The filmmaker who has captured Wales’ stunning European Championships last summer has emotionally spoken about how he had to rush to complete the film because his father was dying.
Jonny Owen raced against the clock to finish movie Don’t Take Me Home to fulfil dad Brian’s dying wish to watch the film.
Brian was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer while Jonny was editing the tale of Gareth Bale and Co’s voyage to the semi-finals in France.
But Wales mega-fan Jonny managed to quickly complete the specially made DVD to allow his dad to watch it on his bed – days before he passed away aged 78.
“He was diagnosed eight weeks ago with aggressive terminal cancer,” said Jonny. “He faced it with his usual mixture of courage and humour that he faced his whole life.
“You never heard him complain. He was totally insistent on me finishing the film as I had to as I was on a deadline to get it out for St David’s Day, but as he deteriorated I tried to spend as much time with him as I could.
“That meant working through the night sometimes so I could get back to see him, stay the night with him and all day with him, as much as I could.
“He managed to see the film. He was very ill at that point but I managed to get it on DVD for him. He saw it the night of the Welsh premiere in Nantgarw.
“I went to the premiere and then I drove back to my parents’ house in Merthyr and lay next to him in bed, like Morecambe and Wise we were in a pair of dressing gowns.
“He was a huge Welsh football fan and used to go and watch Wales away in the ‘50s. All his life he was a Merthyr Town and Wales fan.
“He said to me, ‘it’s really important to me that you finish the film’. I respected that and was able to finish it and he was able to see it before he passed away.”
Jonny said that he wanted to keep his dad’s diagnosis secret. People only discovered news of his death from a tribute paid to him on the closing credits to the film which reads: “In memory of my dear father Brian Thomas Owen – a lifelong Wales football fan.”
“It was important for me to keep it under wraps as I didn’t want anybody to think that I was in anyway trying to play any sort of sympathy card, as I wanted to get the film out and for it to be judged on its own merits.
“I was very aware that I had to have a moving tribute to Gary Speed at the top of the film, but I did want to mention my father by name. It was because of him that I have a love of football and a great love of the Welsh national football team.”