24th July 2010
Lowri Gwilym a poet, documentary film maker, producer and content editor, has passed away. It is with great personal sadness that I write this news.
Lowri (55) was taken ill last week and died on Wednesday. She will remain one of the most influential figures in documentary film making in Wales for many years to come.
As a film maker Lowri made documentaries with integrity and creative skill, aspects that she maintained in her role as a producer and passed on to the production teams who made the documentaries she produced. She insisted on very high standards of production from the directors who made the documentaries for the landmark series 'O Flaen Dy Lygaid' (BBC Cymru on S4C). This professionalism and focus are influences that have left their mark on many directors in Wales. Through the award winning series 'O Flaen Dy Lygaid' Lowri was able to give new directing talent their first opportunities on substantial stories, opportunities that have been essential in developing the careers of many directors in the industry today. Myself included.
When Lowri joined S4C as a content editor for the channel she was able to bring her experience and understanding of actual hands on film making to the commissioning team. And, as she had done before on 'O Flaen Dy Lygaid', she was able to bring her great skill in story telling to the benefit of directors and production companies throughout Wales. The series' 'Wynebau Newydd' and 'O'r Galon' are examples of the kind of aspiration that Lowri brought to the channel. These series' were not derivative of formats that had already been successful on other channels; these were highly original and challenging ideas, hallmarks of Lowri's integrity. Lowri could subtly guide a production through each stage of the process, ensuring that her high standards were being met while at the same time leaving the film maker with the impression that they were still in control of the film. Lowri's personal skill with people was a gift that produced great programmes and empowered film makers with the confidence to go on and achieve more in their own careers.
When Lowri moved to S4C from BBC Cymru I learnt a bit more about her and her background. For the series 'Taith y Tad Deiniol' and the 'Wynebau Newydd' documentary 'Huw Haul', made by the production company Pixel Foundry for S4C, we filmed overseas in Libya and Turkey. I was very impressed with Lowri's knowledge about the culture, history and geography of these countries. It was her partner, the journalist and film maker Meic Bertwistle, who told me of her background as the daughter of the acclaimed poet and author Gwyn Williams who for many years lived in the Middle East, including Libya and Turkey where Lowri grew up.
Lowri is a great loss to broadcasting in Wales, the Welsh language and the Nation of Wales. She will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with Meic and their two teenage sons.