I generally don't get overly festive at this time of year. I enjoy the Xmas break, that's for sure - mainly because of what a great excuse to eat lots of food it is! But I don't generally buy in to all the jumpers and the partying and the getting a card for absolutely everyone I've ever met in my life.
If there's anything that's a bit of a tradition for me at Xmas now it's going to the cinema with my dad (my mum's not a fan of the local multiplex at all - too loud, too many sudden movements - she's not wrong!). I usually go home to North Wales for about 10 days over Xmas and New Year. We usually go to see whatever big franchise is dominating the season - the past three years it's been The Hobbit films, even though neither of us has been satisfied with those.
This year, obviously, it's Star Wars. I tried being cynical, I really did, but I can't wait to see Force Awakens. I booked our tickets this week and we're going to see it on Xmas Eve afternoon. I'm not as emotionally attached to Star Wars as a franchise as I am to some others, so these new films don't represent too much of a threat to what I think should be done 'right' in that universe. I intensely dislike JJ Abrams' Star Trek films, but that's because I've got a much stronger attachment to Star Trek as a franchise. With Force Awakens, I'm just looking forward to a rip-roaring adventue. The star personalities of John Boyega and Daisy Ridley have both massively won me over too - it's hard not to be excited when watching their infectious enthusiasm for it!
Fingers crossed the film doesn't disappoint, but even if it does, I like the tradition of going to watch something spectacular on the big screen at this time of year!
Wnes i gyfrannu i sgwrs ar Taro’r Post (Radio Cymru) ar 23/11/2015 amdano’r ffrae wnaeth godi ar ôl i’r cwmni hysbysebion sinema, DCM, gwrthod hysbyseb arbennig gan Eglwys Lloegr oedd yn cynnwys nifer o bobol yn adrodd Gweddi’r Arglwydd. // I contributed to a discussion on Taro’r Post (Radio Cymru) on 23/11/2015 about the row which emerged after the cinema advertising company, DCM, refused to include in its advertising packages a special advertisement by the Church of England in which various people recited the Lord’s Prayer.
Dyma pwtyn sy’n crynhoi fy safbwynt i ar y mater, wedi’i roi at ei gilydd o’r nodiadau wnes i er mwyn paratoi ar gyfer yr eitem. // This is a short post summarising my thoughts on the matter, based on the notes I made preparing for the radio segment.
Mae ffrae wedi cychwyn ers i Digital Cinema Media (DCM), cwmni hysbysebion sinema, gwrthod cynnwys hysbyseb gan Eglwys Lloegr yn ei pecynnau hysbysebion ar gyfer sinemâu. Mae’r Eglwys yn honni bod hyn yn warthus ac yn bygwrth ‘free speech’ ond polisi DCM yw i beidio dangos unrhyw hysbyseb sy’n grefyddol neu’n wleidyddol.
I fod yn glir – nid yw’r hysbyseb wedi’i ‘wahardd’ fel mae lot o’r wasg, a’r Eglwys ei hun, yn honni. Mae’r hysbyseb wedi’i derbyn gan y Cinema Advertising Authority (CAA) a wedi’i pasio gyda tystysgrif ‘U’ gan y British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). Hefyd, mae llawer iawn o adrodd y stori hwn – yn enwedig ar dudalennau blaen rhai papurau newydd – yn honni bod y sinemâu wedi gwrthod yr hysbyseb, ond eto, nid yw’r honiad yn hollol wir, oherwydd DCM sydd wedi’i gwrthod.
DCM yw’r cwmni hysbysebion sinema mwyaf ym Mhrydain, nhw sy’n delio gyda Odeon, Vue, a Cineworld, ymysg cwmniau eraill a sinemâu annibynnol. Oherwydd ei bod nhw’n gweithio ar gyfer y cwmniau enfawr yma, mae gwaith DCM yn cynrychiol tua 80% o holl hysbysebu sy’n cael ei weld gan pobol yn sinemâu ym Mhrydain (tua 61% o sinemâu). Eu polisi nhw yw bod nhw ddim yn derbyn unrhyw hysbyseb gwleidyddol na chrefyddol. Felly, yn unol gyda’r polisi, nid ydyn nhw wedi derbyn yr hysbyseb sydd dan sylw. Penderfyniad masnachol yw hwn yn unig, nid penderfyniad sy’n sarhau crefydd neu’n rhoi stop ar ‘free speech’. Wedi dweud hyn, dydw i ddim yn meddwl bod dataganiad DCM ar y mater wedi helpu, na sut mae nhw wedi ysgrifennu’r polisi - mae nhw’n sôn am y botensial i hysbysebion fel hyn achosi sarhad i rai bobol neu grwpiau o fobol. Ond mewn gwirionedd mae hynny’n chwarae fewn i dwylo’r dadl bod y penderfyniad yn un anghywir, drwy defnyddio disgwrs rhyddid barn a thramgwydd.
Wrth gwrs, mae datganiad yr Eglwys yn un hynod glyfar, oherwydd nhw sydd wedi honni bod y sinemâu wedi gwneud y penderfyniad, sydd wedyn yn cael ei ail-adrodd yn y wasg, sydd wedyn yn adlewyrchu’n ddrwg ar y sinemâu. Nhw sydd wedi defnyddio geiriau fel ‘ban’ a ‘free speech’ a mae nhw’n hollol creu stwr allan o dim byd. Rwan mae pawb yn trafod yr hysbyseb!
