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Cornish language films now available on BBC iPlayer

A series of short films featuring Cornish speakers is now available on BBC iPlayer.

The four films were commissioned through FylmK, a project by Screen Cornwall and Cornwall Council, as a way to support increased use of the Cornish language (Kernewek). All four have since won awards at film festivals.

The short dramas, which have English subtitles, were written and produced by Cornish film makers and writers. They cover a range of themes including a night out in Penzance, family friction in Porthleven, and a time-travelling alien in Goonhilly.

Carol Mould, portfolio holder for Neighbourhoods at Cornwall Council, said: “It is fantastic to see films featuring Cornish speakers on BBC iPlayer for the very first time.

“We are proud to be supporting Cornish filmmakers and producers and hope that these films encourage others to take an interest in learning Kernewek.”

Although it remains a critically endangered language, Kernewek has been recognised internationally for its successful ground-up revival. More and more people are learning the language, and it’s being featured in music as well as film. Last year Gwenno’s Cornish language album ‘Tresor’ and Mark Jenkin’s film ‘Enys Men’ were acclaimed by critics and audiences alike.

Laura Giles, Managing Director of Screen Cornwall, said: “The FylmK shorts are not only culturally important in portraying sides of Cornwall that aren’t always seen in mainstream media, but also as important talent development pathways for creatives and crew to hone their skills on indigenous productions.”

Stephanie Marshall, BBC Head of Content Production for the West and South West, said: “Cornwall’s screen sector is distinctive both within our region and nationally due to its strong Celtic heritage and cultural links, minority language and perspective on the world as an outward looking peninsula with a worldwide diaspora.

“The BBC is delighted to be bringing these high-quality short films to a broader audience and supporting indigenous production and talent development at the same time.”

You can watch the series of Cornish shorts on BBC iPlayer. See more about each of the films below. 

YN MOR (At Sea) – 2018

A woman in fishing gear walking towards the sea with a bucket

Yn Mor: In a fishing town in Cornwall, a fractured relationship between a father and daughter begins to splinter further as she dreams of leaving the village behind.

Written and directed by Zoe Alker. 

Watch Yn More here

AN TAROW (The Bull) – 2019

A boy next to a stone wall

An Tarrow: When his daydreams become inextricably woven with reality, a quiet young boy finds courage from his mother's Cornish tales to confront his abusive father.

Written by Samuel J. Chessell, directed by Jonny Dry.

Watch An Tarrow here

MOWES (Lass) – 2020

A girl smiling

Mowes: Jan works at her father's old fashioned clothing shop but her life is about to change when singer Helen comes in to buy a suit.

Written and directed by Bryher Flanders.

Watch Mowes here.

KESTAV (Contact) – 2020

A woman wearing a space helmet

Kestav: A Cornish-speaking alien returns to Earth with the mortal remains of a 10th century pilgrim, and demands to speak with Jenna Gwennap.

Written and directed by Christopher Morris.

Watch Kestav here

Learn Kernewek

If you would like to learn the Cornish language, you can find out more about the tools, resources and classes available on the Go Cornish website.

Press release issued on January 27, 2023

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