2020/21 Covid-19 Resilience Fund Awards

© Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival 2019

We’ve invested £100,000 to protect 16 Welsh cinemas and festivals affected by Covid-19. Read all about them below and hear from the people behind the scenes who are planning for life after lockdown.

The resilience fund is made possible thanks to National Lottery funding, repurposed by the British Film Institute (BFI) via the Film Audience Network (FAN).

Gwallgofiaid, CellB

Organisation: Gwallgofiaid CellB, Blaenau Ffestiniog

Gwallgofiaid is a not for profit social enterprise run from the old Blaenau police station. Proceeds from the cinema go towards training in creative arts and media for local young people.

During lockdown, Gwallgofiad continue to talk to their young creatives and local pensioners about resilience scenario programming, film reviews and programming. They have all sorts of creative ideas in development for the future including “Mwoo” Pop up outdoor cinema screenings with social distancing of Cows Spaces.

Meet Rhys, Coordinator at CellB

Dragon Theatre

Organisation: Dragon Theatre, Barmouth

Situated on the west coast of Snowdonia, this imposing, converted Victorian chapel houses a 186-seat traditional theatre auditorium offering a year-round programme of activities. The building is lovingly run and maintained by a small team and many hard-working volunteers.

With all events cancelled by mid-March and plans to address flood damage postponed, the theatre’s annual insurance costs will be supported through the FHW grant.

The Dragon Theatre in lockdown

Neuadd Ogwen

Organisation: Neuadd Ogwen, Bethesda

Neuadd Ogwen is a community arts centre based in the old village hall in Bethesda, Gwynedd. With 354 seats and a creative schedule including film, productions by local and national touring companies, ballet, opera, plays, pantomimes and concerts.

With all events cancelled from Mid-March, core staffing and organisational costs will be supported by the FHW grant.

Neuadd Ogwen also plan to create an online platform called ‘Ein Dalgylch’ that will take artists of all disciplines out of the venue and into our valley, forests and mountains near Bethesda for performance films.

Meet Dilwyn, Manager of Neuadd Ogwen

Sinema 73

Organisation: 73 Degree Community, Wrexham

Sinema 73’ is a new community-led accessible Cinema Club hosted in partnership with Ty Pawb in Wrexham. The programme is curated by a committee of dedicated film experts and members of diverse community groups.

They will be supported by FHW funding to create social media ‘story stacks’ with different film related themes designed to inspire audiences to discover new content and stories online.

Meet Rob, Producer of 73 Cinema

Wicked Wales

Organisation: Wicked Wales, Rhyl

Wicked Wales offer year-round training and activity programmes for young  people, including a community pop-up cinema run by young people for young people and an International annual Youth Film Festival, which accepts entries from young filmmakers worldwide.

Wicked were about to reach their 3rd anniversary celebrations when they had to close, with their planning for the September festival also affected. FHW support will be used to help with irrecoverable costs and maintain connections with their growing team of young volunteers who continue to work on their stand against violence initiative, which recently won UK Games award of the year.

Meet Rhiannon, Festival Director / Cinema Co-ordinator of Wicked Wales

Savoy Theatre, Monmouth

Organisation: Savoy Theatre, Monmouth

The Savoy stands on the oldest known theatre site in Wales, boasting a beautiful art deco interior. The Grade 2* listed building is currently managed by the Monmouth Savoy Trust. The programme offers a mixture of feature films, live entertainment and special cinema events.

The cinema has been closed since mid-March with all but one member of staff furloughed. FHW support will enable the projector and other essential technical equipment to be maintained alongside irrecoverable staffing and operational costs. Staff have been working hard on the history of the cinema and plan to open with new displays in place.

Donate to Savoy Theatre

Meet Chris, Director of Monmouth Savoy

Cardiff Animation Festival (CAF)

Organisation: Cardiff Animation Festival (CAF)

CAF is a year-round programme and biennial four-day celebration of animation for everyone, with a high calibre programme of screenings, masterclasses, Q+As, workshops, networking, accessible events and an inclusive community atmosphere.

The March 2020 festival and it’s creative practitioners were severely affected with initial lockdown resulting in postponement of their entire event. In response, CAF have been developing a host of exciting online activities which will be supported by FHW. Events include monthly online Cardiff Animation Night screenings, online animation workshops and subtitled events with BSL interpretation.

Meet Lauren, Director of the Cardiff Animation Festival + team

Snowcat Cinema

Organisation: Snowcat Cinema, Penarth

Snowcat is an independent pop-up cinema based in South Wales with a permanent residency at Penarth Pier Pavilion. They screen a broad range of films from repertory to cult and work with wider venues to organise events from simple screenings to immersive event-cinema!

FHW support will enable Snowcat to maintain cinema equipment loans. Look out for their daily YouTube videos, Freeview recommendations, watch-alongs and online quizzes on Facebook and Twitter

Purchase a gift ticket to Snowcat Cinema

Meet Ben, Founder of Snowcat Cinema

Memo Arts Centre, Barry

Organisation: Memo Arts Centre, Barry

The Memo Arts Centre is an independent charity situated in the heart of Barry, as the largest multi-arts venue in the Vale of Glamorgan, they welcome over 100,000 visitors to the building every year including over 20,000 young people. With theatre and 4K digital cinema, they are a crucial hub for their local community and beyond.

