Film Hub Wales has awarded £50,000 of National Lottery funding to nine independent cinemas and film festivals in Wales through its Film Exhibition Fund.
Funds will enable communities in Pembrokeshire and across Wales to watch the latest UK independent and international films on their doorsteps.
The funded projects share the aim to offer climate conscious events at affordable prices. Wales One World Film Festival are running their ‘Ecosinema’ event with the theme of ‘Another World is Possible,’ which includes two short climate stories on screen from Bangladesh and an event in partnership with the Land Workers Alliance, all on a ‘pay what you feel’ basis.
The projects are supported by Film Hub Wales, which is part of the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) using funds from the National Lottery to ensure the greatest choice of cinema is available to everyone across the UK. Funds in Wales are administered by FHW via Chapter as the Film Hub Lead Organisation.
Other highlights Wales-wide include free films for families at the Magic Lantern in Tywyn and special climate conscious events as part of the ‘Greener Tywyn’ initiative. At Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival there will be a free Manga café alongside events, where audiences can read Japanese comics after watching a film. At Cellb in Blaenau Ffestiniog, they have monthly Youth PicZ screenings where their Clwb Clinc youths can watch films at affordable prices, whilst also building their skills in front of house, projection, technical and media techniques.
Theatr Gwaun (Fishguard)May 2023 to march 2024
As part of Theatr Gwaun’s year-round programme of UK independent, international and mainstream film and documentaries are two new threads. They’re diving into their audience data and building relationships with their local community, learning more about their cinema needs, from their budgets to experience of the venue. They are exploring events for older age groups, Welsh speakers and young people aged 25 and under through their Kids Club and POINT Presents in partnership with the local youth service.
Magic Lantern (Tywyn)May 2023 – March 2024‘Film Alive in Tywyn’ at the Magic Lantern’s will enable the audience in and around Tywyn to experience top quality British independent and international films alongside the big blockbusters. Magic Lantern want their film selection to buzz, to punch above its rurally isolated weight and reflect the lives of all those living in the community, whilst also offering a window to the world and other peoples’ experiences. The programme includes free films for families and under 25s in partnership with Gwynedd youth service, special live music and film events and ‘Greener Tywyn’ climate themed screenings.
Abergavenny Film Society20 September 2023 – 27 March 2024Abergavenny Film Society is the longest running film society in Wales, screening since 1978 with the support of community volunteers. There will be two screenings of UK independent and international films with subtitles, fortnightly, between September 2023 to March 2024 including a Welsh short Ding Dong from the National Library of Wales – look out for an appearance from Luke Evans in one of his earliest screen roles.
Cellb (Blaenau Ffestiniog)June 2023 - March 2024
In their upcoming season ‘Cellb 'Good to me’, the community can look forward to a modern cinematic experience and city vibe, all at their local entertainment hub. In their mission to bring world and independent films to Blaenau audiences, the programme this year includes Youth PicZ screenings for ages 11-17, a family film club, pensioners forum and training for young Clwb Clinc creatives.
Hay Castle Trust (Hay on Wye)1 – 3 September, 2023 (TBC)Writing with Light present a weekend of words and film, transforming Hay Castle into an open-air cinema for the first time. Outdoor cinema, immersive projections, archive shorts and guest speakers will celebrate the art of translating text into moving images, inspiring all ages to read more, watch more, and make films.
Wyeside Arts Centre (Builth Wells)May 2023 – March 2024Wyeside Arts Centre will offer a diverse and inclusive programme of UK independent and Welsh Language film in 2023, including foreign and Welsh language films, documentaries and films by creatives from minoritised communities. Subtitled screenings are offered every Thursday, along with relaxed screenings for children with autism, a ‘Tea and Biscuits Matinee’ every month for OAPs, plus a new programme of Mother and Baby relaxed screenings. They are also exploring a screening for local Ukrainian refugee families.
