outside chapter arts centre

Ffilm Cymru Wales helps keep cinemas and film festivals afloat

The development agency for Welsh film’s latest Film Exhibitor Fund awards are supporting independent cinemas and film festivals in Wales to continue to entertain and inspire their audiences amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nicola Munday, Ffilm Cymru’s Audience & Education Manager, says “To support our nation’s thriving film exhibition sector during this challenging time, we redesigned our funding to best meet its immediate needs, as well as providing guidance, advocacy, and opportunities for film exhibitors to connect, collaborate, and share concerns and ideas.

Our latest Film Exhibitor Fund awards have been granted to fantastic cinemas and film festivals providing a diverse variety of exciting cinematic experiences for people across Wales.”

Ffilm Cymru has provided vital National Lottery funding to help independent cinemas adapt to new ways of serving local communities across Wales. These include Cardiff’s Chapter Arts Centre, which has been offering a selection of arthouse and independent films for people to watch from home on their new streaming service Chapter Player, Tywyn’s charming Magic Lantern cinema, which hosted a fantastic drive-in cinema this summer, and Carmarthen’s Yr Egin, which is planning a series of wonderful re-opening events, featuring a bike-powered outdoor cinema and a programme of local and Welsh-language films.

The funding given to CellB in Blaenau Ffestiniog will go towards a second cinema space to help with socially-distanced screenings, and Bethesda’s Neuadd Ogwen has adapted its flexible space to increase accessibly and distancing for their cinema audiences. Theatr Gwaun in Fishguard has opened a café bar to continue to provide a community hub while the cinema is shut, and Brynamman Public Hall was given Ffilm Cymru funding as a vital space for its rural community.

Ffilm Cymru also made Film Exhibitor Fund awards to Wales-based film festivals as they reached audiences old and new online. Watch-Africa Cymru provides a platform for African cinema, art and culture in Wales, and is collaborating with the TANO network African film festivals, while the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival brought a packed programme of international shorts, features, industry events and parties direct to homes for free.

Last October the SeeMôr Short Film Festival welcomed audiences to Anglesey’s Ucheldre Arts Centre to enjoy short films about the sea in a socially-distanced and safer cinema environment, while the young people behind the Wicked Wales Film Festival and community cinema offered online film activities for children, before hosting a weekend of award-winning films made by young people from across Europe. The Kotatsu Festival of Japanese Animation celebrated their 10th anniversary with an online edition and a focus on women filmmakers, and Abertoir International Horror Festival haunted the internet over the Halloween weekend, treating guests to brand new films, live presentations & performances, and a chance to spend time together no matter where they are.

Cardiff Animation Festival received Ffilm Cymru funding for its forthcoming programme of activity, including online screenings and in-person events in partnership refugee charity Oasis. Meanwhile, Wales One World Film Festival are also planning a hybrid programme of online and live-streamed in-person events at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, including a special WOW Women’s Film Club event.

A previous recipient of Ffilm Cymru’s Film Education funding, North Powys and Wrexham community arts collective Arts Connect have now been given Film Exhibitor Funding for their Ffilm Llanfyllin pop-up cinema, which hosts accessible Friday night film screenings at the community’s local pub.

As independent cinemas begin to reopen their doors to audiences this spring, Ffilm Cymru will continue to work closely with UK and Welsh Governments, the BFI, Arts Council of Wales, UK Cinema Association and film exhibitors across Wales - supporting, listening and developing ways to ensure cinema continues to be a welcoming place for all.