WALES' Oldest cinema, the Market Hall Cinema in Brynmawr has been nominated for Cinema of the Year.

The cinema which faced closure last year is celebrating being nominated as Cinema Of The Year 2014 at the prestigious UK Screen Awards.

The cinema has been run by the Market Hall Brynmawr Community Group since its re-opening in June, 2013.

Huw Downey, of the Market Hall Brynmawr Community Group, said: "'We're over the moon. Just to have all our hard work acknowledged by our peers is absolutely thrilling."

Since taking over the venue, the community group has quadrupled the number of screenings, run all-night cult film screenings, hosted a children's film festival, and even runs weekly luncheon club screenings for adults with learning difficulties.

Earlier this year, they staged the World Premiere of the Universal Pictures film 'Svengali' and the debut screening of the latest film from Dirty Sanchez.

Bernard Snowball, the cinema's film booker, said: "We're getting old hands at staging Premieres." 'We've had film stars turn up on dumper trucks, Lambretta's and even monster trucks. I think film makers love to hold their most momentous nights in our historic cinema."

Peter Watkins-Hughes, a Brynmawr film director, said: "There is something truly magical about the Market Hall. Besides being the oldest, it's also got the best atmosphere of any cinema I ever been to.

"It's brilliant that its magic is being recognised nationally.

The battle to save the cinema galvanised hundreds last year.

In March 2013, angry protesters walked out of a Blaenau Gwent Council meeting in disgust after councillors voted in favour of approving the 2013/14 budget which would close the Market Hall Cinema.

During the meeting around 50 of the protesters filled the public gallery and watched as the council voted to pass the proposed budget.

At the time, council leader Hedley McCarthy said: “We do not want to close anything, but we are trying to recover from a £4 million shortfall in funding.

“We have already had a couple of parties express interest. We do not see this as the end."