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Petition launched by filmmakers to save top independent cinemas and festival

A PETITION has been launched by filmmakers and cinema fans to save the Edinburgh International Film Festival, The Filmhouse Cinema and Café Bar in Edinburgh and the Belmont Filmhouse in Aberdeen.

The group got together after the closures were announced on Thursday. Further collective efforts are planned in Edinburgh and hopefully Aberdeen.

At the time of publication the petition had reached 800 signatures. 

The petition was started by Paul Sng, a filmmaker based in Edinburgh and Amanda Rogers from Cinetopia. The pair said they also received input and support from a community of filmmakers and cinema fans, many from the city but also from other parts of the UK.

The charity which runs the venues and event have faced the “perfect storm of sharply rising costs”. Media in Aberdeen reported that workmen were on the Belmont site changing the locks after the news was announced.

READ MORE: Edinburgh and Aberdeen Filmhouse cinemas shut with immediate effect as administrators called in

Sng said the community were first shocked, but this was quickly followed by solidarity with the 102 people who lost their jobs without warning. He added:

“Since yesterday evening 150 people have signed up to work on it. We’re meeting for the first-time next week, and this will be a collective effort from our communities in Edinburgh and hopefully Aberdeen and further afield.”

The main goal of the petition is to show the level of love and support for the spaces and the event. Sng said it is also to encourage those in a position to save them to preserve these essential cultural institutions.

Film lover Theresa Valtin said it was “difficult to comprehend how no one had any idea this was going to happen”. She added:

“Yesterday’s news came as a real shock, for me personally, for audiences and the film community, and of course for staff. I think a lot of us are now wondering what has been tried before the Board came to this decision.”

Members of the public who signed the petition have commented on the page why they are pledging support. One supporter wrote:

“Movies are for everyone. To lose the cultural space and unique programming that Filmhouse and EIFF provides would be a crushing loss to the city.”

Another said:

“I just cannot imagine Edinburgh without the Filmhouse and EIFF. It is such a wonderful, individual space to go to. We need places like the Filmhouse and its cafe/bar to maintain the character of the city or it will be lost to global chains and faceless corporations. The EIFF brings excitement and a bit of glamour to our sometimes-dour streets. Surely something can be done?”

A spokesperson for Creative Scotland said: “We are saddened by the news from CMI, the loss of employment, of cultural cinema programming in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and the impact on the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

“We are working to explore future options for such cinema programming in both Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and for Edinburgh International Film Festival’s 2023 edition.”

To support the petition, click HERE.



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