One of Wales’ most famous legends about Man’s best friend can now be enjoyed in a captivating film which takes us back to the medieval era which inspired the stirring Gelert story.
There’s no story quite like it and the 15 minute short, Beddgelert (translation: Gelert’s Grave), is a fresh but realistic interpretation of the famous story about Prince Llywelyn the Great’s faithful dog who sacrifices its life to save its master’s son and heir.
The film Beddgelert, written and directed by the internationally acclaimed Welsh film director Medeni Griffiths, was premiered on S4C on Thursday 2 November, 7.35pm, as part of the S4C Chwedlau – Legends season.
Shot on location in the Dolwyddelan area, Snowdonia, the film’s tragic main characters are Prince Llywelyn the Great (portrayed by Andrew Howard) and his late wife Siwan (Catherine Ayers). By experimenting with ancient Welsh, the author gives the tragic tale a new life. We hear language that takes inspiration from the language that would have been spoken at the time of the Welsh prince’s reign in the 12th and 13th centuries. On-screen subtitles are provided in modern Welsh.
Medeni Griffiths, the Los Angeles based Welsh writer/director, known for her imaginative and engaging directing style in films such as ‘Summit’, brings in new themes to add depth and colour to the well-known tale to be forever remembered at the famous burial stone in the picturesque Snowdonia village. “Since I was a child, I’ve always loved the story of Beddgelert and even though many people see it as a tragic tale, I wanted to make something that had a glimmer of hope at the end for this character and his son; they have a future together. It’s a tear jerker, but I hope people also find it magical and inspiring.”
Here viewers meet an already grieving Llywelyn the Great, who yearns for his dead wife, Siwan. He seeks solitude in his Dolwyddelan Castle, taking with him his new-born son and his most trusted hound, Gelert. But despite Gelert’s companionship, Llywelyn is blinded by grief, and he fails to see the new danger that threatens his family
The film also stars Rupert Bradfield as Llywelyn’s son Dafydd, and Fern as Gelert. With award-winning composer Ceiri Torjussen writing the score and Alys Bevan behind the costume direction, this Bad Wolf production is one of a number of short films commissioned commissioned for the Beacons scheme for emerging filmmakers, funded by Ffilm Cymru Wales and the BFI NETWORK in association with Western Edge Pictures & Gennaker Grou.
Director: Medeni Griffiths
Producer: Ben Jenkins