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Gwledd Brings Welsh Language Back to Cinema Screens for the First Time in Three Years
Tuesday, 16th August, 2022

Gwledd (The Feast), a carnivorously chilling Welsh language horror film, will be released exclusively in cinemas on August 19th, via Picturehouse Entertainment. This will be the first Welsh language feature to screen to cinema audiences since the release of Welsh music documentary, Anorac in 2019.  

Set in mid-Wales, the film was driven by Welsh talent. Written by Roger Williams and directed by Lee Haven-Jones, it features prominent Welsh actors Nia Roberts and Julian Lewis Jones, as well as rising talents Steffan Cennydd and Annes Elwy.  

Elwy plays Cadi – a mysterious young woman that takes a job as a waitress for a wealthy family in the remote Welsh countryside, on the eve of an important dinner party. As the night progresses, she soon begins to challenge the family’s beliefs, unravelling the illusion they’ve created with slow and terrifying consequences.  

The release is significant for Wales, introducing Welsh language to new audiences globally whilst also meeting local demand from Welsh people, to watch stories in their native tongue. Traditionally, duel versions of a film have been requested in English. Solely in Welsh, Gwledd paves a steady path for new ways of working. This not only honours the Welsh language but holds the door open for further films to be made.

Roger Williams, writer of Gwledd explains:

“If we were to be quite bold about telling our stories on this big, big, screen, we could start to build the kind of culture where it’s not unusual to see Welsh language film in cinemas…” 

The film’s release is supported by Film Hub Wales’ Made in Wales (MIW) strand, which celebrates films with Welsh connections, building greater awareness of stories from real Welsh communities and helping to shape our cultural identity.  

Radha Patel, Made in Wales Officer at Film Hub Wales explains: 

“Welsh films help to shape the culture of Wales. The stories we tell on screen can have global reach – changing the way the world sees our country. It’s exciting to have a Welsh-language feature coming to local cinemas and communities again but this shouldn’t be an anomaly. Wales is home to a diverse nation of storytellers and Welsh audiences deserve to see more films representing their language, country and culture. We know that Gwledd can inspire new talent to make the films they want to see.” 

Through MIW, cinemas can screen a special interview with Roger Williams and Annes Elwy, along with a creative essay by freelancer writer and researcher Rosie Couch, which explores the political and environmental context of the film. FHW and Picturehouse have also worked together to ensure that Welsh cinemas will have access to Welsh-language posters, trailers, audio description and hard of hearing captions for Welsh-speaking d/Deaf and Disabled viewers.  

Made in Wales offers year-round activities in partnership with Welsh exhibitors, including a film catalogue which hosts over 600 shorts and features with Welsh connections. MIW is made possible thanks to direct support from Welsh Government via Creative Wales, along with support of the BFI Film Audience Network, awarding funds from the National Lottery. FAN offers support to exhibitors across the whole of the UK, to boost cultural programming and engage diverse audiences. Funds in Wales are administered by FHW via Chapter as the Film Hub Lead Organisation.  

More than £30M is raised each week for good causes across the UK by the National Lottery. 

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Download the full press release here.

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UK Cinemas build T.L.C for Trans-Led Stories on Screen
August 2022


A new series of events and podcasts from Inclusive Cinema called ‘T.L.C’ (Tender Loving Care for Trans-Led/Trans-Loved Cinema) are coming to UK screens.

From Orkney to London, cinemas, festivals and independent exhibitors will present film screenings, Q&As and panels on diverse topics related to trans visibility in cinema, thanks to support from the BFI Film Audience Network (BFI FAN) awarding National Lottery funding. These events will also be recorded live and made into podcasts.

T.L.C, supported by delivery partner, writer and activist So Mayer, aims to help address the historic imbalance of trans representation on screen. The events will be run by Milo Clenshaw, Alchemy Film & Arts (Hawick, Scotland), Lillian Crawford, Freelance Writer & Researcher (Manchester, England), Beatrice Copland, The Phoenix Cinema (Orkney, Scotland), Rebecca del Tufo, The Lexi Cinema (London, England) with additional podcast elements from Trans+ On Screen. Full events listings can be found on Inclusivecinema.org here.

