I’ve talked before about the making of Royal, and how it was a privilege to spend time on the road making a film about a 92-year-old Royal Marine who stormed Sword Beach on D-Day. Royal opened to an energetic, but largely sympathetic crowd in Ted’s home county of Pembrokeshire last year. So, as we prepared to take the film out to film festivals, we were a little unsure how the film community at large would respond to Ted’s story.
In stepped The Copper Coast International Film Festival to dispel our concerns by announcing Royal as their Best Documentary, 2018.
The award is, of course, terrific, but I think my favourite part about the festival was watching a largely young audience respond to Ted’s story with the same level of emotion and reverence that we experienced when making the film.
There was no disconnect here — they got it. In 2018 an audience of young people cheered, clapped and wept for a man that they’ll never meet, who sacrificed everything for them to be able to enjoy the simple freedoms we often take for granted; such as going to a film festival.
The awards night was a fantastic occasion, brilliantly hosted by Swansea’s own Mal Pope. Which was particularly pleasing for us as his documentary ‘Jack to a King – The Swansea Story’ served as a source of inspiration to us in making Royal.
With other giants of Welsh cinema in attendance such as the director of ‘Twin Town’ Kevin Allen, needless to say, we were just happy to be part of the crowd.
So, I’ll sign off by sending everyone at Copper Coast and The University of Wales Trinity St. David a massive thank you for your hospitality. We’ll be back next year with something else to show you (if you’ll have us). If there are any filmmakers reading this, I wholeheartedly endorse Copper Coast as a filmmaker-friendly festival, that gives your film every opportunity to find an audience.
I’ll leave a link to an interview the festival did with me on the second day of the festival below — just excuse my wet rat aesthetic, I’d just come in from the rain.
Once again, thank you to everyone who supported Royal and more importantly Ted Owens. You can find out more about this incredible man by reading my article on Ted for War History Online, here.