Four new Welsh language feature films are to be supported for development as part of Creative Wales’ Sinema Cymru Fund.

Sinema Cymru is a collaboration between S4C and Creative Wales and will be delivered by Ffilm Cymru. The fund aims to fast-track independent Welsh language films which are bold, unconventional, and have the potential to gain international cinema release.

The four titles selected for development funding in this first round are:

Gorllewin Gwyllt: a ‘dramedy’ about a peculiar outcast who uses her obsessive knowledge of Western films to solve the mysterious disappearance of her best friend from their rural Welsh town. Carys Lewis (Writer, Director), Bethan Leyshon (Writer)

Pijin: An adaptation of Alys Conran’s coming of age novel about a childhood friendship between Pijin and Iola who escape reality by living a life of imagination and storytelling - a world that eventually spirals out of control with disastrous consequences. Triongl (Production company) Angharad Elen (Writer), Euros Lyn (Director), Gethin Scourfield & Nora Ostler Spiteri (Producers)

Lluest: A bloody exploration of betrayal and female retribution set in the snow-bound mountains of eighteenth-century north Wales. Severn Screen Ltd (Production company) Ed Talfan (Writer), Gareth Bryn (Director), Hannah Thomas (Producer), Gareth Evans (Executive producer), Caryl Lewis (Executive producer)

Estron: A community fights for its survival as otherworldly forces bear down on it. Joio Cyf (production company), Lee Haven Jones (Director), Roger Williams (Writer)

This round of funding is investing £140k to develop the initial ideas, with the aim for at least one of the films to progress to production funding. Future releases will aim for a festival run before moving on to a cinematic release. The programme will also include a bespoke package of training and continuous professional development to support Welsh feature film writers, producers and directors bringing the total investment in this round of Development Funding to £280k.

The scheme launched with a residential Writers’ Lab, organised by Ffilm Cymru in partnership with Brittany based Le Groupe Ouest. Le Groupe Ouest run the renowned European script programme Less Is More (LIM) and have a track record of developing non-English language features with an international reach.

Screenwriting mentors Nolwenn Guiziou and Yacine Badday worked with some of the top shortlisted Sinema Cymru filmmakers to develop their feature projects during the week-long lab.

Hannah Blythyn, the Minister for Creative Industries in Wales, said: “The Welsh Government is committed to delivering more independent Welsh language film, and at a time when the sector is under increasing pressure, this is more important than ever.

“We launched the Sinema Cymru fund to help inspire creativity in Welsh language film and to do that in a way which champions underrepresented voices and helps promote Wales and the Welsh language to the world. I am so pleased these four exciting titles have been successful in securing funding that will help them progress their concepts.”

The Sinema Cymru Fund is part of the co-operation agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.

Plaid Cymru Designated Member, Cefin Campbell, said: "The Sinema Cymru fund is an opportunity for us to promote Welsh language films and support the talent both behind the camera and on the screen. Through the global language of film we can bring our language to a global audience, and develop and support our film sector.

“This is a great opportunity for us to promote and celebrate Welsh language films. Sinema Cymru will support independent Welsh language film, developing ideas and talent, and strengthening the Welsh-language film sector.

“I look forward to seeing how these projects progress.”

Head of Scripting for S4C, Gwenllian Gravelle, said: “Cinema is an emotional and entertaining experience, going beyond language and geographical barriers.

“Our aim at S4C is to develop and strengthen the industry in Wales by creating a Welsh language film each year; building a robust catalogue of films to be enjoyed today and by future generations.

“Our aim is to provide the audience with a cinematic experience of Welsh stories, created by the unique and creative voices of our country. Powerful stories that not only have a local feel but also have global appeal.”

Gwenfair Hawkins, Welsh Language Development and Production Executive at Ffilm Cymru, said: “Ffilm Cymru Wales are delighted to be working on the Sinema Cymru fund with S4C and Creative Wales.

“Whilst all of Ffilm Cymru Wales' funds continue to be available to those wanting to work in the Welsh language we are excited by this first of its kind opportunity to further showcase and celebrate Welsh language stories and voices.

“Independent films like Gwledd, Y Llyfrgell and Yr Ymadawiad (co-funded by Ffilm Cymru and S4C) play an essential role in nurturing and championing both emerging and established filmmakers.

“With indigenous UK film production declining across the board, the continued investment of public broadcasters and Government into Welsh language cinema has never been more vital.”