A Welsh TV company is going global with a new big-budget show that busts the myth that rain comes in the form of tears.
Caernarfon-based Cwmni Da led an international consortium to make the three-part series which takes an in-depth look at how rain has affected humanity and reveals that raindrops actually look like hamburgers.
The £650,000 co-production, titled Rain: The Untold Story, has already been chosen by industry magazine Broadcast as one of the top 10 picks to watch in 2022.
It is a sequel to the Tide series, which has been sold in 50 countries around the world and won the Silver Dragon Award at the prestigious Chinese International Congress of Scientific and Educational Producers in Beijing, where big names like National Geographic were also vying for glory.
Rain features the same main partners, TG4 in the Republic of Ireland, BBC Northern Ireland, MG Alba in Scotland and LIC, China’s largest independent television production company.
It has also received funding from the Welsh Government through Creative Wales which is designed to tap into new global markets.
The series received rave reviews at the MIP TV show in Cannes, the seaside resort on the French Riviera which is also famous for the international film festival, and is brought to broadcasters around the world by specialist documentary distributors, TVF International.
According to Cwmni Da, TVF International has already concluded numerous agreements with MIP TV and says it expects even more sales.
As well as providing programs to the S4C and UK network channels, developing new international markets was one of Cwmni Da’s managing director Llion Iwan’s priorities when he joined the company in 2019, initially as as director of content.
He said, “I’m happy to say that the first co-production, Tide, was a great success and we are aiming for similar success with Rain.
“This series taps into the zeitgeist of climate change and environmental conservation.
“Civilizations have been shaped and destroyed by rain, or lack thereof, and it continues, probably in more drastic form than ever, due to climate change.”
Filming took place in China, Korea, India, America, Ireland, Scotland, United Arab Emirates and Kenya.
The main international version of the series was edited at Cwmni Da and formed the basis of the various versions for their partners in Scotland, Ireland and China who sent their own presenters to film parts on camera in a number of locations .
Associate Producer Euros Wyn said, “With Tide it was possible to send our own director and his team to places like China, Norway, Canada and the Netherlands, but this time he had to be filmed under global Covid restrictions.
“As a result, we had to adapt, so we outsourced the work to local production companies in the countries where the stories were located.
“We briefed them thoroughly and gave them our style guide, then we explained the story card to them. They then sent us the rushes and provided us with the transcripts of the interviews.
“Essentially, it was a gigantic puzzle and, in all honesty, all the pieces came together extremely well to create what we think will be a fantastic series that we have high hopes for.”
According to Euros Wyn, it was inevitable that the issue of climate change would form the backdrop for the entire series.
He added: “As global precipitation patterns become increasingly unpredictable, our relationship with rain is changing, so the stories we chose to feature in the series had to reflect that fact.
“For example, if you look at the west coast of Ireland which gets a lot of rain, there’s an island, Inis Oirr, where they experience drought every year.
“Even in Scotland you are now seeing a change in rainfall patterns between the east and west sides of the country.
“At the other end of the scale, in China, torrential rains and extremely heavy flooding have led to the development of so-called ‘sponge cities’.
“Essentially, this means creating huge green spaces within the concrete sprawl of a city, which can absorb higher levels of precipitation.
“We not only show people who live in communities directly affected by climate change, but also those who are at the forefront of developing our understanding of rain.
“For example, we filmed with Dr. Mike Larsen of the University of Charleston in West Virginia, whose research involves studying rain in minute detail, down to the shape of individual raindrops. And unlike popular belief they are not teardrop shaped, in fact they are more like a burger.
“Another Michigan scientist has spent most of his career studying cloud formation. To do this, they created a cloud chamber on campus, which allows them to have full control over the environment inside the chamber itself and essentially create their own clouds.
“But we are also looking at the cultural impact of rain. In Hawaii, for example, we see how a tribe carries on the tradition of the rain dance which has been passed down from generation to generation. The ceremony and the dance are absolutely breathtaking.
Llion Iwan added: “The logistics were quite complex from the start, but everything went very well and we are all delighted with the result. It’s a testament to the excellent cooperation we’ve had from all the partners – it’s a great team.
“The collaboration has shown what is possible if you come together in the right spirit and we hope this will lead to further international projects.”
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