Megan Mitchell, Inclusive Cinema Project Manager for BFI FAN explains:

‘There is ongoing underrepresentation of trans voices on-screen and by supporting trans led and trans focused projects like T.L.C, Inclusive Cinema hopes to help address this and inspire other film exhibitors to undertake similar events. Those who will be running events under the T.L.C banner have all come to the project with their own unique insights into what is lacking when it comes to trans voices within cinema, reflecting the diversity of lived experiences of trans people. T.L.C is also for audiences, we want trans audiences to feel safe within cinema settings and be able to recognise their own experiences in what is being programmed and what ends up on screen.’

The BFI FAN in a UK-wide network made up of national and regional Hubs which seek to ensure the greatest choice of cinema is available to everyone across the UK. Inclusive Cinema is part of BFI FAN and coordinated by Film Hub Wales.

More than £30M is raised each week for good causes across the UK by the National Lottery.

Download the full press release here


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New Trans Stories with Welsh Connections Coming to Cinemas in 2022
Wednesday, 13th July, 2022

With the support of Film Hub Wales’ (FHW) Made in Wales (MIW) project, two new films from Welsh talent, that follow the lives of Trans women in India and the USA, are coming to cinemas this year.

Donna’ and ‘Being Hijira’ are debut features from directors with roots in Wales, that tell international Trans led stories, at a pivotal time for Transgender communities.  

‘Donna’ which is distributed by Bohemia Media, is the debut feature of Welsh director Jay Bedwani. The film, which releases on July 15th 2022, tells the story of Donna Personna who first hit the stage with the legendary Cockettes. Now in her seventies, she is offered a chance to co-write a play about an overlooked episode in queer history – the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot, in which transgender women Donna knew, stood up against police harassment.  

Jay Bedwani, Director of ‘Donna’ spent five years travelling from Cardiff to California to document Donna’s story, and formed a life-long friendship in the process. He explains: 

 “I feel very privileged to bring the story of an older transgender woman onto Welsh screens. I hope Donna’s message and spirit will resonate with audiences as much as it does with me.” 

‘Being Hijra’, from West Wales based Director, Ila Mehrotra (Spring Films) which will release later this year, is a deeply personal, emotionally charged journey filmed over 6 years, which chronicles the pain and pride of Rudrani Chettri and the transgender community of New Delhi as they set about creating India’s first transgender model agency. 

 Ila Mehrotra explains: 

‘‘Developing the story of the often exoticized Hijra community in the most humane and relatable way has been an absolute pleasure. The support and interest from Film Hub Wales fills me with excited enthusiasm, to bring the film onto Welsh screens hoping it resonates humanly across the board.’’ 

Both films are supported by ‘Made in Wales’, a FHW project which celebrates films with Welsh connections, giving a platform to lesser known stories from Wales that represent real Welsh communities. FHW are working with Bohemia and Spring Films to ensure that audiences have the opportunity to hear from the Directors through exclusive interviews and build global solidarity with Trans audiences represented on screen, at their local independent cinema 

Later this year, audiences can also look forward to ‘T.L.C’ aka Tender Loving Care for Trans-Led/Trans-Loved Cinema – a series of special events exploring trans-led cinema releases from FHW’s Inclusive Cinema project.

Radha Patel, Made in Wales Officer at Film Hub Wales explains: 

“These documentaries mark an important cultural milestone. Filmmakers are often told that there is only room for ‘one marginalised story’ at a time. By breaking this trend, Welsh cinema sends an important message to Trans people, particularly young trans people, affirming their identifies and their right to self-determination.”

MIW offers a host of year-round activities in partnership with Welsh exhibitors, including a film catalogue which hosts over 600 shorts and features with Welsh connections.   

MIW is made possible thanks to funding from Creative Wales, along with support of the BFI Film Audience Network, awarding funds from the National Lottery. FAN offers support to exhibitors across the whole of the UK, to boost cultural programming and engage diverse audiences. Funds in Wales are administered by FHW via Chapter as the Film Hub Lead Organisation.  

More than £30M is raised each week for good causes across the UK by the National Lottery. 

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Download the full press release here.

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From Local to Global – Welsh Cinemas and Film Festivals Reconnect Audiences to the World in 2022 

June 2022

Film Hub Wales (FHW) has awarded £70,000 in National Lottery funding to 13 independent cinemas and film festivals in Wales through its Film Exhibition Fund.  

Funds will enable Welsh communities to reconnect through film whilst supporting their local venue. With unity in mind, screen stories from Wales and across the globe, plus special events and workshops will explore what it means to be Welsh post-Covid. 

