Three Films Festival was a coming together of film festivals across Wales that are members of Wales Youth Festival Network (WYFN), who share the ambition to reach young audiences, aged 15-25 with a broader range of British and International films. WYFN is an informal network, supported by Film Hub Wales, Wicked Wales International Film Festival and other film festival partners across Wales. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Three Films Festival provided an online opportunity to showcase films which had previously screened at film festivals in Wales for this age group. Festivals were invited to submit three films from a recent festival made for or by this age group. The films were screened over three days and were accompanied by a small industry programme, which was funded by Film Feels Connected. There were also spotlights on up and coming young filmmakers, some introduced screenings and festival trailers providing a greater insight into some of the participating film festivals.
A three-day short online short film festival showcasing films made for and by young people aged 15-25.
• To bring film festivals from across Wales together within a collaborative framework and to raise the profile of Wales based film festivals and WYFN
• To celebrate the work of young filmmakers by providing a showcase opportunity for films made for and by young audiences within the context of an online film festival
• To offer an uplifting programme of film and events to inspire, and engage, young audiences
• The project was delivered within a short time scale, with a small team working in a new and different way
• The Festival celebrated and showcased films made by young people, many of them from Wales, screening over 50 films over three days
• The Festival provided the opportunity to work collaboratively with film festivals across Wales, filmmakers and other industry partners
• The Festival offered inspiration and motivation to young filmmakers by including a programme of industry events tailored to young people, including a screenwriter masterclass, digital filmmaking session and Q&As with young filmmakers
• The reaction to the festival in terms of viewing figures and feedback was really positive
Over 50 films were screened over the three days, including films from Japan, Italy, USA, Africa, Iran and Wales
Key partners for the Festival included Film Hub Wales and film festival members of the Welsh Youth Festival Network (WYFN), especially Wicked Wales International Film Festival. Funding from Film Feels Connected supported the industry programme of events, and support from S4C included the translation of copy from English to Welsh for the festival brochure.
Budget in brief
Overall budget: £3020
Income: WYFN Funds (FHW/Wicked Wales), Film Feels Connected.
Funding was used to support delivery of the festival including marketing and PR, design, technical support, translation and collaborator’s fees.
The festival was free to attend. There was no income.
• The festival was successfully delivered – there were no technical hiccups, and everything ran smoothly
• Viewing figures surpassed expectations
• Connections were made with film festivals operating in Wales that were not previously connected with WYFN
• It felt like a real success story bringing festivals and young audiences together during the lockdown
What has been difficult
• Working remotely with a small staff group
• Working within such a short time frame
What you would do differently if you did it again
• Start on the festival earlier
• Have a bigger team
• More funding for social media marketing/advertising
• More funding for branding/design work
• More bilingual features within the programme and marketing
• A budget to make the festival more inclusive – signing/subtitles etc.
• Involve young people in the planning and programming by setting up a young festival advisory group
Awareness / Attitudes
The films screened at Three Films Festival were a diverse range representing different film festivals across Wales which screen films from a range of countries, cultures and social groups.
The festival showed films made by young people who worked with Iris Prize to produce films which explored young people’s perceptions and attitudes towards LGBT+ issues amongst young people in school. The films were open and honest whilst using humour to engage a young demographic with the issues.
Films from Wicked Wales Mythau Project explored age old myths from the mining community on the Llyn Peninsula, digging deep into the culture and enabling young audiences to access old traditions and beliefs.
Three Films Festival screened films from Africa which told beautiful and accessible stories about the day to day lives of young people and their love of football.
The films screened used different techniques and styles to tell their stories and many of them used film as a medium to encourage a more tolerant society, exploring issues around mental health, identity, loneliness and disability.
Three Films Festival included in its programme films from Oska Bright and Hijinx. Both organisations work with people with a range of learning disabilities such as aspergers and autism. The films screened featured learning-disabled people in lead roles. Oska Bright is driven to change the low numbers of disabled people working in the film industry by making films which showcase “bold, exciting and different work from voices you might not have heard before”.
Hijinx, based in Cardiff, work with learning disabled and autistic people to make fearless and original theatre and film, striving for “equality of representation on stage and screen”.
The films screened at Three Films Festival from both organisations were original, well made and thoroughly entertaining, showcasing the talent and commitment from all involved in the productions.
Knowledge & Experience
The industry programme of Three Films Festival was devised with young people at the start of, or early stage in their filmmaking, careers in mind.
The screenwriting masterclass asked young filmmakers and audiences to provide questions about the craft of screenwriting for screenwriter Matt Redd to answer. The session was informative and encouraging, with lots of tips on how to develop ideas and start writing film scripts. The session proved to be extremely popular at the festival. Similarly, producer Rob Corcoran’s session about vertical filmmaking gave a detailed insight into how young people can pick up their phone, and with just a few basic guidelines, can start developing their own short films.
Given that WYFN is all about inspiring young people to see a wider range of British and International films, it was important that Three Films Festival also aimed to be both inspirational and aspirational for the young filmmakers and audiences, by screening a diverse range of national and International films and a programme of relevant industry sessions.
The festival was devised to bring people together at precisely the time when face to face and in real life meetings were difficult due to the Pandemic. The festival engendered a sense of belonging for the members of WYFN that took part in the festival and for the filmmakers whose films were screened, it gave them a platform and a chance to have their voices heard.
For the audiences, the films were inspiring stories, many that took us away from the everyday, whether that was through story telling or technique. The industry programme offered a sense of belonging to young filmmakers looking to network, connect and learn. The sessions provided a way of engaging with entry level thinking and skills around film production and encouraged young people to get involved.
Being part of a network, making meaningful connections and having a sense of belonging has never been more important. Three Films Festival offered network members the opportunity to connect and feel part of something. By screening films for and by young audiences, the festival hopefully enriched the opportunities for the makers by giving them a platform to share their work and for the audiences an opportunity to watch and feel inspired by the talent and the stories being showcased.
There was limited local/regional economic impact as the festival was online. However, in terms of delivering a project which was a network/Wales-wide event there are some definite regeneration/economic values associated with Three Films Festival. By inspiring and nurturing young filmmaking talent across Wales, WYFN and Three Films Festival aims to help other established film organisations and film festivals to nurture and grow a viable young film community – both for watching and making films. This in turn feeds into local economies with increased young audiences and ultimately by having a successful film festival and film industry in Wales, the wider economic impacts are potentially huge.
Film Festivals have a proven positive impact on tourism and local economies. WYFN, through Three Films Festival and other network film screenings and events, hopes to support a vibrant offer in Wales for young film goers and filmmakers. By offering engaging, diverse, age appropriate film festival activity, production opportunities and skills development to young people, Wales can strive to become a film destination. The local and regional impact of this could see a trained and talented young workforce determined to help build a robust film industry in Wales, leading to the strengthening of the creative industries, job opportunities, local and regional spending and bigger visiter numbers. The international jury at Wicked Wales, which some of the filmmakers from Three Films Festival have now joined, supports this further, helping to raise the profile of both Wales based filmmakers and film festivals internationally.