Edinburgh Filmhouse Could Re-Open As Soon As October

Submitted by edg on Mon, 25 Mar '24 7.26am
Edinburgh Filmhouse front of house

Cherished arthouse cinema Edinburgh Filmhouse could be re-opening its doors again as early as October this year after being awarded a £1.5 million grant from the UK Government.

Former Filmhouse staff have been leading a campaign to save the cinema since it was sold off in October 2022, after parent organisation the Centre for the Moving Image collapsed.

The campaign group Filmhouse (Edinburgh) Ltd has reached a lease deal agreement with new owners and are closing in on a £300,000 target in a crowdfunding campaign.

On Friday, the campaign announced on its Facebook page:

“Well, folks. Although we still need a few more pounds to close the entire circle of funding, we are *ecstatic* to announce that Filmhouse (Edinburgh) Ltd. have been successful in their bid for UK Government Community Ownership Fund investment, and have been awarded a grant of £1.5 million.”

“This sum, along with the required £400K of match funding (which includes the amount raised by the crowdfunder) means that we can go ahead and sign a lease, and start the refurbishment work that will enable us to open the doors to the modern, comfortable venue that Filmhouse audiences deserve.”

Renovation work is expected to start in May after signing a lease agreement with owners Caledonian Heritable, with the earliest completion date being in the Autumn.

Ginnie Atkinson, Director of the Filmhouse (Edinburgh) Ltd., hopes that the revamped cinema will be able to open on 6th October, two years after the cinema closed.

The 5 or 6 months of renovation work will include replacing old, threadbare seats with more spacious and comfortable seating in all three existing screens and adding a fourth small, multi-use screen which will be used for education activities as well as hosting the cinema’s anticipated 80+ titles a month.

The café-bar - a popular spot for post- and pre-film meetings - and foyer area will be renovated (removing the large box office) to increase space and light.

Other improvements will include better access around the building, particularly Cinema 2,  enhanced acoustics, improved heating and ventilation in the cinemas, an upgrade to the public toilets, and energy efficiency work (the cinema faced an eye-watering energy bill before closing down).

Speaking about the award Atkinson said: “Many have dreamed of Filmhouse re-opening and this will make it possible not just to re-open but to create a fully refurbished cinema venue that meets modern audience expectations.”