Readers' letters: Filmhouse administrators need to see the full picture - Readers' letters

I was surprised to see that before a successful bid for the Filmhouse property in Lothian Road Edinburgh has been announced, that at least two bids which promised to restore an independent film facility in Edinburgh have been rejected (News, 14 December).
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The administrators are surely duty bound to examine all bids together and use the same criteria in making an assessment of the total value of the bid to Edinburgh.

In a standard commercial insolvency it is generally acceptable, if not required, to simply accept the highest cash bid. However, because of the charitable nature and status of Filmhouse, different criteria in this instance ought to include the future provision or otherwise of arthouse cinema in Edinburgh, the provision of employment for those who have lost jobs and not least to take into account and perhaps even repay at least some, if not all, of the not insignificant amount of public money which has been channelled into Filmhouse over the years from many public bodies, including The British Film Institute, Edinburgh City Council and Scottish Screen/Creative Scotland, not to mention the generous start-up contribution made by the Edinburgh Film Guild.

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The Scottish Government should be holding the administrators to account for the total amount of public funds injected into Filmhouse to create a different perspective of the value of the individual bids and the intentions of the bidders.

An image from Gregory’s Girl was projected on to the Filmhouse building as part of the campaign to save the cinemaAn image from Gregory’s Girl was projected on to the Filmhouse building as part of the campaign to save the cinema
An image from Gregory’s Girl was projected on to the Filmhouse building as part of the campaign to save the cinema

Graham Berry, Hawick

Freedom of speech

in an incident which can only be described as an embarrassment for Edinburgh University, freedom of speech was defeated by a handful of students who felt entitled to physically block and verbally abuse attendees wishing to see the screening of a documentary and take part in a subsequent discussion (News, 16 December). Regrettably, it seems that there were not sufficient security arrangements which would have ensured that those wishing to see the film were able to access the venue unmolested and the event to go ahead.

The film in question is titled Adult Human Female. It features interviews mainly with women from diverse backgrounds in which they share their views on women’s rights, boundaries based on sex and the experience of being silenced when expressing their concerns. However, the documentary has been labeled by some as “transphobic” and “hate propaganda”. It is available online, free to see for everyone to make up their own mind about it. After watching it I fail to detect which parts exactly are transphobic or hateful. The vast majority would find little to disagree with.

Maybe this is actually the reason for the attempts to deny the documentary a live audience and discussion: because it might lead to the discovery that the women featuring in the film either have a point or at least should be listened to.

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Event organisers have every right to screen the film and it is the civic right of attendees to see and discuss it. There is a word for describing the actions designed to suppress these rights and to forcibly deny others to exercise them: totalitarian.

Regina Erich, Stonehaven

Fiscal restraints

John Swinney complains about the 'fiscal restraints' of devolution; he has a point, but not the one he indicates! The real fiscal problem of devolution is that Holyrood is not responsible for raising the cash it spends.

We know from the annual GERS figures that Scotland would be in real trouble if it had to do so; it would mean big spending cuts and big tax rises, and lose the ability to blame Westminster!

William Ballantine, Bo’ness

Write to the Edinburgh Evening News

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