Edinburgh International Film Festival and Filmhouse in administration: We must save them, it's a no-brainer! – Susan Dalgety
My first visit to the cinema was in 1962 to see that Edinburgh classic, Greyfriars Bobby.
I still remember the thrill of darkness and the hushed silence before the screen exploded with Disney’s technicolour fantasy, described on the original film poster as about a “bewitching little Skye terrier who lived an astonishing adventure and sparked a city-wide uproar”.
I was captivated from the first reel, just as I was a couple of weeks ago by my most recent cinematic adventure, Moonage Daydream, the glorious documentary about David Bowie.
That’s the magic of movies – for a few hours they transport you to another world, whether you’re a six-year-old country child, thrilled by the story of a loyal dog in a big city, or that same little girl, 60 years later, reduced to tears by images of a dead rock star.
That is why it is dreadful news that Edinburgh’s Filmhouse and the city’s renowned International Film Festival have ceased trading after the charity that runs them, the Centre for the Moving Image, went into administration.
It’s a devastating blow for everyone employed at the Filmhouse and the Festival. It’s terrible for the movie buffs who flock to Scotland’s leading arthouse cinema to see the latest in contemporary cinema, or even those of us who like popping into the café bar for a quick espresso.
And it is heart-breaking that, in its 75th year, the Edinburgh International Film Festival has shut down.
The Scottish Government and the city council must now hold urgent talks with the industry to get both these Edinburgh institutions back up and running, and on a sound financial footing.
There are so many demands on the public purse just now, and no doubt there will be those who argue that bailing out a cinema is not a priority, but the Filmhouse is much more than that.
It, and the Festival, are significant cultural organisations and they have also been central to the growth of Scotland’s lucrative film industry.
A recent report by Screen Scotland showed that, before Covid struck, the screen sector contributed more than half a billion pounds a year to the economy and provided 10,000 jobs.
Saving the Filmhouse and film festival is a no-brainer.