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Ffilm Cymru announces new Audience Access awards

Ffilm Cymru invests a further £100,000 in multi-arts centres, film festivals and community cinemas across Wales, bringing their in-year investment into film exhibitors to £170,000.

The investment supports a total of 22 exhibitors to provide a social and cultural offering to their local area.

The Audience Access fund is designed to help Welsh film exhibitors reach broader and more inclusive audiences, whilst testing and developing their business models.

Some of the exhibitors awarded funding will be using their award to engage younger audiences in cinema; Swansea’s Taliesin Arts Centre will expand its new student membership scheme, offering interactive experiences with review writing; Pontardawe Arts Centre is continuing a film academy for 9-13 years olds, as well as a family-friendly scheme with £1 tickets for children; and PICS Young Persons Film Festival will once again host its annual celebration of Welsh-language film made by young people at Galeri Caernarfon.

Reaching rural communities is a priority for Ffilm Cymru and we have supported organisations such as CellB in Blaenau Ffestiniog, who will be forging partnerships with local schools and organisations like Age Cymru to engage audiences across generations. Bethesda’s Neuadd Ogwen will celebrate local culture with a focus on Welsh-language film and a community-published fanzine, while the Upper Afan Movies community cinema programme offers low-cost tickets and transport, as well as the chance for the local community to create their own programme.

Ffilm Cymru’s Audience Access funding is designed to improve reach to people that are currently under-represented amongst audiences, and Cardiff Community Housing Association’s pop-up cinema programme FLIX and Gentle/Radical will use the investment to reach out to BAME groups and refugees with film. Gentle/Radical will explore global social and political issues through films, guest speakers and events, while providing a volunteer scheme, a crèche and free tickets for asylum seekers. Meanwhile, CCHA is looking to engage economically challenged and socially isolated communities in Cardiff.

Independent cinema venues are also keen to increase access for those with disabilities, dementia and autism. Aberystwyth Arts Centre will work with their disabled audience to help improve its relaxed cinema screenings, Barry’s Memo Arts Centre will provide transport to its accessible screenings from care homes, Theatr Gwaun in Fishguard is planning a programme of dementia-friendly screenings as well as improved wheelchair access to their cinema, and The Welfare in Ystradgynlais is forging partnerships with health and wellbeing organisations to offer dementia and autism friendly screenings, as well as equipping staff with specialised training. 

Ffilm Cymru also funded a pair of film festivals that will help support the next generation of filmmaking talent with short film showcases. A new award was made to the FOCUS Wales music and arts festival in Wrexham, which will take place in May and feature a new event screening shorts from young filmmakers, while Cardiff Mini Film Festival will once again take over alternative venues and empty shop spaces to host short film screenings and networking events this June.

Another travelling festival awarded Audience Access funding was Wales One World Film Festival, which brings the best in world cinema to venues across Wales. Opening on 21st March, this year’s festival will focus on F-rated – written by, directed by and/or starring women – films, and feature community outreach screenings of Welsh-language films in Pembrokeshire.

Nicola Munday, Ffilm Cymru’s Audience, Education and Regeneration Manager, comments: “I’m proud to welcome all these organisations to this year’s Audience Access portfolio, especially the seven awards granted to first-time applicants, as it is great to see our fund expanding its reach across Wales. The film exhibitors we support continue to inspire us with their community-focused plans, and I can’t wait to see them come into fruition in the coming months.”

Applications are assessed twice yearly and the next deadline will be announced in April 2019. Find out more and apply here.