Edinburgh to revive free outdoor cinema screenings ahead of Film Festival return
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Edinburgh is to revive its programme of free outdoor cinema screenings this summer – more than a month before the return of its film festival.
Film fans will be able to return to St Andrew Square for a long weekend of old and new movies.
Business group Essential Edinburgh, which is responsible for the garden at the heart of the square, has announced plans for the event, which has been rebranded Square Cinema for its latest incarnation.
The un-ticketed event, which is billed as “the UK’s largest free outdoor cinema experience”, will see pop-up bars brought into the square, while film fans will be encouraged to bring picnics to screenings.
Unique Events, the Edinburgh-based company that has previously produced the screenings in the square on behalf of Essential Edinburgh, will also be working on the coming event, which will be staged from June 23-25.
Mean Girls, Back to the Future and Dirty Dancing will be shown on the opening day of the festival, while Saturday’s line-up features Encanto, The Wizard of Oz, Hairspray, Elvis and Rocketman.
Lyle Crocodile, Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical, Local Hero, Dr Strange in the Multiverse and Top Gun – Maverick will be shown on the Sunday.
The free screenings in the square have previously been staged in collaboration with the Edinburgh International Film Festival, with the last two going ahead in August to coincide with the main event.
The film festival faced an uncertain future in the autumn after the collapse of its parent company, the Centre for the Moving Image.
However, a scaled-back edition of the festival will be going ahead in August, as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, after funding support was agreed by the Scottish Government, Screen Scotland and Edinburgh City Council.
Essential Edinburgh has agreed to fund Square Cinema via the levies paid by its members.
Chief executive Roddy Smith said: “Essential Edinburgh is delighted to bring this fantastic event to St Andrew Square for the 13th year. We have a new name, and a new look for 2023, but the same epic outdoor movie experience.
“Square Cinema is only possible thanks to the superb partnership between Essential Edinburgh, our supporters and the production team at Unique Events. As always, it is a fantastic mix of movies that can be enjoyed for free in the stunning surroundings of Edinburgh’s most famous square.
"We look forward to welcoming people to what is one of the best free events of the year.”
As well as the programmes in St Andrew Square, Unique Events has previously worked on film festival screenings at Port Edgar Marina, The Mound, the Grassmarket and outside the City Chambers.
Director Al Thomson said: “We can’t wait to welcome audiences back to St Andrew Square later this month to experience another packed weekend of spectacular outdoor cinema. Square Cinema has something for everyone. Essential Edinburgh and the city centre businesses ensuring there is free admission to all it is great news for our family audiences and the city.”
The programme for this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival will be announced early next month.
The Edinburgh International International Festival has already announced plans to stage a free event in Charlotte Square Garden, in the city’s west end, on its closing weekend.