FILMMAKERS from as far afield as Afghanistan and Argentina have gathered in Prestatyn for a record-breaking Wicked Wales International Youth Film Festival.

Now in its fourth year, the event featured 170 films made by young people from 39 countries across the world from Monday, October 14 to Saturday 26.

For this year’s theme of ‘IDEAS’ - Inclusion, Diverse, Equal, and Special - the festival welcomed participants from Norway, Scotland, Serbia, Greece, Ireland, Sweden and Croatia, this included young film makers who joined young filmmakers from North Wales to make films throughout Denbighshire.

Festival director Rhiannon Hughes said: “We have been absolutely delighted by the number and quality of award winning films we have screened this year and the many countries we have worked with for the first time including China, Nepal, Afghanistan Czech Republic, Macedonia, Argentina, Ukraine, Mexico and Poland to name a few. North Wales certainly welcomed the world into its schools and venues.

“We also look forward to seeing the films which have been made during the festival, we thank our young volunteers who work hard throughout the year on our community cinemas and Andrew Virgo who kept all the films running at the right time and on the right day.”

The Festival started with screenings for schools and the community and then moved to Westbury Castle in Gronant for the opening night, with the festival being opened by volunteer and one of the chairs of the festival, 14 year old Sam Jones.

The opening programme also featured a film about the work of the Wicked volunteers over the last 12 months, directed by volunteer Imogen Kulavuz.

This was followed by a day of International discussions supported by the British Council and with guest speakers from the international Youth Cinema Network YCN - a network of 60 festivals - who send their award winning films to the Wicked Festival.

The international discussions included the importance of young people in North Wales having the opportunity to make contacts and work internationally and the launch of a book celebrating four years of working and exchange programmes with our partners in Gornji Milanovac in Serbia.

Feature films included a screening of the film Anorak with Huw Stephens, recently awarded four Welsh BAFTA awards and the Welsh premiere of IKEA for Y, directed by Marija Ratkovic Vidakovic.

Bafta Cymru worked with the Festival to bring Channel 4 and Lime Productions ( Hollyoaks) to Rhyl Little Theatre to talk about the opportunities available to young people to get into the film and television industry.

There were also two filmmaking projects this year. The first, an international collaboration in Snowdonia in partnership with Cell B and under the guidance of film producer Pauline Williams creating short films about Welsh myths 'Prosiect Mythau', while Tir Morfa Special School welcomed teachers from Croatia and their Four River Festival who along with teacher Sara Griffiths made an animation film using natural items.