Samantha Morton (Walking Dead) and Tom Felton (Harry Potter) star in a new independent Welsh film, ‘Save the Cinema’, which tells the true story of the fight to save Carmarthenshire’s Lyric Theatre.
The Sky Original film is set to release on 14 January 2022, at a crucial time for Welsh cinemas. Many have reported a reduction of 50-70% in audiences since the introduction of the COVID pass in Wales, with some even considering temporary closure.
Directed by Rhyl born, Sara Sugarman, the film is inspired by extraordinary real-life events sparked by tenacious hairdresser Liz Evans (Samantha Morton). Set in Carmarthen in 1993, the town council made the unwelcome announcement that the much-loved Lyric Theatre would be demolished and a shopping centre built in its place. With the help of postman turned town councillor Richard (Tom Felton) they write to Hollywood to ask for a helping hand. One late night phone call later and one of Hollywood’s most legendary filmmakers throws The Lyric a monster-sized lifeline and a premiere Carmarthen will never forget. Save the Cinema illustrates how the resolve of a small Welsh town, inspired by the magic of cinema, was able to bring Tinseltown to their doorstep.
Hana Lewis, Film Hub Wales’ Strategic Manager, said: “Having this message about the value of cinema to our communities, wrapped up in a Welsh film at this moment in time, feels like a gift. Cinemas have fought tirelessly to remain open for their audiences throughout COVID, offering crucial services that have tackled isolation during the pandemic. To avoid closures, cinemas need us to turn up for them now and show our support. With a feel good film like Save the Cinema, that reflects our Welsh community spirit, it feels like a great opportunity to do just that.”
Film Hub Wales are promoting the film in partnership with Sky Cinema, as part of their Made in Wales strategy, which celebrates films with Welsh connections. Audiences will be able to access specially created interviews and reviews via ‘The Whole Story’ series. FHW believe that watching diverse Welsh stories on screen can help to shape our sense of national and cultural identity, challenging not only how we see ourselves but how the world around us sees Wales.
Gareth Bailey, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, explains: “Cinema is our heritage, it’s the past and the future. It can bring to life any moment of time or place, whether real or imagined. The cinema is the place where filmmakers can share their dreams with audiences all across the world, and where audiences can come together to share the communal experience of enjoying a film together. Cinema shares an equally important role in our heritage as theatre or literature, and can capture a magical moment on film that will be with us forever.”
Pauline Burt, CEO of Ffilm Cymru Wales, who invested into the production of Save the Cinema, along with Creative Wales said: “As proud funders of Sara Sugarman’s Save the Cinema, we’re excited to see people across Wales enjoy this heart-warming, homegrown story in the perfect place - their local cinemas. The cast and crew worked with the local community to bring some Hollywood wonder to Wales during these tough times, and now we can’t wait to Save the Cinema with you!”
Made in Wales offers a host of year-round activities in partnership with Welsh exhibitors, which aim to promote Welsh films to audiences, including a film catalogue which hosts over 1000 shorts and features with Welsh connections.
Made in Wales is made possible thanks to funding from Creative Wales along with National Lottery funding from the BFI (British Film Institute), via its Film Audience Network (FAN). Film Hub Wales develop audiences for British independent and international film year-round, funds in Wales are administered by FHW via Chapter as the Film Hub Lead Organisation.
More than £30M is raised each week for good causes across the UK by the National Lottery.
Save the Cinema will be in cinemas and on Sky from 14 January 2022.
Save the Cinema is screening at Chapter 21-27 January. Book your tickets.