Rhywbeth sydd heb cael ei ofyn a ‘swn i hoffi cael gwybod ydi faint o hysbysebion eraill sydd wedi cael ei gwrthod oherwydd yr un polisi? Lle mae’r stwr am rheini? A hefyd, yw cwmnioedd eraill sy’n gwneud hysbysebion sinema – cwmniau fel Pearl and Dean – neu lleoliadau annibynnol, wedi derbyn neu gwrthod yr hysbyseb? Mae stori fawr wedi’i greu allan o rhywbeth bach, a mae’n wir diddorol nodi, yn fy marn i, taw’r un papurau sy’n gwneud stori allan o hwn – stori tudalen blaen! - bydda’n cwyno os oedd hwn yn hysbyseb gan unrhyw grefydd arall. Mae’r digwyddiad yn adlewyrchu ar sut mae rhywbeth bach yn gallu cael ei ddefnyddio ar gyfer agendâu hollol wahanol.
It's almost a week since the end of Abertoir 2015 and I'm still in full recovery mode - what an incredible week it was! The kind words we received from all our guests and our audience were truly over-whelming. I think this was our most successful year, in terms of the scope of our events, the popularity of the films (none of the films we screened scored under 3/5 with the audience, and most were over 4!) and just the general atmosphere of celebration and happiness. Not everything ran smoothly, but it seems like we were able to deal with any hiccups well enough that no one really noticed or minded! Thank goodness!
It was a real privilege to witness the incredible Frizzi 2 Fulci show, and to have been able to bring it to Wales. Maestro Frizzi and all his musicians are absolute sweethearts, too, which is real icing on the cake! Victoria Price was, again, a wonderful guest, and her passion for life and her father's legacy is really infectious and joyous. All our other guests were real stars, many sticking around for the duration of the festival, which I think is testament to their enthusiasm - Graham Humphreys, Gilles Vranckx, Peter Fuller, Dario Russo and David Ashby. It was lovely to hear from new audience members, at the festival for the first time, who took the time to tell us what a great time they were having. It's wonderful to know that our hard work pays off and is appreciated like that, especially from people who haven't previously sampled our brand of chaos....!
Most touching of all was a gift from the Abertoir audience, given to myself and Gaz at the close of the festival, in the form of a commission from Graham Humphreys! It will be a painting of me and Gaz riding a 'ghost train', with a great big dragon behind us. I can't really articulate the generosity and kindness of this gesture, and how much it really means to us! What a wonderful concept too - I think the idea of the ghost train perfectly sums up the ride that is Abertoir: fun and frights all in one! We were also given a gift by Dario Russo and David Ashby at the close of the festival: a framed, rare poster for season 2 of Danger 5, signed by the entire cast! Incredible!
Now the festival is done comes the time of year where we try really hard (and usually fail) not to think of the festival for a little while. I've got a couple of projects to work on: a book review for a journal and a book chapter to write. These are both really exciting for me as my first post-PhD bits of academic work! Of course, my regular films review for EGO Magazine will continue, and I can get back to writing for Brutal as Hell too (incidentally, keep checking BaH for review of various films screened during Abertoir 2015!). No rest of the wicked, appropriately, and I don't think I'd want it any other way!
Amazing news! We've only just announced our full schedule for Abertoir 2015 (see HERE) and....well, we've sold out of passes! This has never happened before so we're incredibly proud and humbled by this. We're hoping we can put very limited numbers of single tickets for films on sale soon.
Gallwch chi wrando'n ol arna i'n sgyrsio am James Bond gyda Caryl Parry Jones, Gary Slaymaker a Peredur Glyn ar Radio Cymru am y 30 diwrnod nesa drwy glicio fan HYN. Fydda i ar raglen Geth a Ger nos yfory (23/10/15) i drafod Abertoir hefyd!
If you're a resident of North Wales and pick up a copy of the Daily Post this Saturday, I'll be profiled for the column Penny's People!
Last month I attended the legendary Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. I've been to BIFFF before, but not in a good few years. In the interim the venue has changed, and I must say, it's for the better!
I saw many excellent films during my time there (and one or two not so good), and I've finally finished writing up my reviews. They're all up on Brutal as Hell, and if you click HERE, you can access them all. Films included in my reviews (some of them are in round-up pieces) are: Bernard Rose's Frankenstein, The Ninja War of Torakage, Mexico Barbaro, Deadman Inferno, German Angst, Hollow, Greatful Dead, The Dead Lands, Monsterz, Goodnight Mommy, Shrew's Nest, One on One, The Target, No Tears for the Dead, The Terror Live, Charlie's Farm, Wyrmwood, The Stranger, The Midnight After, III and The Taking of Tiger Mountain 3D. It was a busy few days...!
I haven't really compiled a list of my favourites but if I was to pull out some highlights I'd have to go for The Ninja War of Toragkage, Deadman Inferno, Hollow, Greatful Dead, The Dead Lands, Monsterz and The Target.