Upcoming events include The Windrush Caribbean Festival, which will take place at the Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre in Newport this June, in partnership with Cinema Golau. As cinemas remain in a period of pandemic-related uncertainty, the festival will offer affordable film events, welcoming people back in to the venue to discover the story of Wales’ Windrush generation. 

Yvonne Connike explains what audiences can look forward to:  

“We have an intergenerational, edgy programme that tells the story of the Windrush community in the UK. Children and their families will enjoy animated features and shorts from Caribbean artists. There will also be a wonderful strand of shorts by Caribbean Women, some of whom are from Wales. The festival offers a great opportunity to bridge the conversation on all things Windrush, for past, present and future generations.” 

In Riverside Cardiff, Gentle/Radical are planning a doorstep revolution, by re-launching their hyper-local Film Club. They will reach out to local residents directly, enabling them to get involved in both international and Welsh film programming, meet their neighbours and explore how cinema can be a powerful cultural resource within day-to-day life.  

Rabab Ghazoul explains:  

“We’re incredibly excited to launch community screenings once again in the heart of our local neighbourhood of Riverside. Pre-Covid we had plans to explore street-based screenings in the area but those plans were put on hold. So, we’re looking forward to finally trialling this model, exploring the appetite amongst our residents to meet for street-based screenings, bringing neighbours living in close proximity to enjoy film, food and conversation together.” 

From international film festivals, to rural cinema networks, this year’s FHW-funded projects are socially conscious and bold; ambitious in their endeavour to promote an inclusive Welsh identity through the communal space of cinema.  

Hana Lewis, Strategic Manager for Film Hub Wales explains: 

“The world is rapidly changing and this is reflected in the stories we seek out on screen. The projects that we’re supporting in 2022 explore how we see ourselves in the context of these changes. From hyperlocal place-based screenings that bring people together on their streets, to Wales’ relationship with Africa, or the invaluable contributions that the Windrush generation made to life in Wales. Cinemas are helping communities to heal and enjoy again but also to discover who we are as Welsh people in a global context.”

The projects are supported by Film Hub Wales, part of the BFI Film Audience Network using funds from the National Lottery to ensure the greatest choice of cinema is available to everyone across the UK. 

The BFI FAN Film Exhibition Fund is made possible thanks to National Lottery funding from the BFI (British Film Institute) via its Film Audience Network (FAN). The fund offers reopening support to exhibitors across the whole of the UK, to ensure the greatest choice of cinema is available to all. Funds in Wales are administered by FHW via Chapter as the Film Hub Lead Organisation. 

More than £30M is raised each week for good causes across the UK by the National Lottery.

 

Download the full press release here

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Film Hub Wales Call for Advisory Members 2022

Film Hub Wales (FHW) is looking for experienced individuals who can bring new skills to our existing advisory group, to support us through future planning phases. We would welcome individuals and / or representatives from organisations from across Wales, or beyond, where the individual has experience of Welsh culture. 

The group will represent the interests of the region’s Hub members, work with the Hub management team to inform future strategy and act as an advocate for the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN). 

Members would be expected to attend four meetings per year (one per quarter). The team may request an infrequent sub-group meeting where circumstances require.

Key priorities for FHW: 

  • Film exhibitors, including community representatives. Please see our members list for examples, 
  • Equity and inclusion, 
  • Young audiences and/or life-long learning, 
  • Fundraising experience, 
  • Marketing and PR specialists, 
  • Strategy and policy, 
  • Research and data capture, 
  • Welsh culture.

How to apply

  • See downloads below.
  • Please read the FHW Advisory Group Terms of Reference (TOR).
  • Send a completed Advisory Group EOI Form with you your CV and Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form to hana@filmhubwales.org by Monday 4th July 2022.

Candidates may be invited to meet following submission of the EOI.

For information, our existing advisory members can be found on our website here.

If you have any questions prior to submission, please contactFHW Strategic ManagerHana Lewis on hana@filmhubwales.org or02920 353740.

These documents have been optimised for accessibility.

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Eight Welsh Films coming to Cinemas in 2022
Thursday, 13th January 

From anticipated Welsh language horror, Gwledd, set in the hills of Snowdonia, to the transgender community of New Delhi in documentary Hijra – eight eclectic films are set to bring Welsh talent and stories to the big screen in 2022. 

The eight films offer audiences a chance to discover something new about Wales, from unknown local Welsh stories such as the fight to save The Lyric cinema in Carmarthen (Save the Cinema), through to global narratives of the African National Congress told through the eyes of Welsh storytellers like Gordon Main and John Giwa-Amu (London Recruits). 

