Welsh cinema sector strengthened with Ffilm Cymru Wales funding

Cygnor Celfyddydau Cymru - Arts Council of Wales,
28 May 2024, Wales

Ffilm Cymru Wales supports another five independent cinemas and a film festival serving exciting cinematic experiences to audiences across Wales.

With funding from the National Lottery, Ffilm Cymru Wales provides support to independent film exhibitors to entertain and inspire people throughout the nation with a greater choice of films. As part of the organisation’s commitment to innovation, inclusion and sustainability, their Film Exhibitor Fund encourages cinemas and film festivals to develop their work in an evolving sector, connecting their local communities through cinema. 

Last year, seven film festivals and community cinemas shared £63,500 of funding in Ffilm Cymru Wales’ first round of 2023-24, including Abertoir International Horror Festival, Cardiff Animation Festival and the Iris Prize LGBTQ+ Film Festival. Now, Ffilm Cymru Wales has further funded the following organisations:

Aberystwyth Arts Centre
Situated on the Aberystwyth University campus, the multi-arts venue prides itself on providing a diverse cinema experience for audiences all over mid-Wales. Ffilm Cymru Wales’ funding will support the independent cinema to deliver a varied and inclusive programme with a focus on foreign language film, as well as accessible screenings for the d/Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, relaxed screenings for parents and neurodiverse people, and positioning it as the venue that responds to the local community's interests and needs.

Chapter Arts Centre
Cardiff’s independent cinema and creative hub will use their funding to add value to their programme with live Q&A sessions, pre-recorded introductions and a classic film strand, ensuring their audiences are engaged and inspired by film. Chapter will also host a Deaf Film Club, develop programme voices from a Global Majority audience, and support the development of Welsh-language filmmaking with screenings and discussions. 

Galeri Caernarfon
Ffilm Cymru Wales’ funding will help the arts centre put its local communities at the heart of its work, develop more inclusive and sustainable business practices, and generate community wealth. This will include their flagship project SPOT - a training programme of workshops, masterclasses and screenings for teenage and young adult filmmakers that will nurture and celebrate local creativity.

The Magic Lantern
Found in the rural Mid-Wales seaside town of Tywyn, this one-screen independent cinema first showed film in 1901. While preserving its programme of arthouse, classic and mainstream cinema welcoming all audiences, The Magic Lantern will also put its funding towards a new projector. 

Memo Arts Centre
Built in Barry in 1932, the Memo Arts Centre has grown into the largest combined arts venue, and only open cinema, in the Vale of Glamorgan. Ffilm Cymru Wales’ funding will support the centre to partner with local schools, care homes and community organisations to provide affordable family screenings and creative activities, relaxed and autism-friendly screenings, and a new 60+ social matinee with packaged hospitality. 

WOW Wales One World Film Festival 
The UK's longest running world cinema festival, for 22 years WOW has brought a wide variety of the very best international films to cinemas across Wales. In March 2024, the festival hosted 30 screenings and five special events in Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardigan, Fishguard and Swansea, including AberCon, WOW’s anime convention in partnership with Mencap Ceredigion, and Creating Safer Space, an international collaboration supporting unarmed civilians in the midst of violent conflict.

In addition to the funding, Ffilm Cymru Wales are partnering with Film Hub Wales to offer business development workshops and tailored one-to-one training to applicant cinemas and film festivals, led by Mustard Studio. This invaluable service will support Welsh cinemas to focus their audiences, project their brands and build sustainable businesses.  

Introducing this new support, Ffilm Cymru Wales’ Chief Executive Lee Walters says: "We are really pleased to be partnering with Film Hub Wales to offer this package of business development and tailored one-to-one training for exhibitors led by Mustard Studios. Cinemas are key cultural cornerstones that fire the imaginations and fuel the dreams of audiences across Wales; we hope through this work we can help to increase the resilience and sustainability of the vital exhibition sector."

Hana Lewis, Strategic Hub Manager at Film Hub Wales, adds: “Exhibitors continue to adapt to the ever-changing environment they find themselves in, caused by factors such as the cost-of-living crisis as well as the wider political, cultural and environmental issues that affect their communities. Their small teams have never been busier, with a growing need to attract audiences and secure external funding - continually adjusting their buildings and business plans. We hope that these sessions will offer some extra support at a pivotal time.”

The new round of Ffilm Cymru Wales’ streamlined Film Exhibitor Fund will open on 28th May 2024, with an application deadline of 8th July.