A North Wales television company took home a hat-trick just two years after making broadcasting history when it was taken over by staff.
Caernarfon-based Cwmni Da said the triple success of the Celtic Media Festival will boost the business by helping them earn more lucrative commissions.
In all of the company’s programs were shortlisted for seven accolades, which was a record for the prestigious event founded 40 years ago.
They walked away with gongs for the award-winning children’s show Deian a Loli, documentary series 47 Copa (47 Summits) and Côr Digidol (Digital Choir) presented by popular tenor Rhys Meirion.
The transformation into a “mini John Lewis” occurred when then chief executive Dylan Huws sold his shares to the new Employee Owned Trust.
This decision was considered the first in the UK broadcasting industry and was handled by the Wales Co-operative Center.
Around the same time, the company recruited broadcast big hitter Llion Iwan as director of content, having previously worked as factual content commissioner and head of content distribution at S4C.
He succeeded as Managing Director Dylan Huws, who is now chairman of the board and executive producer of Cwmni Da.
“Winning three of the highest honors at the Celtic Media Festival is a huge achievement for the incredible team here at Cwmni Da.
“The business has always hit well above its weight, but the staff are more committed to the cause than ever after ownership of the business has been transferred to them. We have taken it to a whole new level.
“They amply deserve the accolades awarded to them because it is a reward for their talent and hard work.
“The prestige that comes with winning awards will also give us a boost commercially.
“Let’s not forget that Cwmni Da’s programs were shortlisted for honors in seven categories.
“They represented an extremely diverse lineup of programs which also included the comedy series Rybish (Rubbish), two documentaries, Y Côr (The Choir) and Eirlys, Dementia a Tim (Eirlys, Dementia and Tim) which was shortlisted in two different categories. .
“All of these programs are very different and illustrate the multiple talents of our team. “
The company employs 53 people and a host of freelancers and is based in a state-of-the-art production center in the Goleuad building on Victoria Dock.
Their production includes some of S4C’s most popular programs, including Fferm Ffactor, Noson Lawen and Ffit Cymru, as well as award-winning international co-productions like Llanw (Tide).
But the awards trio announce a new record for the respected company which generates around £ 5million a year, making a significant contribution to the local economy.
After originally airing on S4C, the documentary series, 47 Copa, is now available on Amazon Prime.
The three-part series reached new heights by taking the top spot in the sports category at the Celtic Media Festival.
It features endurance athlete Huw Jack Brassington’s successful attempt, originally from Caernarfon and now living in Cockermouth, Cumbria, to tackle one of the toughest mountain challenges in the world.
The film crews followed the former British triathlete in dangerous conditions as he completed the grueling Paddy Buckley Round, which sees the runners cover a distance of around 100 km and climb 8,000 meters, which is the equivalent of climbing Everest, climbing no less than 47 peaks – all in 24 hours.
Côr Digidol (Digital Choir) was a containment inspired show presented by talented tenor Rhys Meirion, originally from Porthmadog and now living in Pwllglas near Ruthin.
The program, which won the entertainment category, featured an exciting online performance of the famous Welsh anthem Calon Lȃn which has gone viral on social media with over 190,000 views.
Also among the winners was the Christmas 2020 special of the hugely popular children’s series Deian a Loli (Deian and Loli, which was honored in the children’s category.
“The decision to become an employee-owned trust strengthened Cwmni Da’s roots in Caernarfon, providing skilled and well-paying jobs.
Llion said: “What strikes me is that our programs have been shortlisted in many diverse categories, which shows just how multi-talented our team is.
“The pandemic presented us and everyone with enormous challenges, but the ingenuity and flexibility of the team helped us through this difficult time.
“Have a core of highly creative and experienced directors and producers as well as young people who are supervised.
“Over the past 18 months, we have been able to reorganize our schedules and change the way we work.
“As a result, we were able to continue producing programs during the pandemic and we did everything possible to support the experienced freelancers in our region who have been loyal to the company.
“This has allowed Cwmni Da to continue to contribute to the local economy and our turnover last year has remained stable at around £ 5million.
“The Celtic Media Festival has provided us with a great showcase, and I’m sure this success will be very helpful in securing future orders to lay the foundation for an even brighter future.”