Gwyn Hall
UKCA Annual Conference 2018 (Gwyn Hall)

Jamie Hughes from Gwyn Hall, Neath, attended the UKCA’s Annual Conference. This is what he thought:

“From this conference I realised how fast technology is moving, from ticketing apps to digital signage and poster cases, to the emergence of laser projection.

Technology is working hard to make cinema more inclusive and the closed caption technology has the ability to break down language barriers and give people more opportunity to use the welsh language.

If you are looking at upgrading your digital projectors it’s worth looking at laser projection as even though it’s a bit more expensive, there are no lamp costs, plus it can live in a small pod instead of needing well ventilated, sound proof booth.

Sometimes knowing what and when to programme films can be challenging but more and more analytics software can help ensure the correct decisions are made or at least reduce the risks”

We are already booking in meetings with service providers who can offer apps, data analytics and e-ticketing systems.

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ICO I.D. Screening Day 2018 (Cinema Golau)

Yvonne Connike and Yasmin Begum from Cinema Golau attended the ICO’s I.D. Screening day, which focuses on diversity and inclusion. This is what they thought:

“This was an important event for my organisation’s development as we were able to talk about diversity, identity and programming in a safe space. We had a rare opportunity to connect with BAME programmers  from other of all level and specialisms and from other parts of the UK, as well as meeting up with my peers in Wales.

It was great to get the opportunity to speak with Gina Duncan and learn about her journey and experiences of creating and what she describes as a nimble, responsive and socially engaging programme for The BAM Centre in Brooklyn New York. Gina was very good at identifying new talent to work with and working as a team. The knowledge that Gina found success curating socially engaging films and this was welcomed by BAME audiences was inspiring and encouraging.

Having worked in the industry for a very long time I am aware that it is very easy to find yourself feeling lonely and isolated in your work. BAME practitioners are often marginalised. I feel we do not have the opportunities to experiment and make mistakes which is one of the reason meetups like this are so important. In one our many conversation, the subject of making funding applications was discussed. It became clear there need of an ecosystem of mentoring for new applications to come through the system.”

I came back with a stronger commitment to nurture  diverse, intersectional  intergenerational audiences and to build their confidence to become future programmers and activists and continue to provide space for growth and change.


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Cinema for All Conference 2018 (Sinema Sadwrn)

Lisa Denision from Sinema Sadwrn attended the 2018 Cinema for All Conference in Sheffield, where they won Best New Film Society. Here’s the story of their trip:

“The Cinema for All Annual Conference was a first for us, as a new film society. It was a great way to meet fellow cinema enthusiasts, gain new knowledge, celebrate all the hard work that community cinema volunteers do and most importantly it provided us with real encouragement and support which is essential for any fledgling group who are finding their feet.

Being immersed in all things cinema for a whole weekend gave us time to really reflect on what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and how we could learn and improve. We bought back lots of ideas, particularly in relation to programming, which was a word we kept hearing but one that we’d never even used ourselves. We are now going to work out how we might develop an annual programme rather than just thinking a couple of months ahead which will ensure that we not only cater better for our diverse audience but that we provide them with the ability to plan ahead and think about which films they want to attend throughout the year.

We were really inspired by the different approaches that other clubs take, some were all about providing less frequent but very special immersive experiences, others catered for niche audiences and some were simply passionate about providing a platform for independent film makers as an alternative to mainstream cinema. I think we are a little bit of all these, but our main driver is about providing a social opportunity in a dispersed rural community that doesn’t have easy access to many other services – maybe this is something they could cover in future events.

Fortunately, through social media, we can now stay in touch with some of the great film societies we connected with and keep an eye on the ideas and programming that they’re doing. We hadn’t really looked further afield until now so I think this will really benefit us when determining our own programme and events.”

