: Ben Reed, Producer: Hayley Williams
Restricted by her lifelong agoraphobia, Kaye has spent most of her life within the four walls of her parents’ house. Finding relief from her fears in the faces and lives of old film stars, she pastes their images alongside those of her deceased family on the walls of her house, creating a kaleidoscopic collage that mixes personal history with Hollywood fantasy. Told first-hand via freewheeling monologues, Portrait of Kaye is a bittersweet portrait of a woman forming her own unique identity while navigating the conflicting influences of her mother’s bawdy humour and her father’s anxieties.
Release Date: TBC
Welsh Talent: Director: Celyn Jones, Writers: Celyn Jones and Kaite O’Reilly, Music: Gruff Rhys
What happens when you’re ambushed by time – your memories deleting, relationships erasing? Funny, poignant and moving, the film follows two couples as they come to terms with the aftermath of traumatic accidents and how they navigate new paths forward in their lives. Sarah (Rebel Wilson) is an aspiring archaeologist, anxious that she will be forgotten by her partner, Joe (Celyn Jones) as his memory takes itself in a new direction. At the same time, Gwen (Trine Dyrholm) is stuck in a time warp whose face in the mirror is unfamiliar and there’s a strange person at the door claiming to be her partner, Toni (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Doctor Falmer (Meera Syal) refuses to give up on them, determined not to let them all unravel.
Release Date: Summer / Autumn 2023
Welsh Talent: Directed by Ila Mehrotra.
This deeply personal, emotionally charged journey filmed over 6 years, chronicles the pain and pride of Rudrani Chettri and the transgender community of New Delhi as they set about creating India’s first transgender model agency. Like many in the trans community, Rudrani and her models are shunned by their families, forced to live and work on the streets, beaten and raped. Yet against all odds, Rudrani becomes Delhi’s highest profile trans activist, launching the agency under the intense glare of national and international media.
Welsh Talent: Producer: Vaughan Sivell
Release Date: TBC
Timestalker follows hapless heroine Agnes (Alice Lowe) through time as she repeatedly falls for the wrong guy, dies a grim death, gets reincarnated a century later, before meeting him again and starting the cycle anew. It is one story told over many periods, all with the messy thrills and spills that come with daring to follow your heart. Or maybe your loins…
Other films to look out for:
- The Eternal Daughter
- A Million Days
- Bolan’s Shoes
- Un Nos Ola Leuad
Audiences can keep up to date with news of the upcoming Welsh releases on the Made in Wales section of Film Hub Wales’ website, or by following @Filmhubwales on social media.