Screen Scotland Independent Cinema Recovery Fund Recipients Announced

The Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy, Campbeltown Picture House and Regional Screen Scotland’s mobile cinema, the Screen Machine, are among 30 independent cinemas and two touring operators serving communities across Scotland to receive £3.55million from the Scottish Government’s Independent Cinema Recovery and Resilience Fund and The National Lottery, through Screen Scotland.

The Fund, which aims to bridge the immediate financial gap faced by independently owned cinemas as a result of COVID-19, will now support these cinemas who can operate in the short-term, within Scottish Government guidelines, and help others towards reopening, when it is safe to do so.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture said: “We understand the severe impact this pandemic has had on businesses across Scotland, including our independent cinemas which play such an important role in communities across the country.

“We have had to make some really difficult decisions recently that will impact on cinemas which have worked so hard to re-open safely, but we have to put health considerations above everything else and I hope this funding, along with the business support that will be available, will help independent cinemas cope with all the challenges they face.

“Culture is vitally important to all of our lives, and we are determined to do everything within our powers to see the sector through this crisis. This fund is part of the ongoing financial support the Scottish Government is making available to the sector.”

Sambrooke Scott, Head of Audience Development at Screen Scotland said: “Independent cinemas have always played a vital role in communities across Scotland, bringing people together to immerse themselves in great film experiences from filmmakers around the world, and around the corner.

“It’s been the most challenging of times for these hard-working venues but, with the help of this Scottish Government and National Lottery support, they will continue to open and operate safely as local restrictions allow. By putting stringent measures in place to protect staff and audiences alike they will open where able and bring the magic and escapism of cinema back, which is something we need now more than ever.”

Brian Hawkins from The Birks Cinema said: “The Birks Cinema, a community owned space in Highland Perthshire, is grateful for the funding received this week from Creative Scotland. Even without the restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19 it has been a challenging time for cinemas nationally.

“We have managed to fare better than many others and for that we are grateful to both our wonderful community who have supported us in amazing ways in recent months, and to our funders including Screen Scotland. This funding allows us to implement some very exciting plans to sustain the Birks Cinema as a major community asset and resource for Highland Perthshire.”

Robert Livingston, Director at Regional Screen Scotland said: “The Independent Cinema Recovery Fund is a crucial measure to help to sustain cinemas across Scotland.  At Regional Screen Scotland we’re very grateful for this support, as it will allow us to begin touring again with the Screen Machine, by compensating for the box office income lost through the need to maintain 2m physical distancing. This means we can bring at least some Christmas cheer to many smaller communities in the Highlands.”

Find a full list of the awards and more information on Screen Scotland’s website here.