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Tuesday, 6 November, 2001, 17:39 GMT
Talent platform at Cardiff film festival
Cardiff's UGC cinema
The festival was launched at Cardiff's UGC cinema
The 13th annual International Film Festival of Wales promises a showcase of 50 films from around the world over an eight-day celebration in Cardiff.

Beginning on 22 November, the event also aims to promote the "wealth of talent" in Wales from new directors and filmmakers.

Mari Beynon Owen, Event producer
Mari Beynon Owen, Event producer

Speaking at the media launch on Tuesday, event producer Mari Beynon Owen said: "It's very important to have the festival in Cardiff because it gives the film industry in Wales a platform for promoting their work."

Opening the festival is Happy Now?, a black comedy set in fictional Welsh town and starring Ioan Gruffudd.

Director Phillipa Collie-Cousins said: "The festival is very important for me personally as I am from Cardiff, and it is important for the film as well.

"Festivals are vital for a film like this as they breathe life into it and give it a platform to be released from."

Phillipa Collie-Cousins, Director of Happy Now?
Phillipa Collie-Cousins, Director of Happy Now?
"I am particularly keen for the film to do well at Cardiff and, if it does, I think we know we have something that other people will want to see."

The event was also praised by Paul Brannigan, the writer/director of quirky comedy Labrats, which will be premiered at the festival

"The film was shot mainly in north east Wales, and it is great for us that the first showing of it is in Wales, especially since a lot of Welsh talent was used during its making."

"Cardiff is a great place," he said, "and I like the idea of members of the public coming off the street and watching the film, because that is who it is aimed at."

Young students

Alongside the films, young filmmakers and students can enjoy a series of events including masterclasses, seminars and workshops as part of the Future Creative programme.

Paul Brannigan, Director of Labrats
Paul Brannigan, Director of Labrats
"Future Creative is a great meeting-place for people to be inspired by the filmmakers, the directors and producers," said Ms Owen.

The festival also seeks to establish Cardiff as a centre of animation, with a "spectacular" programme which includes three European premieres of major animated feature films.

"We have people from outside Wales coming just for the animation festival and that's something we want to develop." said Ms Owen.

One film will also scoop the DM Davies Award, which has been described as a "massive stepping stone" for directors.

UGC cinema, Cardiff
The UGC cinema is partly hosting the festival
Previous winners of the award include Justin Kerrigan (Human Traffic) and Sara Sugarman (Very Annie Mary).

It is the first year that the festival has been held at the UGC, as well as at Chapter, and it is hoped that the city centre location will help to encourage more young people to the festival.

"We are aiming to expand, and possibly have a longer festival, but you have to grow these things gradually," said Ms Owen.

"The film distributors now see Cardiff as a place where they want to try out new films and new directors," she added.

See also:

02 Sep 01 | Wales
Hollywood hopes for film makers
10 Aug 01 | Wales
Made but not seen in Wales
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