Hana Lewis, Film Hub Wales’ Strategic Manager explains: 

”The upcoming films highlight that there is plenty to be discovered about life in Wales, beyond our rural landscape. Welsh filmmakers have globally significant stories to tell, which can inspire both new talent and local audiences. Through Made in Wales, we have a chance to consider how the films made in our Nation can give us a voice worldwide and build the film industry around us. Greater awareness of these films can only benefit our sense of community and cultural identity.” 

Through their Made in Wales strandFilm Hub Wales (FHW) are working with distributors, Welsh cinemas and film festivals to promote the films to wider audiences. As venues work to recover from the pandemic, many filmmakers hope that audiences go to see these films on the big screen as they were intended. 

Roger Williams, writer of Gwledd explains:

“If we were to be quite bold about telling our stories on this big, big, screen, we could start to build the kind of culture where it’s not unusual to see Welsh language film in cinemas…” 

Wales is an increasingly exciting place for film, with scripts attracting actors such as Rebel Wilson (The Almond and the Seahorse) and Samantha Morton (Save the Cinema) to leading roles and these are just a selection of titles anticipated in 2021. FHW tracked and supported 27 films with Welsh connections between 2019 and 2020 alone 

Delphine Lievens, Head of Distribution at Bohemia Media adds:

“We’re really delighted to be bringing Donna to audiences across the UK later this year. Donna is such a unique and inspiring figure, and so authentically portrayed by the talented Welsh filmmaking team behind the film.” 

Audiences can keep up to date with news of the upcoming releases on the Made in Wales section of Film Hub Wales’ website or by following @Filmhubwales on social media. 

Made in Wales is made possible thanks to funding from Creative Wales along with National Lottery funding through the UK-wide BFI Film Audience Network (FAN). As part of FAN, Film Hub Wales develops audiences for British independent and international film year-round, funds in Wales are administered by FHW via Chapter as the Film Hub Lead Organisation.  
 
More than £30M is raised each week for good causes across the UK by the National Lottery. 

Download the full press release here

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Community Run Cinema Events Reconnect Welsh Neighbourhoods Post Covid

10th November 2021

In village halls, libraries, rural arts centres and urban community spaces across Wales, community and volunteer run cinema events are reuniting local people safely through big screen experiences.

The 120 plus community run cinema groups in Wales are often lifelines for audiences who have to travel over half an hour by car, or far greater distances by public transport, to reach their local multiplex or arts centre.  

To support these crucial community services, Film Hub Wales (FHW) is working with venues to offer programme and marketing support. They have also awarded a series of small grants through the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) Film Exhibition Fund, awarding National Lottery funding, to Welsh community led cinemas and film societies as they reopen post COVID-19. 

Funds will be used to help bring the best UK and international films back to local people, in the neighbourhood cinemas they know and love, including a host of films from Wales. Exhibitors will support wellbeing and reduce isolation created by the pandemic, particularly for older community members who have felt less confident in returning to public events. Community cinemas, who will also be affected by the new COVID pass regulations in Wales, will equally rely on the support and patience of audiences in coming months as they rebuild.

In the village of Brynamman, on the south side of the Black Mountain, The Public Hall Cinema are running a season of Welsh film, enabling their audiences to relate to stories on screen.

General Manager Tom Smith explains:

“Our cinema is in a rural, low income, area and for the majority of our customers, it’s the only venue they’re able to regularly access for entertainment. We planning to show films that were filmed or set in Wales, with relevant stories that are close to home and relatable for our audience, particularly our loyal over 60s group who visit for Silver Screen Presentations. We’re excited at the prospect of introducing independent film to all of our customers, who may not have had the opportunity to ever watch an independent film at the cinema before.” 

In Llansadwrn, Carmarthenshire, Sinema Sadwrn are showing British independent and international films every month.

Sinema Sadwrn Volunteer Mair Craig adds:

“We’re looking forward to reopening, with Covid restrictions in place, so that people can come together after all this time to enjoy a shared experience. We’re based in a rural village in Carmarthenshire, and we’ve really missed our community get-togethers over the past year and a half. Our venue is a cosy village Reading Room and our screenings are a way to safely ease the community back into regular social events. We’re really grateful to have Film Hub Wales’ support.”

