Y Labordy: Innovative training for Welsh directors



Welsh language film, television and theatre receive a boost as four promising directors embark on tailored training through Y Labordy.

This cross-platform training lab for emerging directors is delivered by Ffilm Cymru Wales in partnership with S4C and the Arts Council of Wales, via their BFI-funded new talent programme BFI NETWORK Wales.

The four successful participants are:

Mared Swain, who is the award-winning Artistic Director of Neontopia Theatre Company, and previous Associate Director of The Other Room, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, and Sherman Cymru. Mared is also currently working at Fiction Factory as Story Producer on the next series of Gwaith Cartref for S4C.

Eilir Pierce is a freelance filmmaker, who has directed television documentaries for BBC Wales and S4C, and has recently made videos for some of Wales’ leading musicians, including Euros Childs, Sweet Baboo, 9 bach, Georgia Ruth, HMS Morris, R Seiliog and Meilyr Jones. Eilir is currently working on a short film screenplay with Y Llyfrgell writer Fflur Dafydd, and developing a ten-part experimental narrative web-film.

Hanna Jarman, graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, whose acting career led her to become Associate Artist and Director for Not Too Tame Theatre, where she is currently working on developing Welsh language work, as well as writing potential television projects.

Nico Dafydd is a writer-director from West Wales, whose work ranges from film to theatre, television, radio, web series and music videos. His first student film won Best Welsh Language Film at Ffresh Festival 2011, and Nico is now working on a new feature film and a series for BBC Radio Cymru while lecturing in media at Swansea University.

The cohort are now engaged in a tailored programme of workshops, masterclasses, shadowing opportunities at home and overseas, and mentoring from established directors.

Y Labordy’s first weekend concluded with masterclasses from Euros Lyn (Y Llyfrgell, Broadchurch), Rachel Talalay (Sherlock, Doctor Who), Arwel Gruffydd (Theatr Genedlaethol) and Vicky Jones (Fleabag).

Ffilm Cymru Wales’ Talent NETWORK Manager Tracy Spottiswoode comments “We're excited to see talented emerging directors develop their careers and diverse voices as filmmakers working in the Welsh language. Over a third of the filmmakers our new talent fund works with are Welsh speakers, and the majority identify as female. We've seen the benefits of tailored training and mentoring through our BFI NETWORK Wales initiatives, which enable homegrown filmmakers to achieve outstanding success.”

Welsh writers that participated on the previous Y Labordy programme have gone on to find success in a variety of fields; Fflur Dafydd wrote and produced the cinematic adaptation of her novel Y Llyfrgell / The Library Suicides with support from Ffilm Cymru Wales; Dafydd James has written theatre and musical productions for Wales Millennium Centre, Sherman Cymru and BBC Radio 4, and has a project in development with Ridley’s Scott’s production company; Bethan Marlow has written theatre work for Wales Millennium Centre and Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, and was screenwriter on Carys Lewis’ short film Afiach for Welsh language LGBTQ scheme Straeon Iris; while Jon Gower has two books forthcoming, including Welsh-language noir novel 'Y Duwch,’ to be published by Y Lolfa.

“It’s more important than ever that our best emerging directors are able to work across platforms – in theatre, television, film and online – in order to build successful careers, and to make sure that drama in the Welsh language punches way above its weight internationally,” says Nicholas Davies, Portfolio Manager at Arts Council of Wales. “Y Labordy is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these directors to learn from world class leaders in the industry.”

Gwawr Martha Lloyd, Content Commissioner at S4C adds “We’re very proud of the ambition of the scheme, and we cannot wait to see the work that the participants will produce in the future as their careers develop.”


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