MEN WHO SING is the powerful, personal new film documenting the widowed father of director Dylan Williams and his poignant quest to keep their local choir singing in the small Welsh town of Trelawnyd, North Wales.
A heart-warming documentary driven by real-life characters, Dylan Williams Men Who Sing combines the spirit of Dad’s Army with the musicality of Pitch Perfect.
The humorous and melancholic portrait of a male voice choir begins when Dylan’s father, widower Ed, 90, sells the family home and arranges his own funeral.
Ed’s only remaining solace is Tuesday night choir practice, but with an average age of 74 and suffering a haemorrhaging of the bass section his beloved choir is facing a crisis of its own. They must act or face extinction. So, the hunt begins to find ‘brown-haired men’ in their 40s and 50s who can take the choir forward.
Character driven Documentary Men Who Sing
Dylan began making the documentary when his father called him at his home in Sweden to say that he was getting his affairs in order.
Returning to Wales, Dylan revisited the choir with his father that he remembered growing up
“It was a practice night and I went with him,” Dylan tells Andy Howells in a video interview for Entertainment South Wales, “I always used to hate that choir, sitting in the back of community halls. I went in and the same faces were there, except they were in their 80s.”
“The whole element of missing home and seeing these men… I just took it to heart. I’m not unique, If I feel something ,someone else might share this kind of emotion.”
Men Who Sing not only becomes about Dylan’s father but also the many exceptional characters who make up the choir as they search for new talent to join them. While Ed finds new meaning, Merf deals with his own bad news by focusing on the Choirs revival and Gwyn laughs at his prostate cancer diagnosis and walks on the wing of a plane to raise money. As a documentary maker, how does Dylan establish those he features in such a short time?
“I actually watched Oceans 11 at one point,” reveals Dylan, “It’s got 12 characters and you introduce them at the beginning, “You’ve got Gwyn… He was the guy…” so even though you don’t know them, they’ve been named otherwise you’ve just got your main character and a flat back behind you… So you try to give small details about them.”
“Of course, they’ve got to the point in life where they don’t care anymore, they don’t have any inhibitions and there was no sense in anyone thinking twice there was a camera there.”
Filmmaker Reconnects With His Welsh Roots
The documentary very much celebrates life and has helped Dylan reconnect with his roots.
Dylan continues, “I used to tell people I was from the ugliest seaside town in the world, because I was obviously too cool for this little area. Then I realise it’s MY ugliest seaside town in the world.
“This is who I am. Thank God I’ve got passed that level of trying to pretend I’m something else. I felt very happy there. Going back to Stockholm, I realised my heart is very much in Wales.”
Where To See Men Who Sing
28–29 November 2021
Theatr Gwaun, Fishguard, N. Pembrokeshire
30 November – 4 December
Aberystwyth Arts Centre
Bonington Theatre, Nottingham + a special pre-film performance by the Carlton Male Voice Choir
Hull Independent Cinema
30 March 2022
Abergavenny Film Society
- Watch the full video interview with Dylan Williams above or here.