Supported events will run across Wales from now until March 2022, as the cinemas work closely with their audiences to gather feedback and adapt to local needs.  
 

Hana Lewis, Strategic Manager of Film Hub Wales adds:

Non-theatrical venues who are screening from DVD or Blu-Ray, smaller venues in rural areas and independent cinemas in urban locations have remained closed for long periods of time during Covid. Many are run by dedicated volunteers and have been unable to access funds or staff to remain open. They’ve been greatly missed and we wanted to support and celebrate their return. They’re not only offering an eclectic range of films that local audiences would otherwise be unable to see but they’re often home to a range of additional, vital, community services.”

 The BFI FAN Film Exhibition Fund is made possible thanks to National Lottery funding from the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN). The fund offers reopening support to exhibitors across the whole of the UK, to boost cultural programming and engage diverse audiences as restrictions ease. Funds in Wales are administered by FHW via Chapter as the Film Hub Lead Organisation. 

More than £30M is raised each week for good causes across the UK by the National Lottery.

Download the full Press Release here.

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‘The Whole Story’ – New Platform Champions Welsh Film

09th September 2021

Film Hub Wales (FHW) have launched a new series of interviews, podcasts and more, designed to celebrate films with Welsh connections.

First to feature are interviews with talent behind new releases Censor and The Toll. The Whole Story, which is part of Film Hub Wales’ Made in Wales strand, works in collaboration with the filmmakers and distributors to draw attention to the stories behind the screen as they reach festivals and cinemas.

As independent venues continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the aim is to boost the profile of Welsh films and encourage audiences to return to the cinema.

Hana Lewis, Film Hub Wales’ Strategic Manager, said:

“We believe that Welsh films should be recognised world-wide and the best place to see them is at our local cinema or festival. We’re exploring what ‘Welshness’ means to audiences by looking behind the stories behind the screen, from the experiences of cinema programmers, to female Directors and beyond. It’s crucial that independent films with Welsh connections are visible, to maximise investment for the screen sector, to ensure hidden voices are heard and also to develop international perception of Wales.”

The Whole Story also aims to support and inspire Welsh talent. Promoting opportunities on offer in Wales, can help to close skills gaps not just in production but in film marketing, journalism, programming and sales – which are equally as crucial to give Welsh films every chance of success.

Aberystwyth born Director of Censor, Prano Bailey-Bond explains:

“The support I’ve had from Wales in making and releasing my debut feature, from organisations, cinemas and audiences, has been both immense and essential. It’s an incredibly exciting time for Welsh creators and wonderful that Film Hub Wales are throwing a spotlight on us. I hope it will further highlight the creative potential bubbling in the country, and give Welsh audiences even more to enjoy and be proud of.”

Screen Writer of The Toll, Matt Redd from Haverfordwest adds:

“Wales is quickly becoming a world-renowned hub for film and television production, but as a filmmaker born in and living in Wales, I’m mostly excited by the opportunity to tell Welsh stories that find a universality in the specificity of Welsh life. Made in Wales offers a fantastic platform for Welsh stories to connect with a local audience, building momentum in a film’s journey to audiences across the globe.”

Ben Luxford, Head of UK Audiences at the BFI said:

“Film Hub Wales’ The Whole Story will offer audiences fantastic insight into Welsh films and filmmakers. Thanks to National Lottery players, the BFI is not only supporting the whole series, but also helped to fund the making of both Censor and The Toll.”

Exhibitors will be able to access assets created through The Whole Story, to spark conversation with their audiences about Welsh films and generate anticipation for new releases. As part of the Made in Wales programme, there are also a host of other year-round activities from preview screenings for film programmers to inclusion in the FHW film catalogue which hosts over 1000 shorts and features with Welsh connections.

Made in Wales is made possible thanks to Creative Wales and National Lottery funding from the British Film Institute (BFI), via its Film Audience Network (FAN). Film Hub Wales develops audiences for British independent and international film year-round via Chapter as the Film Hub Lead Organisation.

The National Lottery raises £36 million each week for good causes across the UK.

Audiences can follow the latest Made in Wales news on the FHW website or via @filmhubwales on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Download the full Press Release here

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Film Hub Wales awards over £50,000 to help cinemas and festivals reunite Welsh communities through film
13th July 2021

Film Hub Wales (FHW) has awarded £52,700 in National Lottery funding, through the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) Film Exhibition Fund, to 8 Welsh independent cinemas and film festivals as they reopen post Covid 19. For some this will be the first time the doors have opened since March 2020.