Winning the award for Best new Film Society, more than anything, gave not just us, but our audience and the whole village an enormous boost. It’s not often we get a mention at a national level! We flew the flag for Wales and talked about our inclusion of welsh shorts to other societies who were also interested in showing shorts. Our confidence has really grown and we now feel like we will continue to grow and develop in a way in which we may not have envisaged before the event. We hope more members of the committee will be able to attend next year – it’s a lot of fun as well as a great learning experience.

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Wicked Wales Young Programmers Attend ICO Screening Days 2018

Natasha Swann (far left) attended the Dyddiau Dangosiadau ICO on behalf of Rhyl Wicked Cinema in April 2018, read about her experience below.

“Attending the ICO Screenings Days at the BFI Southbank was an amazing opportunity to participate in. I was part of another event in which we met other young people who also run their own cinemas, whether part of a university programme or just for the community, which was beneficial to my understanding of how to run a successfully programmed event. This being very useful as I volunteer to run a pop-up cinema which aims to offer an affordable and fun experience for the community. The sessions were very engaging and allowed us to express our ideas with one another, allowing us to create a discussion which was very informative. It also brought attention as to how important it is for us young people to have voices as we also have ideas on events which will be successful, and appeal to a wide range of audience members.

Not only did we attend the sessions regarding the exhibition of films, we were also given the opportunity to watch films in the ICO Screening Days. With a wide range of diversity within the film choices, the event was appealing to many different audiences, allowing us to make choices as to which style/genre of film we wanted to watch. Both myself and another volunteer from our pop-cinema/film festival tried to watch a wide range of films, this consisting of short films, documentaries and full-length feature films.

The whole experience of attending the ICO screening days was amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed watching and discussing films, learning new ways to attract a wider audience and create programmes with more diverse film choices”.

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Berlin Film Festival 2018 (WIDF)

David Evans, Festival Director of Wales International Documentary Festival, attended y Berlin Film Festival 2018, in February 2018 – read about his experience below. 

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This Way Up 2017 (TAPE)

Neil Dunshire from TAPE Community Music and Film attended the 2017 This Way Up Conference. Here’s more about his experience:

“This Way Up was a really great experience for myself and my organisation. It was a really inspirational 2 days with great speakers and panels. It’s the first time I have attended a This Way Up event and unsure how much I was going to take away from the event.  As it turned out it was hard to know what to choose to go along to once it got started as there was so much that was relevant to our charity. I took pages of notes from some sessions and refer back to them still on a regular basis. The 2 days have influenced change in my organisation from the new business plan to decisions on flooring!  Was really useful to hear the similarities and differences in people’s experiences during and outside of the sessions as well.  I would definitely recommend attending to anyone thinking of going along to the next event.”

Neil’s Top five things he learned:

  1.  A better understanding of the wider cinema community and a knowledge of other working practices.
  2. More confidence in curation decisions.
  3. Accessibility options that can easily be applied to the venue and longer term options.
  4. Contacts and networking opportunities.
  5. Opportunities for archive film.
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Sustainability Seminars 2017 (Moviola)

Moviola is a nationwide community cinema organisation with many members in Wales. In July 2017 they ran six Sustainability Seminars across the UK, with the aim to collect experiences and ideas to inform a Sustainability Action Plan and a ‘Good Practice in the Moviola Family Guide’ to distribute across their network.

Film Hub Wales supported a seminar in Wales at Llanfair Kilgeddin Village Hall. Here are Moviola’s Phill Walkley highlights from the seminars:

“Headline figures can disguise a wide variation in the performance of venues – an average of 51 people per show. One fascinating finding is that there is no correlation between the size of a community and the size of audience attracted by its community cinema.  A wide range of other critical success factors are in play.”

“The main aim of the seminars was to compile a Sustainability Action Plan that could be used by individual venues to build their audiences and hence their long term sustainability. The success of this would have a knock-on effect in Moviola’s relationship with film distributors. The smaller distributors themselves have issues of sustainability. Thus sustainability has a much greater reach in its importance than just the simple issue of numbers at shows.”

“Sustainability can be broken down into three categories: Finance, Human Resources, and Audience and Film Industry”.

