Leading lights in the Welsh film industry are headed to the Berlin International Film Festival this week hoping to secure international funding for a clutch of new feature films.

According to the Film Agency for Wales, producers Elizabeth Morgan-Hemlock, Caradog James, John Giwa-Amu and Vaughan Sivell will be at the city's prestigious event to promote their latest projects.

Among the 400 films being screened for the international audience this year are Resistance by Owen Sheers and Hunky Dory, a film directed by Marc Evans and set in 1970s Swansea.

Hunky Dory, in which Minnie Driver stars as a teacher trying to stage a musical version of Shakespeare's The Tempest in the summer of 1976, is set to be released in March, with a premiere scheduled for Cardiff on 22 February.

Elsewhere, it looks like another exciting year for Welsh film-making with various development projects in the pipeline.

Caradog James and John Giwa-Amu of Red and Black Films will be using the networking event, which usually attracts 400 companies from across the world, to try to fix international backing for their latest venture The Tunnel. The film is about a Palestinian fugitive, trapped in Israel, who digs a tunnel back to his village to save the woman he loves. It already has support from Film Agency for Wales.

Another producer hoping for exposure of her latest project is Elizabeth Morgan-Hemlock of Arturi Films, who will be promoting Bouncing Back. The film has three settings and tells the stories of three survivors of natural disasters based in South America, Africa and the Far East, comparing their experiences as shell-shocked, they recover from the horror of what has befallen them.

Morgan-Hemlock is hoping to capitalise on the recent success of her documentary Mugabe and the White African, which was Oscar Shortlisted, BAFTA Nominated and a winner of the British Independent Film Award for feature film in 2010. The film documented the story of a farmer in Zimbabwe who brought a case for racism against President Mugabe.

She said: "The business of film is incredibly competitive and Berlin signifies an important event in the business calendar for sales agents, distributors and many of Europe's leading producers.

"It is therefore essential for us to have a presence there as it provides a great opportunity to meet with potential co-producers, financiers and distributors."

Rik Hall and David Howard of Monster Films will be promoting A Song For Robin Orange which tells the story of the eponymous music talk show host.

Keith Potter, head of production for the Film Agency for Wales said: "Berlin is a fantastic opportunity for filmmakers to sell films on the basis of their artistic quality and is therefore a popular venue for film producers to launch their new films and attempt to sell their works to the distributors who come from all over the world.

"Indeed, we are proud to be profiling some of the very best of Welsh talent at this year's festival and getting the message out there that Wales is a great place for film.

"The Festival also gives us the opportunity to attend a programme of industry events and meet with fellow members of Cine-Regio, a lobby group for European film funds. We'll be looking for support for Welsh filmmakers and discussing pressing issues of film finance.

"Our purpose is to strengthen and maintain a dynamic film business across Wales, providing support for Welsh filmmaking talent and their films. Working with established, emerging and new talent, we adopt a fully integrated approach from script to screen and that's why the major international film festivals like Berlin are so important."


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