Kids call the shots on unique monument movies

Tuesday 08 December 2015

  • ???
  • ???

Pupils from Welsh schools have been given a unique chance to unleash their imaginations at historic sites — by creating short films with TV producers and up-and-coming animators.

As part of an innovative project coordinated by the Welsh Government's historic environment service (Cadw), pupils from two primary schools created films inspired by the rich histories of Caernarfon Castle and Blaenavon Ironworks.

Creative experts from Cwmni Da, an award-winning film and TV production company based in Caernarfon, worked with Year 6 pupils at Ysgol Gynradd Maesincla to develop an imaginative tale of time travel, imprisoned princesses and leaping ninjas — all set in the town’s historic fortress.

At Blaenavon, Year 6 pupils from the local Heritage VC School developed a professional-quality animation about the Ironworks’ inspiring stories in collaboration with students from the University of South Wales’ animation programme.

Both films are now available to view on the Cadw YouTube channel. Ysgol Gynradd Maesincla’s Caernarfon Castle-set film, titled ‘Caernarfon Castle Coin Quest’, will also receive its premiere at a special event at Galeri Caernarfon on Monday, December 7.

Both projects support an innovative new Welsh Government policy initiative, Fusion: Tackling Poverty through Culture. Linked to the Communities First programme, Fusion is being trialled in six 'Pioneer Areas' across Wales, including Gwynedd and Torfaen. It brings together cultural organisations and offers exciting new opportunities from volunteering to accredited training.  

Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “This inspired project equipped pupils with new skills both behind and in front of the camera, many of which will be extremely useful as they move into secondary education and beyond.

“Discovering the real-life history of Caernarfon Castle and Blaenavon Ironworks — and getting the opportunity to use those sites in their own stories — also helped them to take pride in their area’s heritage.

I believe that culture, heritage and the arts can play a powerful role in people’s lives. Taking part can help engage young people and boost skills, self-esteem and aspiration and we are providing many more opportunities to do so through our Fusion programme.”

Dylan Huws, Managing Director of Cwmni Da, said: “The Ysgol Gynradd Maesincla pupils were great fun to work with and embraced all aspects of their production — from the first discussions about storytelling, to scripting and even to creating their own costumes.

“The quality of the finished film is a testament to their enthusiasm and hard work.”

The film project follows a series of award-winning videos produced by Cadw, including an acclaimed video of Caernarfon Castle being recreated with Lego blocks by an American enthusiast.