Berlin Film Festival 2018 (WIDF)

David Evans, Festival Director of Wales International Documentary Festival, attended the Berlin Film Festival 2018, in February 2018 – read about his experience below. 

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This Way Up 2017 (TAPE)

Neil Dunshire from TAPE Community Music and Film attended the 2017 This Way Up Conference. Here’s more about his experience:

“This Way Up was a really great experience for myself and my organisation. It was a really inspirational 2 days with great speakers and panels. It’s the first time I have attended a This Way Up event and unsure how much I was going to take away from the event.  As it turned out it was hard to know what to choose to go along to once it got started as there was so much that was relevant to our charity. I took pages of notes from some sessions and refer back to them still on a regular basis. The 2 days have influenced change in my organisation from the new business plan to decisions on flooring!  Was really useful to hear the similarities and differences in people’s experiences during and outside of the sessions as well.  I would definitely recommend attending to anyone thinking of going along to the next event.”

Neil’s Top five things he learned:

  1.  A better understanding of the wider cinema community and a knowledge of other working practices.
  2. More confidence in curation decisions.
  3. Accessibility options that can easily be applied to the venue and longer term options.
  4. Contacts and networking opportunities.
  5. Opportunities for archive film.
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Sustainability Seminars 2017 (Moviola)

Moviola is a nationwide community cinema organisation with many members in Wales. In July 2017 they ran six Sustainability Seminars across the UK, with the aim to collect experiences and ideas to inform a Sustainability Action Plan and a ‘Good Practice in the Moviola Family Guide’ to distribute across their network.

Film Hub Wales supported a seminar in Wales at Llanfair Kilgeddin Village Hall. Here are Moviola’s Phill Walkley highlights from the seminars:

“Headline figures can disguise a wide variation in the performance of venues – an average of 51 people per show. One fascinating finding is that there is no correlation between the size of a community and the size of audience attracted by its community cinema.  A wide range of other critical success factors are in play.”

“The main aim of the seminars was to compile a Sustainability Action Plan that could be used by individual venues to build their audiences and hence their long term sustainability. The success of this would have a knock-on effect in Moviola’s relationship with film distributors. The smaller distributors themselves have issues of sustainability. Thus sustainability has a much greater reach in its importance than just the simple issue of numbers at shows.”

“Sustainability can be broken down into three categories: Finance, Human Resources, and Audience and Film Industry”.

        Representatives from community cinemas in Radyr, Llanfair Kilgeddin, Llancarfan, Penallt, Usk, Cowbridge and The Narth were in attendance. The day was rated 5* for usefulness.


                             To read the findings click on the links below or contact Moviola:

Strengths Of Community Cinema

Issues Facing Community Cinemas

46 Ways To Improve Your Community Cinema​



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Sheffield Doc/Fest (Gentle / Radical)

Radha Patel attended Sheffield Doc/Fest on behalf of Gentle/Radical in June, 2017, read about her visit/experience below. 

“This was the first film festival I’d attended and it was an incredible experience. I felt privileged to have had access to exciting, relevant films, and to be able to bring many of them home to the audiences of the film club.

One of the things that really excited and impressed me was the platforming and position of female film makers. It’s incredibly refreshing that time is taken to curate film screenings made by women who are largely ignored in the film industry. I was particularly excited to meet director Lana Wilson, who I greatly admire.”

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WNO Wizard Of Oz 2017 (Wicked Young Programmers)

In September, 2017, Wicked Young Programmers, Lacey Small, Scarlett and Natasha, spent the day at the Welsh National Opera‘s screening of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ interviewing audience members, to create this short film below with Liam Martin


Wicked Young Programmers was created in partnership with Wicked International Youth Film Festival as part of the BFI Young FAN project. Wicked links up with students in their rural local area of Rhyl to offer them the chance to to run the Wicked Cinema and gain skills to have a job in the media industry.          


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Dementia Friendly Screenings Review 2017 (Cecilia McAleavey)

Cecilia McAleavey, 61, Radyr, Cardiff explains why dementia-friendly screenings are so important for her mother.

Cinemas across the UK recognised World Alzheimer’s Month, with dementia friendly cinema events throughout September 2017 and beyond.The movement was led by Film Hub Wales with film screenings supported by the eight BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) Hubs across the UK, who provide dementia-friendly guidance, training and support to cinema operators.

On September 22, 2017, Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff, organised a day of film, information sessions, awareness raising and more to celebrate World Alzheimer’s Month, which included a dementia-friendly screening of ‘The Sound of Music’, with warm up by Goldies choir and an interval with tea and biscuits.

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Cultural Cinema Exhibition 2017​ (Off Y Grid)

Silvia Sheenan, Off Y Grid’s Coordinator (to 2017) attended the ICO Cultural Cinema Exhibition course in 2017. Here’s how she got on:

The course was an widespread overview of cinema exhibition, consisting of several different sessions covering topics such as distribution, exhibition, commercial programming, curatorial, marketing, programming for your audience, finding audiences, festivals, diversity and much more.

I learnt that there are several things worth keeping in mind when promoting titles in the future. Creating partnerships with media outlets is important, this can include freelance journalists, and even local businesses and community groups. This is especially relevant in North Wales due to a spread out population so it makes sense to join forces in the local area.

Market research is important. Explore the venue with customers eyes to understand the customer journey, demographics, programme, physical space, ease of booking – being honest about what can be done immediately, in the future, or not at all.

There are nuances to targeting to audiences. Striking the balance of providing specific, strand-based content, whilst also growing audiences and encouraging more diverse or ‘risky’ viewings.

