2015 was filled with brilliant films, plays, music and art that made our lives that little bit brighter. Emma-Louise Smith takes a look at the best to come. That’s all folks.
Their Finest Hour and a Half will be boasting lots of Welsh connections in its production when it’s released in 2016 (exact release date TBC). The adaptation of Lissa Evans’ 2009 novel was co-financed by the Welsh Government’s Media Investment Budget, filmed in Wales, and features special effects from Cardiff-based company Real SFX (best known for their work with Doctor Who, Sherlock, and more recently Coronation Street’s live episode). Directed by Lone Scherfig, the romantic comedy will follow a British film crew attempting to boost morale during World War II, and stars a glitzy roll call of A-Listers including Gemma Arterton, Bill Nighy and Helen McCrory.
Massive – The Amazing Rise and Fall will be telling the success story of the Welsh rock music scene throughout the early noughties. The documentary by musician and film-maker Jamie Black, charts the path from the humble Valleys to fame of successful groups including Funeral For A Friend, Kids In Glass Houses, The Black Out and Attack! Attack!, and interviews with key individuals who shaped the scene as they share their stories of an incredible and life-changing 10 years for Welsh rock music.Massive is expected to be released in February 2016.
Critically-acclaimed Welsh actor Iwan Rheon will begin filming with Timothy Spall, Miriam Margolyes and Juliet Stevenson on Crispin Wood’s next film. Moving Pictures will be a gentle comedy about a small Welsh village suddenly blessed with the presence of the nation’s art treasures, and the joy and troubles it brings to the residents, and is expected to be filmed and released in 2016.
Zoom Cymru Festival will be taking place in Wales from 14-18 March 2016. The festival also hosts the Zoom Young Filmmaker Awards (on the final night), for which young people in Wales between ages 8-25 can enter their shorter than 10 minute long film. The festival is recognised by BAFTA Cymru and funded by Ffilm Cymru.
Aled Rheon had a successful year in 2015: he deservedly landed himself on the BBC Horizons list, performed to strong crowds at a range of festivals, and became a dad. Rheon’s songs are timeless folk songs at their most beautiful, and despite only having one EP for the merch table; the elder of the Rheon brothers has become highly respected as one of the most hard-working singer-songwriters right now, and thankfully shows no signs of slowing down.
The Joy Formidable may have been on a two year break, but the trio returned to their Welsh roots to record their third studio album, as-yet untitled but due for release in 2016. It could be argued that The Joy Formidable have ‘made it’ to some degree and already been considered as “ones to watch” – but with a return on the horizon, they’re still ones we’re watching eagerly. Watch them again, because they’re back!
After becoming regulars on the local circuit for the past few years, The Echo and The Always released their debut album in 2015, rising from the ground in the momentum into 2016. With the backing of HMV’s ‘Next Big Thing’ and fiercely loyal fan-base behind them, the ‘synth-pop-indie-rockers’ five-piece will be a force to be reckoned with next year. Truly ones to watch!
Remembering August are the youngest on this list, but already they’ve developed a tight sound and vision, and secured the interest of some of the most respected curators around – and if the intimate performance they delivered at Sŵn Festival was even an inclination of their power to captivate an audience, then there’s no doubt the duo are destined for greatness.
My Name is Ian describe themselves as an “anti-rock, anti-folk, group of friends and losers”, and quickly became a cult name on the circuit since forming in 2010. Musically, they’ve done bedroom punk, they’ve done garage rock, and they’ve done prog –just to name three genres they’ve graced- , filtered through the pop-oriented mind of their frontman. If you haven’t seen them yet, catch them quickly, because they’re guaranteed to become a sensation.
The Wales Millennium Centre has already billed a fantastic line-up for 2016. In February, the Welsh National Opera present The Barber of Seville, the first production of the opera by the WNO in 30 years. Described as “the ultimate feel-good opera”, The Barber of Seville is a fast-paced romp with crazy disguises, twists and turns, and wit, to satisfy all operatic fanatics.
The following month at WMC will see Sir Tom Jones –finally– immortalised on stage in TOM: A Story of Tom Jones. The Musical. The Donald Gordon theatre will welcome the Theatr na nÓg and TNN Production, to tell the story of self-belief, talent and determination that saw the Valleys boy become a superstar.
After 2015 saw the Broadway by the Bay production sell out two concerts, a selection of South Wales’ finest musical theatre performers will be back at Cardiff Bay’s Norwegian Church, to share a whole new array of songs from Broadway’s greatest blockbusters.
Hailed as “Britain’s hottest new artist”, Rose Wylie is taking the art world by storm. With three of the most prestigious art awards to her name – Paul Hamlyn Award in 2011, John Moore’s Painting Prize 2014, and the Charles Wollaston Award in 2015 – Wylie’s style is wonderfully bold and chaotic; her succinct observations follows loosely associated trains of thought, mix up ideas and feelings as she borrows from her everyday as well as popular culture. Wylie will be exhibiting her work in Chapter Arts Centre between February and May.
Cardiff-based artist Sean Donovan relishes his art, telling Contemporary Arts Wales he “never knows what will appear” and for him that’s “half the fun of being an artist”. The gamble frequently pays off as he flits between the abstract and the semi-figurative, Donovan’s subtle imagery demands your attention as he destroys the created to push his work into new territory.
Neath-born Martin Llewellyn will be exhibiting his work at Ffin Y Parc in November 2016 following a sell-out exhibition in April of last year. The self-taught painter, who began painting with watercolours, cites the landscapes and coastlines of his homeland as the inspiration within his work; work whose distinguishable palette knife strokes, and limited colour palette has seen Llewellyn become a highly respected force within the art world.
Original article posted here.