Edinburgh Filmhouse building has been listed for sale

This is due to the collapse of The Centre for the Moving Image

Following the October announcement that Edinburgh’s Filmhouse, as well as Belmont Filmhouse in Aberdeen, have called in administrators due to the collapse of The Centre for the Moving Image (CMI), the charity which ran the cinemas, the Edinburgh Filmhouse building has been listed for sale.  This recent development has caused devastation amongst members of the public, some of whom have compared the cinema to a ‘second home’.

Filmhouse, which offered a free student membership that provided access to discounted £5 tickets and ‘£2 Tuesdays’, was an extremely important part of the student and wider community in Edinburgh. Many film enthusiasts are heartbroken to be seeing it go.  The cinema made the budget-friendly film accessible for students (something which was much appreciated in times when costs are rapidly rising), charging a fraction of the ticket prices of chains around the city.  It also acted as a social space which brought people from all over Edinburgh together.

The role Filmhouse played in creating an inclusive community was vital.  The venue hosted a range of very important events, such as the Queer East Film Festival, which was planned for the 1-6 October and would have showcased ‘rarely seen queer cinema from East and Southeast Asia’.  Plans were also in the works for screenings of LGBTQ+ film in honour of Valentine’s day next year.

All ages and abilities were catered for with weekly screenings of children’s films and baby and carer shows, as well as a range of accessibility provisions, including audio description, captions and British Sign Language interpreters.

Sadly, Filmhouse is not the first of its kind, as fellow Tollcross cinema Cameo was at risk of closing earlier this year.  The film industry has suffered massively since the Covid-19 pandemic, with Filmhouse reportedly losing 50 per cent of their audiences.  And with energy costs rising rapidly, things aren’t getting any easier for the city’s creative spaces, which play such a crucial role in our lives.

In the hopes of recovering the much-loved cinema, members of the community created a Facebook group titled ‘Save the Filmhouse, Edinburgh’ where a petition and ideas of how to help have been shared.  A vigil was held on the 12th of October, during which Filmhouse fans and staff gathered to light candles and share memories of the cinema.  An array of stories were told by emotional crowd members, who highlighted how Filmhouse, having served its community for so long, has brought joy to so many.

With the community coming together to show their support, it seemed that all hope was not lost for Filmhouse, and there were rumours that the cinema would receive funding to help it stay afloat. However, it is now confirmed that the building will be sold, with a closing date for offers of the 7th of December.  As a result, Edinburgh faces having to say a regretful goodbye to a much-loved hub for culture in the city.

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