WOW Film Festival (Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardigan, Fishguard and Swansea)July 2023 – March 2024The WOW Wales One World Film Festival (WOW) will run Ecosinema23 - an online programme of six world cinema features and three shorts packages in October 2023, along with the festival itself in March 2024 where 18 features (both documentary & fiction) will screen in five cinemas around Wales with added value events.
Ecosinema23 (September-October 2023), leading with the theme ‘Another World Is Possible’ will offer an online festival showcase of the very best of world cinema. The programme will include fiction and documentary features, short films - including a package of films from Colombia created for the ‘Creating Safer Space’ programme, Climate Stories (two short films from Bangladesh produced by WOW) plus Q&As, panel discussions and an event in partnership with the Land Workers Alliance.
WOW24 (March 2024) will showcase 18 films of the very best of world cinema, principally award winners at other festivals. 45 screenings will take place across cinemas in Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardigan, Fishguard and Swansea with Q&As and panel discussions. Major events in Aberystwyth will be AberCon, WOW’s anime convention organised in partnership with Mencap Ceredigion and a ‘Creating Safer Space’ event and panel discussion with visiting speakers organised in partnership with the International Politics department.
Annita Nitsaidou, Marketing Officer at WOW Festival explains why these are important themes for WOW in 2023:
“The climate and cost of living crises are two issues that are as local as they are global, just like Ecosinema. We want to accentuate the urgency of climate change, its global nature and the need for sustainable solutions - reminding us all that 'Another World is Possible’. We have always believed in the power of storytelling to create social change and by making 'Ecosinema' accessible with our 'pay what you feel' offer, it will continue to offer a platform for filmmakers, activists, and audiences to come together and engage in meaningful conversations. A space where people can learn, be inspired and be part of a community that is committed to making a positive difference in the world.”
Cardiff Animation Festival (Wales wide through CAF on tour)June 2023 - March 2024Cardiff Animation Festival will bring a wide range of exciting, animated feature films, short film screenings, exclusive Q+As with industry professionals and informal social learning activities to diverse audiences in Cardiff, as well as a touring programme of Welsh Work to independent venues across the country. Building deeper relationships with communities, the festival will work with neurodiverse animators, curators and audiences (Different Voices), asylum seekers and refugees (Oasis Cardiff) and rural communities in Wales (CAF on Tour).
Festival Director, Lauren Orme explains how CAF is creating a community around animation in Wales:
“CAF is all about bringing people together around a love of animation. We're running a year-round programme of films, talks and activities people can get involved in, to nurture the kind and welcoming community we've built around animation over the past nine years – which is more important than ever after lockdown. We're making our programme more accessible and inclusive through captioning and BSL interpretation, and making our events free wherever we can. We're really grateful for the continued support of Film Hub Wales, who have helped CAF to grow since our first festival.”
Cardiff Animation Festival (CAF) has a host of events on offer all year, from free monthly screenings at their Cardiff Animation Nights, to regular free family film club screenings at both Chapter in Canton and Oasis’ centre in Splott. They are also continuing their 'Planet Positive' strand of screenings and talks on how animation can help fight the climate crisis.
Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival (Cardiff, Aberystwyth and Bangor TBC)22nd September – November 2023The Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival will screen a selection of animated films at Chapter Cardiff, Aberystwyth Arts Center and Pontio Bangor (TBC), partnering with the Japan Foundation London to also offer online events (TBC). They will also host an inclusive Manga Comic Café (free Japanese comic reading area) to promote Japanese culture, sustainability and literacy, alongside the festival.
Hana Lewis, Strategic Manager for Film Hub Wales explains why funding for exhibition is so important:
“The Film Exhibition Fund exists to help cinemas, festivals and community screens to bring the best UK independent and international films to audiences right across Wales. Welsh exhibitors are navigating serious challenges like the cost of living crisis, whilst also adapting at a time of global climate crisis. This is no easy thing to do but they never fail to think creatively – meaning that Welsh cinemas and festivals are still the best places to watch films and for audiences to enjoy an affordable night out. Investment to preserve these community services is crucial.”
• More than £30M is raised each week for good causes across the UK by the National Lottery.