Fog of Sex: Carmarthen Bay Film Festival
That's That: The Three Loves of Vala: Wales International Documentary Festival
During May, the Wales Centre held screenings at two independent festivals. The documentary-drama, Fog of Sex (still from the film above) was shown at the Carmarthen Bay Film Festival, which is funded entirely through submission fees. Three years in the making, the film tells the stories of nine female students who balance their academic studies with their lives as sex workers. One of the producers, Chris Britten, explained that the film featured actresses for practical reasons of privacy and availability. "It was of the utmost importance that every detail of these people’s lives were not recognisable, from accents and names to locations and courses. However, male students have also taken up sex work, and a future film could focus on men, if willing contributors are found, offering a clear voice," he said.
The Wales Centre also had a stand at the Pathways Creative Industries Fair, held as part of the inaugural Wales International Documentary Festival (WIDF), based at the Blackwood Miners' Institute. One of this year’s RTS Wales Student Awards winners, That's That: The Three Loves of Vala, was shown at the festival. The film, set in an isolated mental health institution in Latvia, explores the life of its central character, Vala, and her relationships with her brother, husband, and closest friend. With Latvia's recent history of occupation and independence, a Soviet attitude remains embedded in the country’s people, where there are still misconceptions about mental health, with patients still living in remote institutions away from public gaze. At the Q&A session with Dr Garrabost Jayalakshmi, Deputy Head of the School of Creative Industries, USW, held after the screening, the film's producer, Santa Aumeistere (left), told the audience, "It's not a film about 'crazy' people. It is a film about people and humanity". The film went on to win the ‘Best of Welsh’ award at the festival.
Hywel Wiliam and Tim Hartley