Film Exhibition Fund Awards: 21/22

CellB, Blaenau Ffestiniog - Sgrin 2

We 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.

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.

Film Exhibition Funds

Project: Sinema'r Byd

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.

Project: 11th Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival

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.

Project: Dadeni (Rebirth)

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.

Project: Re-launch of the Film Club and piloting safety measures

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.

Project: Community Film Programming at Theatr Gwaun

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).

Project: WOW Autumn Blended Event

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.

Project: Wales Youth Festival Network Development

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.

Project: Cardiff Animation Festival

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.  

Project: Citizen Pontio

Organisation: Pontio

#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.

Project: Abertoir International Horror Festival

Organisation: Abertoir International Horror Festival / Aberystwyth Arts Centre

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.   

Project: Made in Wales Film Season

Organisation: Kinokulture

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.

Project: Iris on the Move

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.

Project: Film at the Savoy

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.

Pitch Pot Funds

New Dot

Organisation: New Dot

A welcoming community cinema in the heart of Llangollen aimed to entertain and inspire audiences across the rural Dee Valley with a selection of the best British, independent, archive, documentary, arthouse and world cinema. They wanted to rebuild following the pandemic, with crucial social opportunities for their older groups and a more accessible website to support online ticket purchases for their more vulnerable audience members. Films included Korean-American family drama Minari and Welsh independent film La Cha Cha.

Sinema Sadwrn

Organisation: Sinema Sadwrn

This community cinema reopened with a programme full of indie gems, including Dream Horse and Nomadland.

Brecon Film Society

Organisation: Brecon Film Society

Their programme included a diverse range of British and international indie titles such as The Toll, Ida, Tove (to coincide with Brecon Women’s Festival), Mahanagar/The Big City, Sorry We Missed You, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire. 

Brynamman Public Hall Cinema

Organisation: Brynamman Public Hall Cinema

With its origins in the 1920s, bringing tip up seats upholstered in old gold corduroy, the Hall is run by a passionate team and committee of volunteers. With their over-sixties silver screen groups in mind, they presented a series of Welsh films designed to make their audience feel at home as they returned. Films included The Toll and Men Who Sing.

The Lyric

Organisation: Theatrau Sir Gar

To celebrate the release of Save the Cinema, the true story about The Lyric being saved, the Carmarthen theatre premiered and screened the film throughout January 2022.

Flicks in the Sticks / Made in Wales

Organisation: Arts Alive

We worked with Flicks in the Sticks through Made in Wales by curating a list of Welsh films available on BLU-RAY / DVD, to support non-theatrical screenings across the network. 10 venues screened 5 films including Men Who Sing, Mr Jones, Eternal Beauty, A Christmas Carol and After Love.

Screen Heritage

Read more about A Roof of Slate for Every House, our Screen Heritage project which explored Wales’s slate mining history and its lesser-known connections to slavery.

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