The 2019 Wales International Film Festival (WIFF) held in Neath brought film makers and other visitors to the town from as far afield as Canada, the USA, China, Holland, France, Hawaii and Japan as well as from other parts of the UK.
A total of 72 films were screened at the two-day festival held at Neath’s Gwyn Hall in September while there were eight workshops, a creative sector seminar delivered for Neath College and visitors staying at a variety of local accommodation including Neath’s Bluebell and Castle hotels.
The festival has provided a major showcase for Neath Port Talbot as a destination for film makers – the festival featuring organised tours to Margam Country Park as one of many possible film locations in the County Borough.
Out of a string of winners in a variety of film categories, the 2019 Award for Best Film in Festival went to the dark comedy ‘Matty Boy’ by Dr Shahid Kamal starring Vincent De Paul.
Dr Shahid Kamal is a film director and screenwriter based in London. He is also a surgeon who did his film making training at the London Film Academy after finishing his medical studies. Matty Boy starred two times Emmy award winning actor from Baltimore, Vincent De Paul.
Others from the long list of winners included The Price of Freedom (Best Illustrated Poem Award), Rocket Club (Jury’s Award for Best Feature Film), A Tale of Gyantse (Best foreign Feature Film Award), B is for for Bully by Denise Richards (Jury’s Award for Most Inspiring Film in Festival) and A Dead Canary (Best Short Film Based in Wales) by James Davis, about a boy coming to terms with his father’s death in a pit accident.
There was a special screening of the Gŵyr documentary series which was presented by Georgios Dimitropoulos as well as the official launch of the new Catrin Collier novel Glyndwr: The Foretold Son during this year’s event.
Arrangements are already being made for WIFF 2020 being held at the Gwyn Hall again in late September next year as part of a three-year commitment to holding the festival in Neath.
The festival was founded by Euros Jones-Evans and Co-Founder Samira Mohamed Ali and is a non-profit organisation which provides an opportunity for up-and coming filmmakers to network with industry experts and experienced producers and directors.
Euros Jones-Evans said:
”The 2019 festival was a major success and we want to thank all the film-makers who entered and all the visitors who attended and supported the event. We now looking forward to working with Neath Port Talbot Council and all our other partners once more in preparing for the 2020 and 2021 events.”