Watch: Exclusive first look at film documenting the battle to establish S4C
A film about the campaign to set up the Welsh language TV channel S4C will hit cinemas in March.
The film Y Sŵn is created by the team behind the hugely successful 2021 Welsh horror film Gwledd / The Feast – producer and author Roger Williams and director Lee Haven Jones.
It will tell the story of Plaid Cymru MP’s Gwynfor Evans’ attempts to force Margaret Thatcher’s government to set up the channel, including his threat to go on hunger strike.
Set in 1979, the inspiration for Y Sŵn are the events that led to the establishment of the world’s only Welsh language television channel.
Margaret Thatcher’s first government was swept to power with a manifesto that included a promise to establish a dedicated Welsh language television channel, only for the Home Secretary, William Whitelaw, to renege on the promise and spark a wave of civil disobedience across Wales.
A key opposition figure was Gwynfor Evans, the leader of Plaid Cymru who vowed to starve himself to death unless the government kept its promise and established the long-awaited channel.
Gwynfor’s declaration captured the imagination of the public and forced the government who were fearful Gwynfor’s death might lead to the kind of violence that was terrifying communities in Northern Ireland.
WATCH: Y Sŵn trailer
The film tells the story of what happened during this important moment of modern Welsh cultural history in a unique and surprising way, revealing the story from the perspectives of staff at the Welsh Office, key figures in Thatcher’s administration and individuals involved in the nationalist movement.
The film is released during the year S4C celebrates its 40th anniversary and uses historical events to prompt a conversation amongst audiences today about the power of protest, the future of broadcasting and the health of the Welsh language.
Writer and Producer Roger Williams said: “It’s essential we tell Welsh stories on the big screen. Y Sŵn takes a momentous story that happened in our lifetime and brings it to life with the intention of entertaining and stimulating a debate about where we’re at and where we go next.”
Roger once again teamed up with ‘Gwledd/The Feast’ Director Lee Haven Jones who said: “This isn’t the respectable period film some might expect, but a movie that embraces the spirit of 1970s punk. It’s playful, witty, vitriolic, and above all else entertaining. It’s a film that revisits and reassesses contemporary Welsh history; it retells the story from a nation’s perspective and sometimes radically reimagines it!”
Horror film Gwledd/The Feast was the most successful Welsh language feature film of all time. It premiered at the SxSW festival in Texas in 2021 and had won awards at festivals such as BiFAN in South Korea and the Neuchatel film festival in Switzerland before it arrived at cinemas in the UK in August of that year.
Y Sŵn can be seen on a limited run of cinema screenings from March 10th – 24th. Screening times can be found via hosting cinemas and at www.yswn.cymru
Y Sŵn Synopsis
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 is told in an imaginative and unique style.
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