Film Hub Wales commissioned Wavehill (with support from Clwstwr, Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre and Bangor University) to explore how increased engagement with films with a Welsh connection could support the Welsh screen sector and develop audiences for Welsh films.
The research explored barriers to exhibiting films with a Welsh connection, promotional support available and how cinema exhibition has been supported in other countries, as well as exploring the potential for a Made In Wales brand. If viable, this could support ambitions to celebrate Welsh stories on screen, making Welsh connections recognisable, as films stand alongside independent and foreign language titles worldwide.
With feedback from over 50 strategic screen partners, it examines strengths, challenges and perceptions of identity within the screen industry in Wales. It also explores international examples of best practice from Sweden, Canada and Ireland, that can support next steps.
You can read the full report here. The key findings detailed both cultural and economic reasons why greater engagement with Welsh film can be beneficial to Wales from inward investment, to support for indigenous communities and greater cultural confidence
- An integrated Welsh film strategy that includes a role for exhibition and distribution:
- Film Hub Wales and other stakeholders (e.g. Ffilm Cymru Wales, Creative Wales, UK distributors etc) should work together to develop a more integrated screen strategy for Wales, which recognises the importance of supporting exhibition and distribution, as well as investment in skills that support film production.
- Developing an information service: To support exhibition, an online platform could enable audiences to find out where Welsh films are showing in cinemas, festivals and on VOD, such as Seeitall in Canada.
- Data Collection: Film Hub Wales and stakeholders should collate, analyse and share data where possible, working in partnership with bodies such as Comscore and the Film Distributors Association. A benchmark for Welsh film could be used to monitor performance and improve evaluation strategy.
- Explore Welsh identity: Film Hub Wales should engage with other key stakeholders to establish a commonly agreed Welsh film identity as the basis for a Welsh film brand, that challenges traditional perceptions and presents the diverse experiences of Welsh communities. Any future brand development should be consistent with the themes underpinning other branding initiatives in Wales, including a focus on Welsh history, landscape and the diverse communities living in Wales in 2020. Such a brand is likely to require significant financial investment along with buy in from distribution and other stakeholders, to have cut-through and an impactful implementation, so that Welsh film can reach domestic and international markets more extensively (including through film festivals).