Cinema goers have been welcomed back to Snowcat Cinema at Penarth Pavilion for the first time in 522 days, with screenings selling out in a matter of hours.
Speaking to Bro Radio's Vale this week, Snowcat Cinemas Creative Director Ben Rive said it was amazing to welcome people back.
"It seems like such a long time, but at the same time it feels like its gone in a flash. When we all turned up last Thursday to reopen, volunteers arrived and it felt we had just been closed for a weekend. It was great, the families back together."
Despite being closed, Snowcat and its creative director have remained active on social media, making regular free film recommendations, watch parties, quizzes and hosting a radio show on Penarth Sounds, to keep his loyal audience interested which Ben says "seems to have worked, as the audience hasn't gone away".
Snowcat Cinema is an independent Cinema showing repertory and cult classics, contemporary independent film and lesser-known gems, in a unique location at Penarth Pavilion with just 68 seats. Despite restrictions easing, Ben says the keeping customers safe has been very challenging.
"Even though the rules allowed us to reopen in May, it was just impossible to open the doors because the social distancing probably meant we could only get half a dozen people in for each screening and there is no leeway on how much it costs to put the film on, whether you have 2 people or 100 people - so I really just couldn't afford to open the doors until we could get more people in the room."
"We have opened now with a reduced capacity of around 30, instead of 68 that was possible before and that's so that each person or group has a social distancing bubble around them."
"If you book two seats there will automatically be another seat either end of your allocated booking, as well as the seats infront and behind of you, which is more than most cinemas are doing these days. Its our first foray into coming back and I wanted to make it really safe and welcoming for people who haven't been to the cinema yet anywhere else."
In the weeks to come, Snowcat Cinema is showing screenings of The Sparks Brothers, Now Voyager, Jazz on a summer's day, Nomadland and The French Connection.
Find out more via www.snowcatcinema.co.uk