Filmhouse was founded in 1979 as a public cinema at 88 Lothian Road. It grew out of the Edinburgh Film Guild, a longstanding membership-based organisation set up in 1930 to provide a showcase for the burgeoning ‘arthouse’ filmmaking not readily shown in commercial cinemas.
Filmhouse ran successfully for over 30 years as a unique venue in the City, showcasing popular arthouse films alongside the full gamut of cultural cinema. In 2010 the Centre for the Moving Image was formed by merging Filmhouse with the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF). In 2014 the Belmont Cinema in Aberdeen joined the CMI group of companies.
In October 2022, the CMI went into administration resulting in the closure of Filmhouse cinema, EIFF and the Belmont.
In the wake of that impasse, Creative Scotland rescued the EIFF brand and an edition of the film festival took place in August 2023 under the aegis of the Edinburgh International Festival. In Aberdeen, conversations led by the City Council continue, seeking a way to resurrect the Belmont. In Edinburgh, several groups – including Save The Filmhouse – quickly sprang up to fight to save Filmhouse. One of those groups set up a fundraiser in an attempt to buy the building at 88 Lothian Road in December 2022, but despite best efforts it was sold to Caledonian Heritable in late March 2023.
By July 2023, the same group, comprising former senior staff, had formed a new company called Filmhouse (Edinburgh) Ltd. and successfully applied for charitable status. With the full support of Creative Scotland/Screen Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council, and armed with a viable long term business plan to open and run the cinema once again as a standalone entity, Filmhouse (Edinburgh) Ltd. entered into a preliminary 6-month lease agreement with Caledonian Heritable to enable a period of fundraising, aiming to re-open as early as possible in 2024.
And so we take the first steps towards opening the doors of a new Filmhouse, in its former home.
Filmhouse Crowdfunder supporter comment
Filmhouse (Edinburgh) Ltd. is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland, SC753872;
and a registered charity in Scotland, SC052643, regulated by the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).
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