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Sunday, 2 September, 2001, 09:40 GMT 10:40 UK
Hollywood hopes for film makers
Three Welsh film makers are hoping to capitalise on the success of Catherine Zeta Jones whilst on a trade mission to the United States.

The 20-strong team - headed by Welsh Assembly First Secretary Rhodri Morgan - are hoping to strike new deals during the week-long visit to Los Angeles.

It is natural for Welsh companies to look to LA, particularly with Catherine Zeta-Jones based there and the fact that her company is now coming to Wales to film

Elizabeth Morgan-Hemlock from Wild Films

It is part of an event organised by Wales Trade International, the assembly's international trading arm.

Forging links between Wales and Hollywood, the Swansea-born actress recently unveiled plans for a feature film to be set in a Welsh rugby club.

It will be one of the first films embarked on by Milkwood Films - the production company set up by Miss Jones and her brother Lyndon.

One of the film companies which has set its sights on Los Angeles is Mountain Ash-based Wild Films they are hoping the starlets success will pave the way for new ventures in the US.

Catherine Zeta Jones and husband Michael
Zeta Jones has unveiled plans for a Welsh-based film

The firm's managing director, Elizabeth Morgan-Hemlock said: "It is natural for Welsh companies to look to LA, particularly with Catherine Zeta Jones based there and the fact that her company is now coming to Wales to film."

"The trade mission itself will be a good platform for us and will help to open up more doors."

Also in LA is Cardiff-based production and services company CF1 which has been involved in a string of productions and co-productions.

The company's head of development Elaine Huss said: "Our latest drama development is a film on the early life of Tom Jones, and it is possible that one of two US-based contacts may become involved as co-developers. We are also looking for a US distributor for our film, Alone."

Ghetto mentality

Last month the UK Film Minister Kim Howells warned the Welsh film industry against creating a "ghetto mentality".

Mr Howells, the MP for Pontypridd, wants the industry to take its lead from the commercial lead of Hollywood.

The minister said he was against any attempts to make it an overtly Welsh industry, urging leading figures to open it up and run it like a business.

He warned he would try to stop efforts to project "art house" images of "racial purity" in Wales through films.

See also:

01 Nov 00 | Wales
Assembly's review of the arts
12 May 01 | Wales
Zeta Jones makes 'home' movie
10 Aug 01 | Wales
Made but not seen in Wales
04 Jul 00 | Wales
Bollywood arrives in Wales
21 Jul 00 | UK
Hollywood in the heartland
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