Werewolf horror first film for Blaenau Gwent academy

By Chris Wood
BBC News

Media caption,
Film academy to help youngsters chase industry dreams

The Grade II-listed Bedwellty House is set to be "splattered with blood" for a werewolf horror - the first production by a new film school.

Based at The Circle, Tredegar, it aims to train hundreds of youngsters a year in script writing, filming and editing and turn the area into a creative hub.

The Workers' Educational Association and other bodies have funded the Blaenau Gwent Film Academy.

Its first production will be filmed in the area this summer.

The academy is being launched by media companies Cymru Creations and Made in Tredegar - which have been working with local schools for four years and produced the award-winning Welsh-Polish film The Bench.

"There are so many talented youngsters who want to work, who are interested in the media and pick up things so quickly," said Kevin Phillips, one of the people behind the project.

"In London, or Cardiff, they would get work quite quickly. But here they are struggling."

Mr Phillips described the "passion and ambition" and hopes the training and qualifications gained will allow youngsters to follow their dreams.

Image source, Blaenau Gwent Film Academy

One man already gaining experience is Leigh Jones, 29, who quit his office job last summer to pursue his passion for writing horror stories after being inspired by Stephen King as a youngsters.

He is working on a supernatural script, where a gang of teenagers "jump over the fence of a Victorian manor house to drink in the grounds".

"They get stalked by a werewolf and it's a bit like Friday the 13th in that they get knocked off one by one," he said.

"It's about finding genius ways to do it (kill them) and the house, splattered in blood, and park is tailor made for such a film."

It has working titles of The Werewolf and Shadow Beyond the Gates, with filming set to start in August, using local youngsters in the project.

Another person involved with training is Iwan Smith, who is hoping to be on stage and forge out a career in musical theatre and performance using skills he has learnt.

Working with schools in Blaenau Gwent and allowing people of all ages to get involved in projects, it is hoped up to 200 participants a year can learn film-making skills.

Those involved will also work on documentaries and funding will be applied for from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project called "500 Photos for 500 People".

It would see participants given a photograph of the local area and they would have to research it, write a script about it, present and film a short piece.

Made in Tredegar's Alan Terrell said: "The academy will be able to offer life changing opportunities not available anywhere else in the valleys."

Image source, Blaenau Gwent Film Academy
Image source, Blaenau Gwent Film Academy