Organisation: CellB (Blaenau Ffestiniog)
Gwallgofiaid Cellb re-connected audiences in Blaenau Ffestiniog to the wider world, post Covid-19, by exploring culture and climate change on screen. They aimed to create a safe space where the community could travel the world through film, at affordable prices. With over 50 international films for young audiences, families and pensioners and 25 special screenings of international films for youths 12-16 years of age. As a youth led enterprise, they worked to expand access to the arts for young people in Blaenau but also supported their older audiences through regular accessible screenings, forums and take away-packs to keep the community connected.
Organisation: Kotatsu Animation Film Festival
Kotatsu Japanese animation festival returned for its 11th season, post Covid-19, with a mixture of screenings online as well as in Chapter, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and a new partnership with Cardiff Library, where they hosted Japan-Anime related workshops. The programme included feature films such as Akira, Evangelion and Ongaku. The aim was to re-engage with the audience, bringing Japanese Animation to the widest possible audience in Wales, increasing awareness of Japan’s animation film industry. As 2021 was designated UK Japan Season of Culture to coincide with the Olympics in Tokyo, it also offered a chance to celebrate wider Japanese culture on screen.
Organisation: Off Y Grid
8 venues based across North Wales (CellB, Galeri, Neuadd Dwyfor, Neuadd Ogwen, Pontio, Tape, Ty Pawb [73 Cinema] and Dragon Theatr) worked together throughout the year to develop audiences for British and independent film across the region, with a focus on affordable cinema for rural audiences. Concentrating on health and wellbeing as audiences returned to the cinema, the programme included heart-warming films, a missed movies strand and outreach screenings in care homes and day centres. They also focused on marketing strategy to support returning audiences across the participating venues.
Organisation: Pontardawe Film Club / Arts Centre
As a pilot reopening, with Covid safety measures in place, Pontardawe Film Club and Arts Centre screened 3 films during the summer to film club members, followed by monthly screenings as the cinema reopened. They created a video tool for audiences to navigate their return to the venue and a marketing campaign / strategy for independent film to broaden membership. The pilot acted as a springboard for the Film Club to relaunch in September with a programme of on-going film activity.
Organisation: Theatr Gwaun (Fishguard)
Theatr Gwaun is a community owned and run cinema located in the heart of rural Pembrokeshire. It plays an important role, giving local access to diverse film entertainment for those who find it challenging to travel further afield due to cost, mobility and other social issues. They reopened as a cinema in July 2021 in response to demand from the community, offering a refreshed tailored film programme of 24 socially distanced screenings per month. Many new features were added to their website in order to promote the film programme and encourage people throughout the community to get involved. New activities included a community film panel, screenings for people who live alone and a partnership with POINT (a major youth support organisation).
Organisation: WOW Film Festival
WOW delivered a ‘blended’ festival in March 2022 that combined live ‘in cinema’ activity in Aberystwyth with a UK-wide online offer. In preparation, WOW piloted a small ‘blended’ event in Autumn 2021 enabling them to review the best approach alongside their carbon footprint.
The Autumn event consisted of three in cinema films, including a family film suitable for the WOW Film Club members, and one with a panel discussion. WOW also offered three films online via Eventive to a UK-wide audience, with a panel event live streamed to audiences at home.
This event gave WOW the chance to reconnect with their loyal Aberystwyth audience who they hadn’t seen in the cinemas since 2019 and time to undertake outreach work to reconnect with BIPOC Film Club members.
Organisation: Wales Youth Festival Network
WYFN works with Welsh film festivals and venues to create opportunities for young film enthusiasts in Wales. In 2021, 3 – 4 Welsh festivals received tailored support from the network. WYFN also continued to develop Ffilm Ifanc: a group of young programmers who advised the festivals, ensuring that young voices reach both industry and audiences. The funding also established a small WYFN steering group of 5-6 festivals that meet three times a year to develop the network based on equality and shared ownership.
The Wales Youth Festival Network is led by Wicked Wales.
Organisation: Cardiff Animation Festival
From May to December 2021, CAF delivered a programme of screenings both online and in venues such as Chapter and Jacobs Market. They partnered with Biggerhouse Film on ‘Different Voices’ to showcase the work of neuro-diverse animators/filmmakers and Capetown International Animation Festival on a curated shorts programme from Welsh, Wales-based and African filmmakers.
#CitizenPontio reflects Pontio’s aim to place cinema back in the heart of social, political and community life in Bangor, building on the lifechanging events of 2021. The project offered paired screenings based around specific political themes that celebrate diversity, such as #queercitizen #workercitizen #banditcitizen and #comradecitizen. Each theme was designed to unite audiences of all backgrounds and ages post Covid-19 and offer them a chance to shape and ‘shake up’ the film programme.
As Wales’ International Horror Festival, Abertoir attracts audiences from across the UK. They are the only UK members of the Méliès International Festivals Federation, and award the world-recognised prize, the ‘Melies D’Argent for Best European Short Film’. Through a physical and virtual edition, the 2021 festival included brand new premieres, cult classics, silent film with live accompaniment, talks, presentations, short films, Q&As, masterclasses and more. Highlights included a talk on the history of music in film, and a performance, by world-famous pianist Neil Brand, a talk from author Tony Dalton about the British Hammer Horror director Terence Fisher, the history of folk horror with a preview screening of Kier-La Janisse’s landmark 3hour+ documentary Woodlands Dark and Tales Untold, and recent genre films from Wales; Censor and Gwledd. The films featured represented content from all corners of the world and helped create a diverse, accessible, informative and entertaining festival.
From September 2021 – March 2022 Kinokulture spotlighted a monthly ‘Made In Wales’ film, including documentary, short films, Welsh language features and archive as part of Oswestry’s National Heritage Open Day celebrations. The programme showcased and celebrated the wealth of Welsh filmmaking talent and diversity of voices and experiences of Welsh people and those living in Wales from the past to the present day.
Organisation: Iris Prize Festival
The ‘Best of Iris 2021’ took a selection of LGBT+ short films (made in the past 18 months) to make them available to cinemas across the UK. The films were classified by the BBFC and made available for free to exhibitors, enabling cinemas to reach out to new audiences sustainably.
Organisation: The Savoy Theatre, Monmouth
The Savoy offered a programme of British independent and international film with the aim of reconnecting audiences post-Covid. The selection included Welsh titles Eternal Beauty and The Toll and all films were provided with subtitles for hard of hearing audiences.