        Representatives from community cinemas in Radyr, Llanfair Kilgeddin, Llancarfan, Penallt, Usk, Cowbridge FAN BFI a The Narth were in attendance. The day was rated 5* for usefulness.


                             To read the findings click on the links below or contact Moviola:

Strengths Of Community Cinema

Issues Facing Community Cinemas

46 Ways To Improve Your Community Cinema​



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Sheffield Doc/Fest (Gentle / Radical)

Radha Patel attended Sheffield Doc/Fest on behalf of Gentle/Radical in June, 2017, read about her visit/experience below. 

“This was the first film festival I’d attended and it was an incredible experience. I felt privileged to have had access to exciting, relevant films, and to be able to bring many of them home to the audiences of the film club.

One of the things that really excited and impressed me was the platforming and position of female film makers. It’s incredibly refreshing that time is taken to curate film screenings made by women who are largely ignored in the film industry. I was particularly excited to meet director Lana Wilson, who I greatly admire.”

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WNO Wizard Of Oz 2017 (Wicked Young Programmers)

In September, 2017, Wicked Young Programmers, Lacey Small, Scarlett and Natasha, spent the day at the Welsh National Opera‘s screening of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ interviewing audience members, to create this short film below with Liam Martin


Wicked Young Programmers was created in partnership with Wicked International Youth Film Festival as part of the BFI Young FAN project. Wicked links up with students in their rural local area of Rhyl to offer them the chance to to run the Wicked Cinema and gain skills to have a job in the media industry.          


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Dementia Friendly Screenings Review 2017 (Cecilia McAleavey)

Cecilia McAleavey, 61, Radyr, Cardiff explains why dementia-friendly screenings are so important for her mother.

Cinemas across the UK recognised World Alzheimer’s Month, with dementia friendly cinema events throughout September 2017 and beyond.The movement was led by Film Hub Wales with film screenings supported by the eight BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) Hubs across the UK, who provide dementia-friendly guidance, training and support to cinema operators.

On September 22, 2017, Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff, organised a day of film, information sessions, awareness raising and more to celebrate World Alzheimer’s Month, which included a dementia-friendly screening of ‘The Sound of Music’, with warm up by Goldies choir and an interval with tea and biscuits.

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Cultural Cinema Exhibition 2017​ (Off Y Grid)

Silvia Sheenan, Off Y Grid’s Coordinator (to 2017) attended the ICO Cultural Cinema Exhibition course in 2017. Here’s how she got on:

The course was an widespread overview of cinema exhibition, consisting of several different sessions covering topics such as distribution, exhibition, commercial programming, curatorial, marketing, programming for your audience, finding audiences, festivals, diversity and much more.

I learnt that there are several things worth keeping in mind when promoting titles in the future. Creating partnerships with media outlets is important, this can include freelance journalists, and even local businesses and community groups. This is especially relevant in North Wales due to a spread out population so it makes sense to join forces in the local area.

Market research is important. Explore the venue with customers eyes to understand the customer journey, demographics, programme, physical space, ease of booking – being honest about what can be done immediately, in the future, or not at all.

There are nuances to targeting to audiences. Striking the balance of providing specific, strand-based content, whilst also growing audiences and encouraging more diverse or ‘risky’ viewings.

When considering programming you can use archive and AMI films to complement and diversify existing programme, being creative, providing context, blending with the curatorial.

Silvia’s Top Four Elements of the Course

1. Collaboration essential to bring in new audiences – online discussion, guest speakers, partnerships.
2. Finding themes and connections as a way to introduce new films to your audience, prioritise cultural diversity.
3. Being subjective and personal can be a way to ‘defend’ specialist choices- this could help with OYG screenings- perhaps having ambassadors or individual voices to champion certain features (relates to the importance of recommendations).
4. Using surveys, print and email, making sure questions are relevant, offering refreshments as incentives, sharing information and demonstrating how you’ve implemented it.
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