Funds will be used to help bring the best UK and international films back to the big screen in Welsh communities. Exhibitors will support wellbeing and reduce isolation created by the pandemic, offering audiences affordable, accessible events both online and in the local cinemas they know and love. From missed movies strands, to neurodiverse Welsh animation, communities will play a key role in the shaping the return of cinema.

At Theatr Gwaun in Fishguard, they have been busy making over both the film programme and the building, with the help of the community. Audiences can expect an updated space, including Martha’s café, along with brand-new activities for young visitors.

Sue Whitbread, CEO of Theatr Gwaun explains:

The award from Film Hub Wales means that we will be able to open our doors again in July as promised to our community.  Theatr Gwaun is the only film exhibitor servicing rural North Pembrokeshire and a vital source of entertainment. Having installed all Covid precautionary measures, we are ready to welcome back our audience to a safe, friendly environment. 

Our new Community Film Panel has developed a refreshed programme that includes more independent film, Welsh language and event films nights with guest presenters and local hospitality. Young people have also been encouraged to have their say through POINT PRESENTS, a monthly film night. We have developed our new daytime cafe and event space, Martha’s, which will feature archive film collated by the community. The building is also getting a makeover this summer with a major new community mural.

In Blaenau Ffestiniog, CellB are bringing the world to their audiences’ doorsteps, through film, via their youth led ‘Sinema’r Byd programme.’ Over 50 British and international films for all ages will explore culture and climate change, which audiences can enjoy in the brand new Sgrin 2.

Rhys Roberts, owner of CellB says:

Our young hosts will welcome and greet, inform and advise, laugh and listen to our young and old audiences. We’ll create a Welsh welcome like no other as our audiences return to Cellb and experience the brand new Sgrin 2 set up as a place for all of our community to come together to watch films.

With Covid restrictions set for review in mid-July, sites across Wales are working hard to navigate safe and viable reopening.

Hana Lewis, Strategic Manager of Film Hub Wales explains:

It’s a huge milestone to reopen to the public and cinemas and festivals have worked tirelessly to make this happen. There is a challenging road ahead as we rebuild and cinemas need the support of audiences now more than ever but this is a moment to look forward and recover from time spent apart. Highly anticipated films are releasing and exhibitors are set to entertain us but thanks to their community focus, we all have a chance to play an active part in the future of cinema.

The BFI FAN Film Exhibition Fund is made possible thanks to National Lottery funding from the British Film Institute (BFI), via its Film Audience Network (FAN). The fund offers reopening support to exhibitors across the whole of the UK, to boost cultural programming and engage diverse audiences as restrictions ease. Funds in Wales are administered by FHW via Chapter as the Film Hub Lead Organisation.

The National Lottery raises £36 million each week for good causes across the UK.

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Download the Press Release

Images/Delweddau – left to right: Off Y Grid and Wicked Wales, Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival, Cardiff Animation Festival © Mission Photographic, Pontardawe Arts Centre, CellB – Sgrin 2, Theatr Gwaun July Reopening, WOW “Wales One World” Film Festival

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200,000+ Free cinema tickets available for film fans this weekend

The National Lottery welcomes back film fans with free tickets to over 500 cinemas across the UK on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 June for National Lottery Cinema Weekend 

Edith Bowman and directors Dexter Fletcher and Prano Bailey-Bond share their excitement for this support for cinema as anyone who plays The National Lottery  can claim a free pair of tickets at www.cinemaweekend.co.uk

Wednesday 16 June 2021: Over 200,000 free cinema tickets are available to film fans this weekend (Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 June), as a thank you to National Lottery players for their vital contribution  to film.  

The National Lottery Cinema Weekend, in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI), will take place  at more than 500 cinema sites across the UK, including Cineworld, Odeon, Vue and other chains and  independent cinemas from Thurso to Penzance, and from Coleraine to Cardiff. 

Players can use any National Lottery ticket, instant win game or scratchcard bought online or in retail (T&Cs apply) to claim a free pair of tickets to use at participating cinemas at www.cinemaweekend.co.uk

This National Lottery Cinema Weekend, there’s something for everyone to see; from BFI National Lottery  funded independent films like After Love starring Joanna Scanlan and British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) winning documentary The Reason I Jump, to blockbusters like the musical In the Heights, Disney’s  Cruella and horror A Quiet Place Part II, as well as BAFTA and Oscar® winning drama The Father starring  Sir Anthony Hopkins. 