When considering programming you can use archive and AMI films to complement and diversify existing programme, being creative, providing context, blending with the curatorial.

Silvia’s Top Four Elements of the Course

1. Collaboration essential to bring in new audiences – online discussion, guest speakers, partnerships.
2. Finding themes and connections as a way to introduce new films to your audience, prioritise cultural diversity.
3. Being subjective and personal can be a way to ‘defend’ specialist choices- this could help with OYG screenings- perhaps having ambassadors or individual voices to champion certain features (relates to the importance of recommendations).
4. Using surveys, print and email, making sure questions are relevant, offering refreshments as incentives, sharing information and demonstrating how you’ve implemented it.
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ICO Screening Day 2017 (Magic Lantern)

Sara Waddington attended the ICO Screening Days on behalf of The Magic Lantern Cinema in November 2017, read about her experience below. 



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Wicked Cinema at Rhyl Little Theatre 2017 (Rhiannon Wyn Hughes)

Rhiannon Wyn Hughes from Wicked 17 International Youth Film Festival explains how they got cinema running at Rhyl Little Theatre for the first time in over 50 years with a weekend of Sci-Fi classics.

The monthly cinema has become a permanent fixture in the Rhyl calendar. 

“When we started programming films for the Festival last year, we found it difficult and limiting working with full-time cinemas. They were expensive to hire, but even more importantly the windows of opportunities to screen extra films around their regular programming was limiting. This was unresponsive to our festival’s needs. We also needed to hire the equipment from South Wales.

Then we got in contact with The Little Theatre, which offered an affordable and flexible venue. They were also keen to see films screened again after a gap of over 50 years.”


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Destination Unknown 2017 (Pontio)

On 21st June 2017, Pontio hosted a Q&A with Welsh producer Llion Roberts on his new critically acclaimed feature documentary Destination Unknown, a collection of powerful interviews with the last Holocaust survivors. This is the first in a season of season of Welsh films this year at Pontio, supported by our Made in Wales strategy. Here, Pontio’s Cinema Co-ordinator Emyr Glyn Williams talks about the screening:

“As a programmer, it is always exciting to hear about Welsh filmmakers with a film ready for screening. Initially this was the reason to investigate Destination Unknown as the film’s producer and main creative force, Llion Roberts, is based locally. 

Pretty soon it became clear that this was no ordinary film, and Llion was no ordinary film maker. You could say that Destination Unknown is a labour of love as Llion’s background is more rooted in satellite technology and equipment hire services than traditional film production. However, that would give you the wrong impression of what the finished film actually is. It took Llion 15 years to make this film and I have no hesitation in calling him a film artist on the strength of this production.

Another strong reason to screen the film was the unique ability cinema has in successfully transmitting certain stories and histories to the audience.  At times, this film is overwhelmingly harrowing and something that a normal television screening could never contain. Some human stories need to be communicated communally in a shared space; in a space of togetherness and stories from the Holocaust are such stories. In fact, I would actively encourage other cinemas in Wales to book this film for this precise reason – its natural home is in the cinema.”

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Film Hub Wales - Tech Skills
Technical Skills for BAMER Women 2017 (Gentle/Radical)

In September 2017 Rabab Ghazoul, the director ofGentle/Radical organised technical training for BAME women via the ICO Technical Skills for Digital Exhibition, led by Faye Chamberlain of Chapter Arts Centre.

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Dragon Theatre
Rural Community Cinema Event (2017)

Eiko Meredith from Kotatsu Animation Festival and Allison Williams from Dragon Theatre, Barmouth share their experiences of the annual Film Hub Wales Rural and Community Cinema event:

Eiko Meredith: 

“This was my second time attending and I really enjoyed it. Kotatsu festival is bit different from the community cinema, still there are lots of things I learned from the event and meeting new people. Always great to see people who love films, so passionate about hosting the screenings! I have to start watching more films!!

All speakers are great, I really found Toby and Neil from Moviola were great. They explained really well about lots of things such rights, how to track films which we tend to have a problem with.

It is very interesting to hear how hard it is to host a successful screening for children, family. As a mother of two, I would like to point out if people are used to coming to a community centre, I am sure these film screenings can be more successful:

  • Does your community centre host playgroup for children?
  • Can you do some other family events to make people come to the venue?
  • What about second child get little bit of discount for the ticket? Or stamp card, say every time you go to the screening and collect one stamp, if you get 10 stamps one free screening?
  • What about the kettle and hot water for the bottle for the baby?
  • Can you offer nice breast feeding area for women to feed during the film so nobody is staring at you?
  • Any cushions or soft mat for some tired children and baby to lie down and watch?

Just little bit extra, it doesn’t have to be expensive and can bring more people to the screening, and they might come back again in the future.

Allison Williams:

“This is the second time I have attended the Rural Community Cinema Conference in the wonderful setting of Hay on Wye in Richard Booth’s envy-inducing Bookshop Cinema.  The event provides a great opportunity to network with other venues and societies – always fascinating to hear their stories of what films have worked for them and share the important issues, such as how much to charge for a glass of wine!

At this year’s conference it was especially interesting to hear about the Into Film project and to meet the Young Programmers – really inspiring in terms of how it will help us move towards encouraging more young people to be involved with the Dragon Theatre, as audience and event promoters.

During the event I spoke a few words to the conference about the Cinegi Arts & Film project, explaining how we had piloted a few events and were looking forward to running more in the future. Some other groups had shown Cinegi titles and others were about to, so it was good to share experiences.”

I always come away from these events buzzing with ideas.

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