From Swansea University to the silver screen

Swansea University graduate, Jonny Owen, revisited his alma mater for the showing of his new film Svengali, at the Taliesin Arts Centre on 6 May.

Merthyr-born Jonny Owen is a BAFTA Cymru winning producer, actor, and writer. He is the writer and star of Svengali (Cert. 15), the cult internet series which has been produced into a feature film.

‌Described as “One of the coolest and funniest British movies in ages” by Trainspotting author, Irvine Welsh, Svengali tells the story of Dixie (Jonny Owen), a postman from South Wales, and a music fanatic. All his life he’s dreamed of discovering a great band and then one day, trawling through YouTube, he finds them - ‘The Premature Congratulations’. He hunts them down and offers them his management services. Accompanied by his long-term girlfriend, Shell (Vicky McClure), Dixie leaves the Welsh valleys and chases his dream to London, where he must convince the band that he’s the man to help them hit the big time.

Jonny Owen (medium) Featuring a cast of critically-acclaimed actors, Svengali stars Martin Freeman (The Office, Sherlock), BAFTA award-winning actress Vicky McClure (This is England, Broadchurch) Katy Brand, and Matt Berry, along with leading music figures like Alan McGeeand, Carl Barât and Jake Bugg.

Jonny Owen, who embarked on his acting career whilst still a History student at Swansea University, has appeared in some of the UK’s biggest TV shows, including Shameless, Torchwood, Murphy’s Law, and My Family. In 2006, Jonny was awarded a BAFTA Cymru for his documentary on the Aberfan disaster which he co-produced.

Speaking of his time at Swansea University, Jonny said: “Going to Swansea University was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. I absolutely loved it there. Swansea University will always have a big place in my heart”.

Sally Thurlow, Alumni Relations Manager at Swansea University, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that Jonny returned to his alma mater for the screening of his latest film, and that he found time to meet with students on campus prior to the screening, as well as to take part in the Q&A session afterwards.

“It is always a privilege to meet up with our alumni, many of whom have gone on to varied and successful careers across the world.’

Jonny Owen and Professor John  Spurr

Photo: Jonny Owen with Professor John Spurr, Head of the College of Arts and Humanities.

Professor John Spurr, Head of the College of Arts and Humanities at Swansea University, lead the Q&A session with Jonny Owen after the screening of Svengali at the Taliesin Arts Centre.

Professor Spurr, said: “It was wonderful to welcome Jonny back to Swansea, a History graduate who has made his mark in the Arts.  We are all proud of his achievements”.