On Tuesday 30 June, current Welsh international netballer Lydia Hitchings will star in a sports documentary premiere, produced in a collaboration between Cardiff Met University and Ball State University from Indiana, USA. The documentary will then be screened on local and national TV stations in the USA, including ESPN+ and will be featured on Cardiff Met’s digital platforms.
The ground breaking film titled “Transatlantic Storytelling” explores the role of sport in Welsh life and is told through the exclusive and personal stories of 7 elite Welsh sports men and women, all hailing from Cardiff Met University.
Including Hitchings, one of the Cardiff Met’s top players, an athlete who has to juggle a career as an elite, international netballer and a full time art student.
Alongside Lydia, the documentary will feature a number of other athletes from Cardiff Met University, representing a range of sports and all with an inspirational story to tell. The film also features stunning scenics of Wales’s mountains, castles, cliffs and coastlines, captured earlier this year in the month before the nation went into lockdown.
The documentary will be shown for the first time on 30 June. For viewers in the United Kingdom, the debut will be in at 8 p.m and links can be found through each Cardiff Met’s social media accounts: @MetBroadcast and @CMetSportTV. The project also has an official website: www.transatlanticstorytelling.com.
The project is the result of a partnership between the Sport Broadcast MSc course at Cardiff Met and the SportsLink programme at Ball State. The partnership has been built up by the respective course leaders – Joe Towns, in Wales and Chris Taylor in the USA over the past two years. In Spring 2019 Taylor flew to Wales to see if Cardiff was the right city for him to bring his students to make a film and while in the city he gave the Welsh students a masterclass on Sports Storytelling. In Autumn Towns flew out to Indiana to give a lecture on Creativity in Sports Production and to witness up close the scale of the broadcast operations and hype surrounding college sports in the States.
In early 2020 students from the two courses hooked up online. There was a month of skype calls, the Welsh students picked and pitched twelve potential athlete stories for their American counterparts to research. The Americans had to choose seven and those seven stories would form the spine of their documentary. In March this year, 15 American staff and students landed in Cardiff, via Minneapolis and Amsterdam, ready to make their documentary. The Welsh students helped with locations and local knowledge, terminology, research, contacts and carrying camera kit. The American students worked as directors, producers and reporters. The project has been edited remotely during the COVID19 pandemic and will be premiered on Facebook on June 30th, before linear transmission on local and national TV in America.
Following the June 30 digital premiere, the documentary will then be edited into a 58-minute version released for linear television stations and film festivals — along with additional digital platforms — in both the United Kingdom and the United States.