What’s On in 2019: Welsh Cinemas Reflect Global Issues on Screen

Credit: Michal Iwanowski - Gentle/Radical Death Of Distance
Credit: Michal Iwanowski - Gentle/Radical Death Of Distance

What’s On In 2019 
Welsh Cinemas Reflect Global Issues on Screen 

Film Hub Wales (FHW), with Chapter as Hub Lead Organisation, are set to bring more fantastic films, to more people, in more places across Wales this year, through a series of new projects delivered by Welsh cinemas and film festivals. 

Working in partnership with exhibitors across the nation, events will explore globally significant issues from climate change, to exclusion and discrimination. 

The FHW audience development programme is designed to support innovative and adventurous cultural film programming Wales-wide, enabling exhibitors to make bold choices, bringing the very best British and international films to all audiences. 

Hana Lewis, Strategic Manager or Film Hub Wales explains: 

“It’s an exciting time to visit your local cinema, or film festival, with cinema admissions at their highest since the 1970s1. As we become increasingly conscious of societal, political and even planetary changes, film offers a world of enlightening stories, right on our doorsteps. Thanks to our creative network of exhibitors in Wales, we’re able to launch our first programme of film events for 2019, where new voices will be heard, global issues explored and community spaces formed.” 

The projects are supported by Film Hub Wales, part of the BFI Film Audience Network using funds from the National Lottery to ensure the greatest choice of cinema is available to everyone across the UK. 

2019 Projects

South Wales  

Gentle / Radical  (June 2019 – March 2020) 

Gentle/Radical ensure that the voices of those most marginalised, are heard through the presentation of powerful cinema. Going Deeper, Going Local is the first project to launch at their new base in Wyndham Street Community Hub, Riverside, Cardiff. Reaching out to minority ethnic audiences encompassing BAME women, BAME elders, BAME youth in both hyper-localised settings and across Cardiff, the project will explore how audiences are impacted by issues such as climate change, migration, colonialism, patriarchy and other experiences of exclusion and discrimination. 

Formed in 2017, Gentle/Radical is a grassroots cultural organisation and platform for radical thinking, creative practice and social change. They are currently running an online fundraiser to house their new cultural and community hub:  localgiving.org/appeal/gentle-radical-wyndham-centre/ 





North Wales  

Off Y Grid  (May 2019 – April 2020) 

Established in 2016. Off Y Grid (OYG) is a partnership between seven cinemas in North Wales who are working collectively to promote British independent and international film, including home-grown Welsh content. The project is designed to reduce rural isolation through affordable, connected events, generating anticipation around film releases in North Wales.   

In 2019, Off Y Grid will celebrate a number of key themes including Visit Wales’ Year of Discovery, the latest Welsh film releases and youth-led activities. They will build on the success of the pop-up cinema in Portmeirion, where audiences have no regular cinema provision and support a number of new collaborations in the North, such as Wicked Wales and Cell B around youth-led cinema.  

Off Y Grid venues include Galeri, Caernarfon; Pontio, Bangor; CELLB, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Neuadd Dwyfor in Pwllheli, Dragon Theatre in Barmouth, TAPE in Old Colwyn and Neuadd Ogwen, Bethesda. 




73 Degree Community (5th September – 12th December 2019) 

Sinema 73’ is a new community-led Cinema Club hosted in partnership with Ty Pawb in Wrexham. It has been established as an accessible club for film lovers in an area of North East Wales, where access to regular British and International cinema is otherwise limited. Every other Thursday from September to Christmas, Sinema 73 will screen a different film with a fun activity afterwards, from Q&As to live music performances. The programme is curated by a committee of dedicated film experts and members of local community groups. It features collaborative BAMER focused screenings with Watch Africa and Cinema Golau. 






Dragon Theatre Barmouth: (21st June 2019 – March 2020) 

Working with Gwynedd Arts as co-funders, Dragon Theatre will be organising a series of non-mainstream film and cross-arts events in Barmouth, drawing in new members of the community to enjoy their local cinema experience. Films such as Maiden, documenting the story of the first all-female Whitbread around the world Yacht race, will be explored with added value events for female audiences. Mainstream films will also be paired with B-movies to promote international cinema to the regular audience.  





TAPE: (June 2019-December 2019) 

TAPE will launch their first inclusion film festival in 2019, in partnership with Diverse Cyrmu. With specialists on the scientific model of disability, to neurodiverse filmmakers, the event will support new voices, training and supported employment across North Wales. TAPE will also run two special pop-up programmes including a Chapel of Horror weekend at Conwy Chapel and a series of screenings at Gaol Cell Cinema in Ruthin, in partnership with the local film archive.  

TAPE is a community arts charity which specialisted in bespoke, inclusive, person-led support for people of all ages. Since 2008, TAPE’s work has helped significant numbers of people to move out of isolated circumstances, find friends, build confidence and skills, move off benefits, enter further and higher education and training, and find employment. 






Abertoir (19th - 24th November 2019) 

The celebrated international horror film festival returns to Aberystwyth in November for six days of talks, guests, film with live commentary, educational presentations, Q&As with filmmakers, specially written articles, discussions, classic screenings and a selection of the newest films from major film festivals worldwide - all screening in Wales for the very first time. As the only UK representatives in the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation, Abertoir attracts attendees from all parts of the UK to Wales each year. Highlights to look out for include a masterclass in practical special effects, in-depth career interviews with directors Norman J Warren and Gary Sherman, and a celebration of British actor Donald Pleasence in his centenary year. 





