Diolch yn Fawr, thank you Anthony. Thank you so much for your kind words and for being here this evening. You are a legend and an inspiration to so many including to me. It feels a little surreal for me to be accepting an award from you. Thank you
Thank you to BAFTA Cymru for this incredible honor. I accept it on behalf of my two families - my work family, and my home family.
I walked into Industrial Light and Magic 21 years ago and fell in love with the place immediately. I had found my tribe. People who thrive on working together to create the impossible.
ILM really is a house of magic. It is also a lot of hard work – by a lot of wonderful talented human beings who put their heart and souls into every frame of every film that we work on. Any honor I receive is because of them and on behalf of them.
All of us who work there owe a debt of gratitude to the Trail Blazers who came before us, including of course George Lucas who willed the art of visual effects into being when he was told that Star Wars was an un-makeable film – so he formed ILM to prove them wrong.
At Lucasfilm I am part of the team that has the privilege and responsibility to nurture George’s legacy that means so much to so many. I have to pinch myself daily that I get to do this for a living.
We receive hundreds of letters from fans a week. We have a board up in our office where we put up some of the most inspiring messages from young and old talking about what Star Wars means to them. How it has helped them through hard times, inspired them to seek adventure, comforted them that they are not alone and convinced them that anyone can be a hero, light defeats darkness and hope always triumphs. It is a responsibility that we don’t take for granted. Everything we do we do it with the fans in mind and I am reminded of that each night when I go home to one of the biggest fans of them all …
My beautiful 10-year-old son Tom who is my world and inspires me every single day. And to my lovely husband Pat - Without his support and belief in me I would never have believed in myself.
Right from the start I have been incredibly lucky to be surrounded by supportive, ever patient and loving family.
I am the daughter of 2 teachers – one from Pembrokeshire and one from Anglesey.
My parents taught my brother and sister and I the importance of hard work but most importantly the importance of kindness and integrity.
My Mum is here today and she – like most welsh Mams is the rock of our family and the strongest, most humble and kindest person I have ever known – I am beyond lucky that of all the mums, she is my mum.
I am also lucky that my brother Gareth just so happens to be a genius. Without him I would never even have heard of visual effects. He took a chance on me to join his company - even though I did not have a single clue what I was doing. He had faith that I would figure it out. That became my big break and the theme of my career. I definitely share part of this award with Gareth without whom none of this would have happened.
I think Gareth and I would both agree that the person who really deserves an award in my family is our sister, Sian. She is a music teacher in South Pembrokeshire. She teaches kids the joy of making music, the thrill of being part of an orchestra and the sense of responsibility of part of something bigger than yourself to create something wonderful.
Music has been a huge part of my life and a giant part of my education.
For me the skills I learned as being a part of orchestras are THE most important skills I use every day and I have absolutely no doubt that if I did not have those opportunities when I was a child, I would not be here now.
Funding Arts education in schools must be something that we prioritize – it cannot be left to the privileged few that can afford it - or we risk losing this innate talent that we have as a nation and the opportunities it provides to ALL young people.
That is why my sister, and now my nieces, Hannah and Emily, who have followed in their mothers footsteps as teachers- are my heros. They are inspiring and building our future.
One of the reasons that I am so thrilled to be recognized by BAFTA Cymru and also to be an ambassador for Into Film Cymru is that I hope it may help inspire young people to know that there is a place for them in the film and television industry. If I can do it, you can do it. No matter who you are – and especially if you are in a minority -your stories are important, your voice is important – you can do this.
Finally, I dedicate this award to the person who always convinced me that I could do this - my lovely Dad. Dad, I hope you are up there somewhere watching with a giant glass of red wine and that you are proud of your “Darling Bach.”