14th BFI FUTURE FILM FESTIVAL, 2021

"I'VE NEVER SEE A FILM ABOUT THAT AREA, LET ALONE A FILM THAT EXPLORES THE MIXTURE OF ENGLISH AND WELSH (AFFECTIONATELY KNOW AS "WENGLISH") THAT SO MANY US SPEAK HERE."

Tomos James
Hard As Nails
Drama 
Section: THE REAL ME

Hard as Nails screens as part of the BFI Future Film Festival from 18-21 February, free on

BFI Player

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In small-town North Wales, 18-year-old Dewi wears nail varnish in solidarity with his little brother, who got bullied in school for wearing it. He arrives at rugby training with a fresh coat of varnish, only to be met with resistance from his team. Dewi is torn between fierce loyalty towards his brother, and the pressure he faces from his teammates, coach and best mate, to take the nail varnish off.

Hi Tomos thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been holding up during these very strange times?

A lot of late night movies.

Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration?

I’ve been trying to stay regimented with watching, reading and writing new things. Some days are better than others.

Congratulations on having Hard as Nails selected for the BFI Future Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be part of The Real Me section?

Hard as Nails encapsulates the message of The Real Me section – the importance of being brave enough to be yourself. Everyone struggles with acceptance, but it’s rife within young lads. Hard as Nails explores the challenges that this kind of bravery poses.

Can you tell me a little bit about Hard as Nails, how did this film come about?

I wanted to set and shoot a film in North East Wales, where I’m from. I’ve never seen a film about that area, let alone a film that explores the mixture of English and Welsh (affectionately known as “Wenglish”) that so many of us speak here. Hard as Nails is about a group of young lads, inspired by the ones I grew up with. Everything is going swimmingly until one of them turns up to training wearing nail varnish.

What where the biggest challenges you faced bringing this film to life?

On our second shoot day we filmed two full under 18s rugby teams. A great bunch of lads, but a lot of people to keep engaged on a cold North Wales rugby pitch.

Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?

We prepared as well as we could but I knew I was going to learn a lot - and I did.

"I like to think people will get an insight into a part of the world they’re unfamiliar with."

What has been the most valuable lesson you have taken away from making Hard as Nails?

If you think you have enough pizza and chips for 2 full under-18s rugby teams, think again.

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?

Watching stop motion LEGO videos on YouTube back in 2006. That, and the gangster movie crash-course my dad gave me.

What has been some of the best advice you’ve been give?

f8 and don’t be late.

Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?

If not, what’s the point?

Do you have any tips or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?

Work with a good team, don’t stop till you get the shot, keep telling the story, say thanks to everyone.

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Hard as Nails?

I like to think people will get an insight into a part of the world they’re unfamiliar with. I hope any young lads that watch the film realise that acting like a man can mean 1 million different things, good and bad.

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