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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 November 2005, 15:48 GMT
Youngsters draw on Gypsy heritage
Pupils recreate palm reading (Pic: Cinetig)
Everyone at the school is looking forward to seeing the end product
Lynette Dunleavy, acting head teacher
Young travellers at a Llanelli school have been helping to make a part-animated film about a 19th century Welsh Gypsy harpist family.

The pupils at Bynea Primary School were involved in scripting, re-enacting and animating the story of the Wood family.

The Woods played their own tunes at travelling fairs and performed for Queen Victoria on a visit to Wales.

Cardiff-based animation company Cinetig aims to complete post-production for a premier at the school in January.

Children from a travellers' camp near the school make up a larger number of pupils in the classes.

Jointly funded by the Arts Council for Wales and Carmarthenshire Council, the film was aimed at improving their understanding of their heritage.

The Wood family were one of the most famous Gypsy families in Wales, widely known for their music skills.

Abram Wood, family patriarch and self-styled "King of the Gypsies" is said to have introduced the fiddle to Wales and many of his descendents made their living as wandering harpers and fiddlers.

Pupil drawing gypsy caravan (Pic: Cinetig)
The youngsters helped with animating the film

When they first arrived in Wales their customs were alien to the wider population and they lived nomadic lives, separate from the Welsh community for several generations.

On the first day of the project Teleri Jarman, a descendant of the harpist family, visited the school.

Period costume

Gerald Conn of Cinetig said: "We spend two weeks at the school and over the fortnight worked out a story with the children based on anecdotes about the family.

"They also did the artwork for the film with us and we took a camera into the school.

"They have worked hard and really got into the spirit of the project."

Filming also saw the youngsters dress in period costume and build "bender" tents in the school grounds for live action sequences to accompany the animation.

The soundtrack will include harp music by the Wood family that is archived at the Museum of Welsh Life in St Fagans, Cardiff.

It is hoped to show it at the school, at a larger location at Llanelli and the Cardiff Film Festival.

The school's acting head teacher Lynette Dunleavy said: "Everyone at the school is looking forward to seeing the end product.

"It was a fantastic opportunity for all the children involved to see how animated films are created."


SEE ALSO:
Wagon reveals gypsy heritage
03 Jun 03 |  South West Wales


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