SUBMARINE (BFI Player)
Set in 1980s South Wales, Richard Ayoade’s first film is a laugh-out-loud, coming-of-age comedy based on the novel by Swansea’s own Joe Dunthorne. Following the hopelessly unpopular Oliver Tate (played by Welsh actor Craig Roberts) in the throes of a teenage infatuation with classmate Jordana, this one is a reliable choice if you need a laugh. Available to rent here.
HEDD WYN (BFI Player)
It was the first Welsh-language film to be nominated for an Oscar. Paul Turner’s stirring anti-war biopic pays homage to poet Ellis Evans / Hedd Wyn, whose dream was to be chaired at the National Eisteddfod. And he achieved that dream, only he never knew it, as it was awarded posthumously after he died fighting in WWI. You don’t even have to pay a penny to watch this one, as it’s free to stream here!
SOLOMON & GAENOR (Amazon Prime)
Feeling romantic? Try this Academy Award-nominated drama concerning an illicit love affair between a Jewish travelling salesman and a Welsh girl against a backdrop of anti-Semitism in the Welsh Valleys of 1911. Starring two of our finest Welsh actors Ioan Gruffudd and Nia Roberts, this is a sombre tale of forbidden desire. Available to watch with Amazon Prime Video here.
TIME AND AGAIN (BBC iPlayer)
This award-winning half-hour short film is a hidden gem lurking in the depths of the Welsh section of BBC iPlayer. From Cardiff-based filmmaker Rachel Dax, it’s a heart-wrenching queer love story between two women torn apart by society but reunited in old age. Reminiscent of a classic Play for Today, it stars Brigit Forsyth and Welsh acting legend Dame Siân Phillips. Available to watch for free here.
Alice Lowe writes, directs and stars as a pregnant serial killer tormented by the demonic unborn child in her womb in this pitch-black British comedy horror shot in and around Cardiff. Lowe was actually pregnant herself at the time of making this gleefully gory romp! Available through horror streaming service Shudder here or to rent on Amazon Prime here.
COLIN (Amazon Prime)
This shamelessly low-budget horror from Swansea-born Marc Price is tremendously trashy, but frightfully good fun. Described on its release as “the most touching film about a decomposing corpse you’ll see this year”, it was the first zombie film to be told from the zombie’s perspective, shot for only £45 on borrowed kit. Available to watch on Amazon Prime here.
KELLY + VICTOR (BFI Player)
Based on Aberystwyth author Niall Griffiths’ haunting and brutal novel, this BAFTA-winning, X-rated romance from director Kieran Evans shows a relationship in graphic and transgressive detail, between two twentysomethings who meet on the dancefloor of a Liverpool nightclub. Available on BFI Player here.
DON’T TAKE ME HOME (Amazon Prime)
Reminisce about the glory of the UEFA Euros 2016, when the Welsh national football team qualified for their first major tournament in almost 60 years. A sports documentary of underdog determination, it tells of how the team overcame the devastating blow of Gary Speed’s suicide all the way through to the Euros, featuring Gareth Bale, Chris Coleman and many more as talking heads. Available to watch on Amazon Prime here.
A macho action film of medieval knights and bloodshed, it was the first film to be shot at Dragon International Film Studios — better known as Valleywood — near Bridgend. It has an impressive cast that includes Aneurin Barnard, Paul Giamatti, Brian Cox and Derek Jacobi. Available on Netflix here.
SLEEP FURIOUSLY (BFI Player)
This slice-of-life documentary from Gideon Koppel concerns the struggling Welsh farming community of Trefeurig in Mid Wales, a place where not a lot happens and local opportunities are scarce. With a beguiling soundtrack by Aphex Twin, the eccentric residents go about their quiet little lives as best they can, from visiting the mobile library to making a Victoria sponge. Available to rent on BFI Player here.
words SAM PRYCE