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22/07/2003

Joint Irish and Welsh industry review announced

Sgrîn Cymru Wales and the Arts Council of Ireland have given the go-ahead for most comprehensive study of cinema in Wales and Ireland ever undertaken.
The research will seek to outline the economic and cultural impact that the media has had upon the two nations.
The contract to compile the data has been awarded to the Inglis Todd Consultancy - independent arts and media consultants that have worked within the sector for over 10 years.
The company has a strong track record of delivering similar projects and have worked for an extensive range of clients including the British Film Institute, the UK Film Council, local authorities (including Denbighshire County Council on the Prestatyn Scala Cinema and Arts Centre Redevelopment Project), and arts and media production organisations.
Approximately £60,000 of match funding from the Ireland/Wales Interreg Iiia Community Initiative Programme: ERDF 2000-2006 has ensured that this all-important study is able to go ahead, and can employ such high calibre consultants.
The project will include a detailed Cinema Audit in Wales and Ireland, concentrating on Interreg Zones, but taking account of the countries as a whole, while also examining the potential for future co-operation across the Irish Sea, and for setting up joint initiatives between the two regions.
"With the approaching implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act (UK) in 2004, and major technical changes within the cinema sector with the possible imminent introduction of digital cinema, the need for specialised research of this kind is imperative if Wales is to keep up with the rest of the world when it comes to cinema-going." said Rhian Iolo, Exhibition Manager at Sgrîn.
It has recently become apparent that sections of the Sgrîn Exhibition Policy - The Way Forward are currently yet to be satisfied and that some cinema buildings in Wales are structurally and economically in decline. The Way Forward Policy encourages access to a range of screenings of the moving image in the best possible environment and an attempt to ensure that the public in all areas of Wales has access to programmes of mainstream and cultural cinema within 40 minutes’ drive time or via the public transport network. Preliminary research indicates that this is not the case and a recent report published by the Arts Council of Ireland entitled, Developing Cultural Cinema in Ireland, revealed similar issues in the Republic.
Following a research and consultation period lasting until the early Autumn, the final report findings and recommendations will be published and launched in Wales during the Focus on Exhibition conference at the Cardiff Screen Festival in November 2003. The report will be launched in Ireland in early Spring 2004.
(GB)
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