Campaign hopes to raise £2m to save Filmhouse
Movie fans have set a tight deadline to raise £2 million which they hope will save the Edinburgh Filmhouse following its closure last month as a result of rising costs and falling income.
A group within Edinburgh Film Guild hope to hit the target by 7 December in order to buy the building in Lothian Road which was also the home of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF).
The building was put up for sale after parent company the Centre for the Moving Image (CMI) – which also ran the Belmont Filmhouse in Aberdeen – went into administration with the loss of 102 jobs and piece of Scottish culture. A Save the Belmont Cinema campaign is also under way in Aberdeen.
They were victims of a combination of sharply increasing energy and other costs, together with the lasting impacts of the pandemic and the rapidly emerging cost of living crisis affecting cinema attendances.
The Edinburgh Film Guild is billed as the oldest cinema society in the world, and launched the inaugural EIFF in 1947. Its campaign involves ex-head of programming at Filmhouse Rod White; former head technician David Boyd; programme manager James Rice; and Filmhouse CEO Ginnie Atkinson. Edinburgh Film Guild chair Jim Dunnigan and secretary Phil Denning are also lending support.
A statement from the group said: “A well-publicised crowd-funder is the only way to open up to everyone the opportunity of contributing financially, be it individuals or philanthropic donors – those who care about the continued operation of Filmhouse and who are shocked by the idea of its loss.
“Last week a call went out to the Scottish Government and the City of Edinburgh Council to purchase the building. It is anticipated that raising a significant sum will encourage the public funders’ support.”
Actor Jack Lowden added: “As a past resident of Edinburgh, never mind as an actor, the idea of our capital losing such an important cultural centre is deeply saddening.
“With the Scottish film industry growing faster and faster, it’s more important than ever to have a truly independent platform in our city. And just as importantly, a welcoming place to have a great night out. The Filmhouse must be saved! Mon the Hoose!”