With nearly 65% of income generated through box office, bar sales and facility hires and all earned income used to support the venue and its extensive programme, the team have been working tirelessly to mitigate the impact of covid-19 and plan for the future.

FHW support will be used to irrecoverable costs along with an inclusive digital well-being participation project ‘The Space Between our Thoughts’. This visceral multi-media project will work with vulnerable adults and groups to identify the complexities of re-engaging audiences during and post COVID-19.

Donate to Memo Arts Centre

Meet Kate, CEO – Director, Anna and some of the team at Memo Arts Centre

Commodore Cinema

Organisation: Commodore Cinema, Aberystwyth

A purpose built independent family owned and run cinema. The Award Winning Commodore first opened its doors in 1976 seats over 400 with one of the largest cinema screens in Wales.

FHW are excited to welcome the Commodore to the Hub as a new member this year. Funds will support irrecoverable organisational costs. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for regular interactive posts.  

Meet Mike, Proprietor of Commodore Cinema

Magic Lantern, Tywyn

Organisation: The Magic Lantern, Tywyn

Magic Lantern Cinema are a one-screen independent cinema in rural Wales with state of the arts Sony 4k digital projection and Dolby 7.1 surround sound.  They open to the public 363 days a year. The nearest other cinema to them is over 30 miles away, so for many people they are a crucial community resource. 
With plans to screen new titles like Bond and Parasite impacted by unforeseen closure, the Magic Lantern have seen a huge financial impact to their business. Along with irrecoverable costs, FHW will support an online community memory project which explores the social history of the Magic Lantern and its importance to the community.  

Donate to Magic Lantern

Meet Sara, Co-Director of the Magic Lantern

Torch Theatre

Organisation: Torch Theatre, Milford Haven

Established in 1977, The Torch Theatre in Pembrokeshire consists of a 300 seat Main House, a 102 seat Studio Theatre, a bespoke art gallery, bar facilities and Café Torch. The venue has been transformed to create an accessible, comfortable and attractive place to enjoy entertainment and the arts, complete with state of the art digital cinema technology with 3D capabilities.

With all plans on hold, including their exciting outdoor summer screening events, the Torch team will be supported with planning time to understand the landscape of future film releases alongside irrecoverable costs.

Donate to Torch Theatre

The Torch during lockdown

Theatr Gwaun

Organisation: Theatr Gwaun, Fishguard

Theatr Gwaun is an Independent Theatre, Cinema, Bar and Cafe run by a passionate friendly team in North Pembrokeshire. It’s been a place for entertainment since 1885 when it was built as a Temperance Hall, becoming one of the first cinema’s in Wales in the early 1920’s.They bring a broad range of specialised and mainstream films to all sections of their rural community. They also host Fishguard Film Society.

With income ceased and various grants on hold, FHW will support the venue with essential maintenance and irrecoverable costs that will enable them to plan for reopening.

Their ‘The Rainbow – If You Need Us Call Us’ campaign sees their volunteers undertaking non-medical errands for those who need help and ‘The Stage is Yours’ local fund-raiser with new short film in production, will tell the story of the theatre.

Donate to Theatr Gwaun

Meet Sue (CEO), Elizabeth (Duty Manager), Clare (Front of House Manager) and young cinema goers from Theatr Gwaun

The Phoenix

Organisation: The Phoenix, Ton Pentre

The Phoenix is a Grade 2* community Performance Arts Theatre and Cinema located in Ton Pentre in the Rhondda Valley. The front of the building started life as the Ocean Collieries, Maindy and Eastern Workman’s library and Institute in 1895. Over a century later they are still running strong, screening films six days a week with a comprehensive programme of unusual, modern and challenging films, catering to all ages.

Closure has had a large impact on the charity’s plans for grant applications and impacted the team of volunteers who work with vulnerable communities across Rhondda Cynon Taff. The FHW grant will support the Phoenix with irrecoverable maintenance and film transport costs.

Meet Gerda and the volunteers at the Phoenix Ton Pentre

Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival

Organisation: Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival

Kotatsu is film festival specialising in Japanese animation, which takes place at Chapter in Cardiff and Aberystwyth Arts Centre in Aberystwyth.

The festival generally takes place each September, so fundraising and planning for the 10th anniversary event has been hugely affected. FHW support will enable Kotatsu to offer a day of online Independent Japanese short films screenings during closure.

Meet Eiko, Director of Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival

WOW Film Festival

Organisation: WOW Film Festival

WOW has been celebrating the riches of world cinema since 2001, bringing an eclectic, intriguing, and moving selection of films from around the globe to cinemas across Wales.  WOW presents a selection of the very best in world cinema – and sometimes a film from Wales too.

This year’s festival opened with a sell-out screening on International Women’s Day and was due to run untill April 8 at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Kinokulture Oswestry, Pontio Bangor, Theatr Mwldan Cardigan and Taliesin Swansea but was postponed just days into delivery. FHW support will help with irrecoverable costs as well as business planning for the future.

Meet David, Director of the WOW Film Festival

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or to make an application, visit our Support page.