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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 March, 2005, 10:54 GMT
Hopkins tribute for cinema owner
Brian Bull
Brian Bull was presented with the award in Cardiff on Friday night
The former owner of a string of cinemas in south Wales has been recognised for his contribution to Welsh film culture.

Brian Bull, who ran the Monico in Cardiff as well as screens in Swansea, Barry, and Bargoed, was presented with the Anthony Hopkins Award for 2005.

He is the sixth recipient of the award, organised by SgrÓn Cymru Wales.

SgrÓn said Mr Bull had championed independent cinema and battled the rise of the new multiplexes before the Monico closed for good two years ago.

Mr Bull fell in love with movies at an early age and in his teens ran a mobile cinema in his local village of Talgarth, near Brecon.

Although best known for managing the Monico, the last independent cinema in Cardiff, he also played a part in building Screen 2 at the city's Chapter Arts Centre.

"The award was a complete surprise. Independent cinemas were run for the love of cinema and that was always my motive," he said.

"With the multiplexes there is no fun in it anymore."

Crocodile Dundee
Crocodile Dundee ran at the Monico Cinema for 29 weeks

Looking back to the 1970s and 1980s, when people queued around the block to see the big releases, he said the advent of multi-screen cinemas had brought about a decline in the quality of films and made it more difficult for smaller movies to find an audience.

"The longest run we had in Cardiff was Crocodile Dundee, which played for 29 weeks. That would never happen now.

"When a big film opens now, like the new Star Wars coming in May, the multiplexes will have four prints with showings every half hour.

"Within three weeks everyone who wants to see will have done so and there will be no audience for it left.

"If a film is allowed to play for longer it gets time to build up a bit of a reputation.

"A lot of films these days are aimed at the 16 to 25 age group and they like the effects stuff."

Sir Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins sent a personal message of congratulations

But he said they tended to only visit the cinema on weekends and the multiplexes should make a bigger effort to screen more adult films during the week.

As part of the award, presented at the Chapter Arts Centre in front of Mr Bull's friends, family and colleagues on Friday, he received a framed caricature of Hopkins.

The Hollywood based Welsh actor also sent a personal message of congratulations to Mr Bull.

""It's good to see that your hard work and devotion in running a series of cinemas across south Wales has now been recognised," said Hopkins.

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