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Welsh film shortlisted for 2022 Academy Awards

22 Dec 2021 3 minute read
Photo by NFB and Beryl Productions International

A Welsh animated film has been shortlisted for the 2022 Academy Awards, with the winners of this year’s Oscars due to be announced on 27 March.

Affairs of the Art is one of 15 films on the Animated Short list and is the latest release from Cardiff’s Joanna Quinn and Les Mills.

This is Joanna’s third bid for an Oscar after being nominated previously for Famous Fred in 1997 and The Wife of Bath – Canterbury Tales Part 1 in 1998.

The new film continues the Beryl series, that began with 1987’s Girls’ Night Out, followed by 1990’s Body Beautiful and 2006’s Dreams and Desires: Family Ties and has already secured over 20 awards from festivals around the world

The film is the first co-production between Beryl Productions International and the National Film Board of Canada, and tells the story of Beryl, a 59-year-old factory worker who’s obsessed with drawing and determined to become a hyper-futurist artist.

We also meet her grown son, Colin, a techno geek, her husband, Ifor, now Beryl’s model and muse, and her sister, Beverly, a fanatical narcissist living in LA.

The previous Beryl films were commissioned by Channel Four and clocked in at around the five-minute mark but the latest short runs for 16 minutes and gives the filmmakers the opportunity to stretch out and explore the characters in more detail.

Male stripper

“Beryl started as a very one-dimensional character in a comic strip I did at college. She emerged as one of a group of ordinary working-class women coming together socially to go and see a male stripper on her birthday,” Joanna said.

“Audiences seemed to really like the character, and she enabled us to say things about women and society because she’s a typical, normally invisible middle-aged woman. We could play with that, and she surprised people.

“After that first film, we were really keen to do another film about Beryl, so we expanded her character a bit more in Family Ties, and now she’s really multi-faceted. In Affairs of the Art, we see her when she’s a child, and we see her family. She’s become more complicated and more interesting as a character, rather than the adventures that she’s part of.”

“It’s really quite strange, because I’m writing from the point of view of a woman character all the time,” Les, the film’s producer and screenwriter admits.

“The men in the film are sort of muted and non-aggressive, so I have to bear that in mind all the time. And Beryl is an anti-heroine, and she’s working class, where traditionally the men have always dominated.

“In Beryl films, it’s Beryl who asserts herself and takes control. Those are the basic ideas running through the scripts: Beryl, asserting herself and stating, ‘I can do anything—I will do anything,’ and she goes for it big time, and usually succeeds!”

Oscar nominations voting begins on 27 January and ends on 1 February, with the final five films in the category announced on 8 February.

Final Oscar voting begins on 17 March and ends on 22 March 22, with the 94th Annual Academy Awards ceremony taking place on Sunday 27 March at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

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Gaynor Jones
Gaynor Jones
2 years ago

Its a fantastic piece

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
2 years ago

Such a talent, all the best with it!

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