Animated film created by Swansea pupils shortlisted for International Zoom Award

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An animated film created by pupils from three Swansea schools that depicts the life and works of Swansea’s Daniel James, composer of the hymn Calon Lân, has been shortlisted in the Best Animation category in this year’s International Zoom Awards

The International Zoom Awards are part of the Zoom International Youth Film Festival, Wales’ largest film event for children and young people.

Following a grant from the Lottery Heritage Fund, the Treboeth Historical Society worked with pupils from three Swansea schools who were aided by Swansea University’s Connected Communities Project and Academi Hywel Teifi to create the film. The schools involved in the Daniel James Project were:

  • Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tirdeunaw (Treboeth)
  • Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bryn Tawe (Penlan)
  • Gwyrosydd School (Treboeth)

The Daniel James Project is one of many research projects that form part of the Connected Communities project at Swansea University, which research and celebrate the past communities and people across the Swansea Valley and beyond.

Led by Professor Huw Bowen and the Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH) at Swansea University, Bev Rogers, Teresa Hillier and Cathrin Haines Davies, all student volunteers, researched the life and works of Daniel James, also known by his bardic name, Gwyrosydd. Their research was then shared with the pupils, who created the film under the direction of animation company, Turnip Starfish.

The resulting film, produced in both Welsh and English, was released on DVD in late 2013. Additionally, information packs created by student volunteers about Daniel James have been supplied to local schools, libraries, museums and archives. School-friendly versions of the packs contain information about Gwyrosydd’s life and works, as well as samples of his poetry and useful handouts for the classroom.

Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tirdeunaw teacher Dewi Ball, said: “The children are all very excited about the nomination and are extremely pleased that their hard work has not only been recognised as outstanding but also that this little part of our local history can be recognised on an international stage such as this. Each and every pupil excelled and very much enjoyed this unique experience, and now we’re all keeping our fingers crossed for a win!”.

Dr Elain Price, Lecturer in Film and Animation at Academi Hywel Teifi, added: "We're immensely proud that the film has been shortlisted for this award. The pupils worked very hard with the researchers and local history society to visualize the life and work of Daniel James and through this incredibly creative and imaginative media platform that is animation, the pupils were able to fully grasp the contribution he made to Welsh culture and history. The animation has been well-received and we're all hoping now that it will win at the Zoom Awards!".

The winners of this year’s International Zoom Awards will be announced in a glittering awards ceremony in the Sony Theatre at Bridgend College on 27 March, the conclusion of a week-long celebration of film as part of the Zoom International Film festival, with screenings and workshops held at venues across the South Wales valleys between 23 – 27 March.

View a clip of the Daniel James Project: