Staff Directory

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Contact Details

Qualifications

FHEA – University of South Wales (2018)
M.A. FINE ART (Film) – Cardiff School of Art and Design at Cardiff Metropolitan University (1994)
PGCE – Middlesex University (1989)
B.A. Hons FINE ART (Film) – Sheffield Hallam University (1988)
ART FOUNDATION DIPLOMA – Cardiff School of Art and Design at Cardiff Metropolitan University (1985)

Training Courses: -
Opera Directing training course with Stage Directors UK and National Opera Studio, London (2016).
“Meisner Acting Technique For Directors” taught by Stephen Bayly run by Skillset Film Academy. (2010 – 2011)
Feature film development workshops for Producers in Germany and London, run by Draft Zero for The European Development Network. Developing feature script “The Silk Man”. (2003)
Directing Actors Workshop at the National Film & Television School. (2002)
Script Development workshops at the Mediterranean Film Institute in Greece. Developing feature script “The Weaver”. (2001-2002)

About

Margaret Constantas has been working professionally as a Writer and Director since 1994. She has been teaching at University of South Wales since 2000 and specialises in teaching directing to BA film students. She has made numerous films, including commissioned projects for BBC Wales, Channel 4, Arts Council of Wales and Ffilm Cymru Wales. During 2005 to 2010 Margaret fully developed an international co-production feature film “The Silk Man”, led by Palme d’Or winning producer Keith Griffiths of Illuminations Films together with Keith Potter, from Film Agency for Wales. “The Silk Man” was developed with financial support from FILM AGENCY WALES, MEDIA PLUS, and SEKIN (The Cyprus Film Commission).

In 2014, Margaret completed a documentary feature film commissioned by National Theatre Wales. The documentary, “BRANCHES – The Nature of Performance” follows the creative development of a live dance theatre performance called “BRANCHES – The Nature of Crisis” by Choreographer and Director, Constanza Macras collaborating with an international cast. The live performance was made with National Theatre Wales as part of the Cultural Olympiad London 2012 Festival and performed at Wepre Park, North Wales during September 2012. The documentary was completed and screened at Chapter Cinema in 2014. It also had a screening organised by BAFTA Cymru at Cineworld, Cardiff in 2015. Film link- https://vimeo.com/113532264 with password CONSTANTAS17

In December 2014, Margaret collaborated with the esteemed composer, Judith Weir (Master of the Queen’s Music) to make a commissioned short opera film for Welsh National Opera, The Space and Ffilm Cymru Wales. The musical composition and film that Judith and Margaret created; "The Sleeping-Mat Ballad, was part of a bigger project called “Occupation – Five Songs That Shook The World” which centred around the theme of protest and involved various composers and film-makers. Film Link- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rM53p31Aip0

Margaret and Judith Weir are currently working together again developing another opera film, “Warmth”, this is a feature film written by Margaret. Warmth is a universal story of love and loss. It is a ‘fairy tale for grown ups’, heightened at points by the use of specially commissioned music. In 2016 Warmth received development funding through Horizons via BFI Net.Work and Ffilm Cymru Wales. The Horizons funding was used to film two test scenes from the script; “The Cordwainers’ Song” and “She Came to Us”. In 2017 Warmth was also selected as one of ten projects through the “Cinematic” scheme, run by BFI, Ffilm Cymru Wales and Fields Park. Cinematic offered training and development funding to create a development package that includes, first draft script and supporting development material. Margaret and Judith continue to develop Warmth with a view to making the feature film or live opera version, or both.

Since 2018, Margaret has been collaborating with operatic baritone and musicologist, Ryan Hugh Ross. Margaret is working as a producer and directing mentor making a documentary film with Ryan. The documentary captures the process of singers and musicians recording a collection of songs by supressed Viennese composer Julius Burger. The documentary “Julius Burger – A Journey in Exile” is due to be completed in the autumn of 2019.

Publications

“The Cordwainers’ Song” (2017)
Published by Chester Music Ltd
Composer – Judith Weir
Text – Margaret Constantas
Created for “Warmth” musical film.

Film screenings

“The Sleeping-Mat Ballad” (2014)
Opera film commission from Welsh National Opera, The Space and Ffilm Cymru Wales.
Collaborating with Judith Weir as part of “Occupation – Five Songs That Shook The World”
On-line distribution at: -
http://www.occupation.org.uk/artists/margaret-constantas

BRANCHES – The Nature of Performance” (2014)
Documentary feature film commission from National Theatre Wales.
Private screenings at Chapter Cinema and BAFTA Cymru screening at Cineworld, Cardiff.
Link to Trailer: -
https://vimeo.com/109365280

“Darn” (2008)
Installation
Tactile Bosch Gallery. Cardiff, Wales.

“Salt Shoes” (2008)
Film Installation working with Dancer Cai Tomos
‘Experimentica’, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, Wales.

“Brenin” (2004)
Performance and Musical film commission from BBC Wales
Working with Choreographer Simon Whitehead and Composer Barnaby Oliver.
Screenings: -
Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Greece (2004)
Human Rights Festival, Athens (2004)
Cineworld, Cardiff (2004)
BBC 2 Wales broadcast (2005)
Echo Arts Festival, Cyprus (2005)
ReelDance International Dance on Screen Festival (2008)
ReelDance 14-Stop Tour, Australia & New Zealand inc; Melbourne, Campbelltown, Sydney, Perth, Hobart, Noosa, Brisbane, & Christchurch, New Zealand
“Brenin/King is a beautiful looking film, with the strange actions of the men juxtaposed against the expansive Welsh landscape.” (Jane McKernan, http://realtimearts.net/article/issue85/9072)

“Anemos” (2000)
BBC Wales film commission part of “Mad Bad and Dangerous”
Working with Choreographer Simon Whitehead and Performer Stirling Steward.
Screenings: -
BBC 2 Wales (2000)
Cineworld, Cardiff (2001)
Chapter Cinema, Cardiff (2001)
Nine Artists Films, Carmarthen, Wales (2008)

“Per4mance” (1999)
Three Dance films commissioned by Channel 4 and Wark Clemments
Screenings: -
Channel 4, UK broadcast (1999)
New Moves Across Europe (1999)
100 Years of British Dance – International tour, Asian-American Film Festival (1999)
Royal Festival Hall (1999)
Dance Umbrella (2000)

“The Confectioner” (1997)
Short film financed by BBC Wales, Arts Council of Wales & SGRIN
Awarded BAFTA Cymru – Best Short Film (1997)
Screenings: -
BBC 2 Wales (1997)
Numerous International Film festivals in France, Finland, Scotland, Turkey, India, USA & Wales. (1997 – 2009)

“Installations” (1996)
Art documentary commissioned by BBC Wales as part of “The Slate”
BBC 2 Wales broadcast (1996)

“Melencolia” (1994)
Short film financed by Wales Film Council and Arts Council of Wales
Screenings: -
Welsh International Film Festival (1994)
CineWomen Film Festival (1995)
“Sight and Sound” Tour (1995)
British Short Film Festival (1995)

Weblink to Margaret Constantas Film Showreel
https://vimeo.com/113201066

Memberships

DIRECTORS UK

Research

Expertise or Interest

One of Margaret’s main interest is exploring performance for film. Whether it is through narrative fiction or experimental performance work and more recently musical films, particularly opera. She has worked with performers from a range of disciplines; physical theatre, dance, drama and opera. Having a background in Fine Art influences and informs the films that Margaret makes. Her concerns with filmmaking are to create other worlds and experiences that are out of the ordinary. She is inspired by fables and allegorical mythology. Even though the worlds of the films she makes, appear ‘extra’ ordinary, the themes remain rooted in the ordinary and can be identified by global audiences. The emphasis is on the exploration of action, sound and image and how these elements can bring meaning to films. Her work has been screened nationally and internationally, always receiving high praise. One of her films “The Confectioner” won a BAFTA Cymru Award for ‘Best Short Film’. “The Confectioner was a personal, almost abstract feminist work centred on sexual power play and repression, with form and content superbly married by the director Margaret Constantas and photographer Phil Cowan.” (Dave Berry, “Unearthing the Present: Television drama in Wales”, Wales On Screen, ed. Steve Blandford, Wales:seren, 2000, p.135)

A documentary that Margaret completed in 2014, “Branches – The Nature of Performance” captured the improvised rehearsal period for a live theatre production, in order to reflect upon the creative development of the performance. The purpose was to show the performers interacting with the locations and each other, and reveal the evolution of their performances from concept to final live event. This is depicted through the performers’ interpretation of themes, physicality, movement, voice, music and costume. Some of the core themes of the live show; transformation, fairy tales and man in nature, resonate with previous film work by Margaret.

In 2014 Margaret collaborated with Judith Weir on a short opera film “The Sleeping-Mat Ballad” This was a commission for Welsh National Opera, The Space and Ffilm Cymru Wales. Margaret’s intention was to create a film based around the music/song that Judith composed. She wanted to work creatively through a filmic interpretation that would not mirror or replicate the song visually, but would enhance and complement it by bringing out further layers of the themes, character and narrative through film. Colour was a key element in the film because of its significance to the song that Judith composed about the Hong Kong Street protest that took place in 2014 in China. Collaborating closely with her Cinematographer Philip Cowan, they explored how colour could be used effectively to bring out the themes of “The Sleeping-Mat Ballad”.

Margaret and Judith Weir are currently working together again developing another opera film, “Warmth”, a feature film written by Margaret. Warmth is a universal story of love and loss. It is a ‘fairy tale for grown ups’, heightened at points by the use of specially commissioned music. Warmth is a film about relationships and how they change over time. It is a story of greed, perception and humanity in a world slightly off-set from our own. “On the Wentloog Levels near Cardiff, two artisan shoemakers, husband and wife, have fallen on hard times. Their lives are soon to be transformed by the appearance of a mysterious cow.”

The Horizons funding that Warmth received enabled Margaret to film two test scenes in 2017 exploring ways to interpret sample scenes from the script using song, characters and landscape within the narrative of the film. One of the test scenes involved Margaret taking a dialogue scene and adapting the words so that Judith could compose a musical score for this. The result was “The Cordwainers’ Song” which was filmed on location on the Wentloog Levels in South Wales.

In 2017 Warmth was also selected as one of ten projects through the Cinematic scheme, run by BFI, Ffilm Cymru Wales and Fields Park. Cinematic offered training and development funding to create a development package that includes, a first draft script and supporting development material.

Margaret and Judith continue to develop Warmth with a view to making the feature film or live opera version, or both.

Since 2018, Margaret has been collaborating with operatic bariton and musicologist, Ryan Hugh Ross. Margaret is working as a producer and directing mentor making a documentary film with Ryan. The documentary captures the process of singers and musicians, rehearsing and recording the unpublished songs of displaced Viennese composer Julius Burger. The recording of these songs in 2018 was the very first time they had been sung. The documentary “Julius Burger – A Journey In Exile” is due to be completed in the autumn of 2019.

Grants Awarded

“The Silk Man” feature film received development finance from:
Film Agency for Wales – £10,000 (2008-2010)
SEKIN (Cyprus Cinema Advisory Committee) – £8,000 (2008-2010)
SGRIN (Arts Council of Wales Lottery) – £20,000 (2005-2008)
MEDIA PLUS – £20,000 (2005-2008)
SEKIN (Cyprus Cinema Advisory Committee) – £10,000 (2005-2008)

“Branches: The Nature of Performance” Documentary Feature film received production finance from:
NATIONAL THEATRE WALES – £6,000 (2012)
UNIVERSITY OF WALES, NEWPORT – £4,500 (2012/2013)

“The Sleeping-Mat Ballad” Opera film received finance from:
FFILM CYMRU WALES – £2,300 (2014)

“Warmth” Opera film received developed finance from:
BFI NET.WORK and FFILM CYMRU WALES – £6,000 (2016)
for Warmth Test Scenes – “The Cordwainers’ song” and “She Came to Us”.

“Warmth” Opera feature film received development support and training through the Cinematic scheme run by:
BFI, FFILM CYMRU WALES and FIELDS PARK – £5,000 (2017)

“A Journey in Exile: The Lieder of Julius Burger” – Documentary film
REDISCOVERED BEAUTY – £2,000 (2019)

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