Campaign launched to save the Edinburgh International Film Festival and Filmhouse
Kristy Matheson, the guest director for this year’s festival, and Rod White, longtime head of programming at the Filmhouse, are among those supporting the launch of the campaign. Life, The Illusionist and Local Hero were broadcast on Salisbury Crags and other city landmarks to announce the official launch of a bid to revive cultural institutions weeks after their operator was plunged into administration. concerns over a risk of insolvency in mid-September despite receiving more than £5million in government funding since the start of the pandemic.
Statements of support for the EIFF and the Filmhouse have been added to film stills of Bill Douglas, Spike Lee, Agnes Varda, Bill Forsyth and Akira Kurosawa as part of the campaign.
Edinburgh-based filmmaker and former EIFF director Mark Cousins, behind the screenings, said: “The campaign will bring together interested people across the city and further afield to lobby, monitor developments, advocate, share information, ensure transparency and raise funds.”
Matheson, who moved from Australia just over a year ago to take on his role at EIF, said: “Independent cinemas bring light and joy to local communities, a space for us to be together, commune with great directors, be energized by new voices, and take comfort in knowing that no matter what the day has in store, you can hit the movies, see familiar faces at the box office, and settle into your favorite seat to travel to a new place and come out with your emotional reservoir refueled – long live the cinema!”
White, who led Filmhouse’s programming team for over 20 years, said: “The notable silver lining to the dark cloud of CMI’s demise and Filmhouse’s closure has been the outpouring of love for the cinema and the EIFF, and the clear determination of a huge number of people to do something about it.
More than 22,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the bailout of EIF and Filmhouse cinemas since they ceased operations with immediate effect and lost more than 100 jobs in early October.
The petition was started by filmmaker Paul Sng and Amanda Rogers, founder of Edinburgh-based film events company Cinetopia.
Sng said, “Movie theaters have provided me with extraordinary experiences since I was four years old.
“They are a perceptual doorway to explore the human condition – I find great joy in watching a movie on the big screen in the dark with an audience.
“It is vital that independent cinemas such as Filmhouse exist to provide us with the opportunity to experience films in this way.”
Rogers said: “The Filmhouse was one of the first places I visited when I arrived in Edinburgh and a huge draw for me to move to this city.
“It has become so much more for me and for many others who are part of the film community here.
“It is a vital cultural hub and one of the only exhibition spaces that has showcased the work and curation of countless local and UK film festivals, filmmakers and independent exhibitors to local audiences.”