Wales One World (WOW) (September 2019 – April 2020) 

Through their Global-Rural project, WOW are exploring the impact of globalisation on rural societies. Their World and Independent cinema programme for audiences living in rural west Wales will support local adults and young people with learning disabilities, in addition to refugee families, people living in rural/farming communities and Welsh speaking communities.  WOW work with a diverse range of community groups as part of a strategy to reach rural audiences and offer meeting ground for different groups to experience and discuss a variety of world cinema. The project aims to encourage debate and inspire communities by bringing rural audiences together to tackle isolation, foster common understanding and social cohesion.  





Across Wales  

Watch Africa (October 2019 – July 2020) 

Building on the first successful year of Watch Africa’s Film Club, which attracted over 300 people to screenings in both Wales and Africa, the Watch-Africa Festival are returning with a host of workshops, Q&As, masterclasses, live music and food across eight venues Wales wide. With African film accounting for just 2.56%2 of films screened across Wales, Watch Africa are working to improve the provision for African audiences in Wales by offering a regular film club, in addition to the main festival in October 2019.  



National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales (NSSAW)  (January – March 2020) 

In partnership with The Welsh Books Council / Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru, NSSAW will create ‘Picturing Our Past / Fframio’n Gorffenol’, an enhanced e-book on the history of Wales on screen. It will be launched alongside a series of special screenings, celebrating Welsh heritage throughout Wales, linking recent Welsh releases to important Welsh films of the past. 



Made in Wales 

Film Hub Wales celebrate Welsh stories, language and culture year-round through Made in Wales, a strategy designed to promote films with Welsh connections. Upcoming activities include: 


Shorts Bank (June 2019 – March 2020) 

Working with partners across the Welsh screen industry, FHW will develop a catalogue of short films Made in Wales, which will complement the existing catalogue of over 130 features. As this will be the first catalogue of its kind, the project will improve access for exhibitors to Welsh talent and make it easier to celebrate shorts filmmaking Made in Wales. The project will be searchable upon launch of the Hub's new website in 2019. 


Gwen (July – October 2019) 

Following its release in July, Gwen is set to screen at eight cinemas across Wales this summer. Set in the stark beauty of 19th Century Snowdonia, during the industrial revolution, Gwen struggles with her mother’s mysterious illness, her father’s absence and a ruthless mining company encroaching on their land. A growing darkness begins to take grip of her home, and the suspicious local community turns on Gwen and her family. Screenings in Wales include: 

Pontio, Bangor – 10th July

Chapter, Cardiff – 19th July 

Showcase Nantgarw - 19th July 

Aberystwyth Arts Centre – 19th July 

Neaudd Dwyfor, Pwhelli – 19th July 

Theatre Mwldan, Cardigan – 30th August

Theatre Colwyn – 2nd Sept

Sinema Sadwrn, Carmarthenshire - 2nd October  

Further screenings to be announced. 

Sinemaes (2nd - 10th August) 

FHW are delighted to support Sinemaes in its fourth year at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, with a programme of archive film in partnership with The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales. Events will feature a special celebration of pioneering Welsh filmmaker, Arthur Cheetham (1864 – 15 January 1937), with live accompaniment from Paul Shallcross and an introduction to reminiscence therapy through the National Library's Living Memory project with FHW. 



Phoenix Ton Pentre (July – November 2019) 

“Revisiting the past to understand the present and contribute to future local awareness.” 

For the third year, Phoenix Ton Pentre are developing their year-round audience for Welsh stories on screen. Pairing archive with new releases and sharing their memories of Welsh film through the ages, they will continue to make people aware of their Welsh Film Heritage. 



Wild Honey Pie! (14th June – 1st July) 

A nationwide tour of Wales of the film Wild Honey Pie! and director Jamie Adams (+ cast). The roadshow will take place in key Welsh cinemas and exhibitors, spreading travel costs across the consortium, and enabling filmmaking talent to visit more communities. 

Chapter, Cardiff – 14th, 15th and 16th June  

Cinema & Co, Swansea – 20th June  

Aberystwyth Arts Centre – 17th - 26th June  

Savoy Cinema, Monmouth – 17th - 21st June 

Galeri, Caernarfon – June TBC 


The Dark Crystal at Cardiff Mini Film Festival (22nd and 23rd June) 

Cardiff Mini Film Festival & Darkened Rooms present a special screening of The Dark Crystal in one of Cardiff's most unique buildings, the Masonic Temple - followed by a Q&A with Welsh puppeteer Toby Philpott, also famously known for being half of Jabba the Hut. They’ll also be exploring Welsh culture further through a screening of Jon Jones’ latest release, Last Summer. 




Further projects will be announced during 2019. For more information, or tickets to events, please contact:  

Megan David, Marketing Officer, on 02920 311 067 / megan@filmhubwales.org (part time Tues-Thurs),  

Lisa Nesbitt, Development Officer, on 02920 311 067 / lisa@filmhubwales.org,  

Hana Lewis, Strategic Manager, on 02920 353 740 hana@filmhubwales.org