Edith Bowman, broadcaster and spokesperson for the campaign, said:

As someone who loves the  experience of watching films with other people, I’ve missed going to the cinema massively over this past  year. Once the lights go down and the film starts playing on the big screen, everything else fades and  you’re immersed into the beautiful world of that particular story, the filmmaker’s vision, the characters,  the music – the communal experience is escapism in its purest form and provokes such wonderful  conversation. I’m so excited about this amazing initiative from The National Lottery and the BFI and really  hope film fans across the UK embrace this wonderful opportunity to support their local cinema.

Dexter Fletcher, director of films such as Eddie The Eagle and the BAFTA-nominated Elton John biopic  Rocketman, received National Lottery support through the BFI earlier in his career for the Scottish musical  Sunshine On Leith. Dexter said: “I’ll always be grateful and appreciative to the BFI and the National Lottery  players for the support and funding they gave to the making of Sunshine On Leith. Low budget films are  the launch pad for aspiring film makers and enable new and experimental visionaries to come through,  get their start and make their mark on a larger stage. Sunshine On Leith was an important stepping stone  in my own journey as a director and the BFI and National Lottery helped make that possible. “

Welsh director Prano-Bailey Bond has experienced the benefits of the impact of National Lottery funding  directly. Prano, who makes psychological horrors, was one of the emerging filmmakers chosen to be part  of a BFI professional development programme that runs alongside with the BFI London Film Festival in  2017. Her debut feature film, Censor, which was backed by the BFI and Ffilm Cymru Wales using funds  from the National Lottery, will be in cinemas later this year. Prano said:

The BFI has been incredibly  supportive and I couldn’t have made Censor without their support. Having watched filmmakers I hugely  admire come up through the BFI, such as Lynne Ramsay (the acclaimed Scottish director of films such as  Morvern Callar and We Need to Talk About Kevin) and Sarah Gavron (director of recent BAFTA winner  Rocks), it’s a dream to have had this backing for my debut feature. Thank you to all National Lottery  players!”

Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff is one of the venues taking part in National Lottery Cinema Weekend and  knows first-hand the support the National Lottery gives to cinemas all year round. Claire Vaughan,  Cinema Programme Manager at Chapter Arts Centre, said: “The past year has been particularly  challenging for independent cinemas as we had to close the doors and sometimes repurpose our venues  for other types of essential community work. As one of the lead organisations for the BFI’s UK-wide Film  Audience Network, the wonderful team here at Film Hub Wales was able to support venues with  emergency funding at the start of the pandemic and offer additional support to engage a diverse range  of audiences as restrictions began to ease. It’s wonderful to be able to repay National Lottery players for  their generosity this weekend and give them a chance to see some fantastic films. We look forward to  welcoming them!” 

Ben Roberts, Chief Executive at the BFI, said: “Thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players we’re  able to support bold filmmakers, film education and training, the cinemas that mean so much to local  communities, and enable UK audiences to see a wide range of films. Over the past year so many of us  have missed that special communal experience of watching film on the big screen, so what better way to  say ‘thank you’ than a free trip to the cinema! ” 

The National Lottery has funded the making of more than 600 films, including award-winning and  commercial hits across the years such as Bend it Like Beckham, The King’s Speech and, more recently,  seven-time BAFTA nominee Rocks. The funded films combined have won 15 Oscars®, 109 BAFTAs and 29  awards at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.  

As a result of the money raised by The National Lottery for good causes, the BFI invests over £50 million  a year to develop and support authentic UK filmmakers and films, enriching independent film culture with  their original voices.  

The National Lottery Cinema Weekend is part of a wealth of activity in June to thank National Lottery  players for contributing over £30 million each week to good causes across the UK. 

Players of all National Lottery games must be aged 18 or over.  

Participating cinemas in Wales: 

Maxime Blackwood 

Odeon Bridgend 

Brynamman Public Hall

Chapter Arts Centre 

Odeon Cardiff 

Showcase Cardiff Nantgarw 

Vue Cardiff 

Vue Carmarthen 

Vue Cwmbran 

Odeon Llanelli 

Vue Merthyr 

Reel Port Talbot 

Scala Cinema, Prestatyn 

Vue Rhyl 

Odeon Swansea 

Vue Swansea 

Odeon Wrexham Eagles Meadow 

-ENDS 

Download the full press release

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