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Welsh school pupils win Best Film at UK film awards

26 Jun 2024 5 minute read
Best Film – 12-15 winners and Stephen Merchant attend the Into Film Awards 2024 at ODEON Luxe Leicester Square on June 25, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Alan Chapman/Dave Benett)

A film about the history of the Welsh language made by pupils at Ysgol Bro Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire has won Best Film at the Into Film 2024 Awards.

The Language of Cymraeg’ was announced the winner of the Best Film 12-15 category at a star-studded event held at the ODEON Luxe Leicester Square in London.

The winning film sees children in a classroom in Wales being taught about the history of the Welsh language, from Henry VIII’s attempts to ban it, to those who have fought to keep it alive.

“We can’t believe we won!” said pupils Taran and Joseph, who were presented the award by actor Stephen Merchant. “We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved; this means so much to us.”

Personal

Talking about the film, Taran and Joseph who wrote, directed and edited the film said: “We wanted to do something personal to our country, so we decided to tell the story of the language of Cymraeg throughout history, exploring the cultural, historical and social elements of the language.

“The fact that it’s a film about our country and our language makes this win extra special!

“This is our first time in the realms of filmmaking and it’s really broadened our horizons into the creative industry.”

Creating the film has been a passion project for the 16 pupils involved, according to Ysgol Bro Dinefwr Drama teacher, Lisa Rimmington: “Attending the Into Film Awards alone has been a fantastic and memorable experience for the pupils, but to win the top prize is just amazing.

“I want to congratulate all our pupils on their creativity and hard work, and in particular Joseph and Taran. They really put their heart and soul into this project. I can’t wait to see what our talented pupils achieve in the future.”

Five nominations in five categories  at Into Film Awards in London- with winners Ysgol Bro Dinefwr, joined by 11-year-old  Gwennan from Aberystwyth, Pen y Dre High School from Merthyr Tydfil, Ysgol y Gogarth and TAPE Community Music and Film from Llandudno, and Cardiff Youth Services.

The event hosted by Education charity, Into Film, celebrated the best and brightest young filmmaking talent from across the UK, as well as those who support and facilitate their endeavours.

The ceremony saw 10 awards presented to some of the UK’s most remarkable and creative young filmmakers.

Along with Ysgol Bro Dinefwr, the following filmmakers from Wales were all also nominated for the 2024 Awards: Gwennan from Aberystwyth (Best Animation 11 and under);  Pupils from Year 8 Ysgol Pen y Dre High School in Merthyr Tydfil (Best Animation 12 and over); 15 young people from TAPE Community Music and Film and Ysgol Y Gogarth Llandudno (Best Film 16-19) and Cardiff Youth Service (Filmmaking Champions).

Non Stevens, Head of Into Film Cymru, said: “Bro Dinefwr’s success with their film ‘The Language of Cymraeg’ clearly demonstrates the value of integrating film into cross-curricular provision in creative and innovative ways.

“Here are pupils who have deepened their knowledge and understanding of a specific subject, whilst also harnessing new, invaluable skills and having a great time whilst doing so!

“Into Film Cymru would like to congratulate Bro Dinefwr and all those who were nominated this year. There’s clearly a bright future for filmmaking in Wales.”

“Experience of a lifetime”

For many of the young nominees, who travelled from all corners of the UK to walk the same legendary red carpet as countless film stars have over the years, this was the experience of a lifetime.

And with winning films tackling issues as diverse as racism, the Welsh language, dyslexia, the pitfalls of social media, and deadly cereal boxes (!), the Into Film Awards was a celebration not only of the nominees’ remarkable talents, but also of the incredible, transformative power of film and filmmaking at large.

Categories included Best Animation and Best Film across several age ranges, as well as the  Best Documentary award. New for this year, the Time for Action category (sponsored by Swatch) asked young people to create a film that raises awareness of issues important to them and explores the changes they would like to make in the world, leading to some of the most impactful submissions yet.

Elsewhere, the Ones to Watch award recognised four inspirational young people who are on the cusp of making the leap into screen industry careers (with one overall Ones to Watch winner), while the new Filmmaking Champion award celebrated those who support and facilitate young people’s filmmaking and make it possible for their creativity to shine.

All four nominees will receive an exciting package of prizes including a Pinewood Studios experience, an invitation to the Young BAFTA Showcase and to the BFI Future Film Festival in future months.

The Winners:

  • Best Animation – 11 and Under – Benjamin’s Magical Kitchen Birds – Benjamin (8), London 
  • Best Film – 11 and Under – Dyslexia and Me – St Luke’s Primary, Rugby, England
  • Best Documentary – Disconnected – Safina (17), South Essex College, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
  • Best Animation – 12 and Over – Frog Flight – Caireen Ferguson (19), Ballynahinch, Northern Ireland
  • Best Film – 12-15 – Language of Cymraeg – Ysgol Bro Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire, Wales
  • Time for Action – Just Ignore It – My Pockets and Youth Aspire Connect, Hull, England
  • Best Film – 16-19 – STOP – Laquarn McQueen (18), Big Creative Academy, London
  • Filmmaking Champion – Scottish Youth Film Foundation, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Ones to Watch – Ben Mullan (18), Bedford, England 
  • Audience Choice – Cereal Killers, St Colmcille’s High School, Crossgar, Northern Ireland

Each year, the Into Film Awards are made possible through sponsorship from the UK Screen Industry Into Film is supported by the BFI, awarding National Lottery funding. www.intofilm/awards


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