Open the Doors!
Filmhouse can re-open but we need your help.
Edinburgh can have its unique cultural cinema, its home for film festivals, its friendly community hub, its 80+ film titles a month – many of which will not screen at any other cinema in the city – its top-flight technical presentation, its centrally located welcoming café-bar, all in 88 Lothian Road; but we need your help to make this happen.
Over the next six months we will be planning and fundraising to create a new, improved Filmhouse in the place we know and love in the heart of the City.
The goal is to open a new Filmhouse that continues to deliver the same sheer diversity of film programming as was ever the case; the most exceptional range of cultural film all year round – in a revitalised cinema building.
We are now in advanced negotiations on a long lease with the new owners of 88 Lothian Road, Caledonian Heritable, and have entered into an interim six-month agreement with them to enable a period of fundraising, aiming to re-open in 2024. Currently, Caledonian Heritable are making a significant investment in much needed repairs to the fabric of the building.
In order to get the new Filmhouse up and running, funds are needed for a refurbishment and the preparations for opening. So we need to raise a significant sum – ideally on the order of £1.25m – from a number of sources, including public funders, philanthropy and your essential generosity.
We’re setting an initial target of £250,000 for this Crowdfunder. This would be enough to cover crucial maintenance and essential improvements such as re-stepping and re-seating the cinemas, improved accessibility in screen 2 and improved toilet facilities. If, with your help, we meet this initial target, then we will set a new target to help fund other areas, such as the reconfiguration and renovation of the foyer and Café-Bar.
The challenge is for Filmhouse to thrive for the long term. We plan to create an environment that people want to spend their time in and keep coming back to. A refit is long overdue and we believe it’s fundamental to making Filmhouse an attractive cinema venue – one that is also a sustainable business.
The full scope of the refurbishment, if funds allow, would see a refit of the cinemas with new seating and more leg room in all three screens; improved access around the building, particularly to Cinema 2; improved acoustics and heating/ventilation in the cinemas; renovation of the public toilets; and refurbishment of the Café-Bar and foyer areas to increase space and light. We’ll also be prioritising energy efficiency as part of a programme of future proofing. And if we can stretch as far as we dare to hope in raising funds, we’ll create a small fourth screen that would transform Filmhouse’s potential for the future.
The ambition is to deliver a comprehensively appealing all round customer experience that will make Filmhouse a venue that can better attract new audiences, as well as providing a more comfortable place for the loyal audiences we know are eager to return to one of Edinburgh’s true cultural institutions.
Filmhouse cinema was known for presenting the most ambitious and diverse cinema programme in the UK outside the BFI Southbank, as well as a long-established education programme, which will continue. It operated successfully at 88 Lothian Road from 1979 until October 2022, when it closed due to its parent company, the CMI, going into administration.
We are a group of former colleagues who have formed a new company, Filmhouse (Edinburgh) Ltd. We are armed with a viable, long term business plan to restore and improve Edinburgh’s unique cultural cinema. Similar to the original Filmhouse, for which serving the public good through cultural and educational activity was fundamental, the new company has charitable status.
We have the support of the City of Edinburgh Council and Creative Scotland/Screen Scotland, who have provided initial development funding in anticipation of a long-term lease and reopening.
Heeding the cry to save Filmhouse, many people have given their time and energy in different ways, driven by the belief that it is unthinkable for a city such as Edinburgh not to have a cinema like Filmhouse. Since November 2022 a huge amount of work has gone on in pursuit of re-opening.
The prospect of saving Filmhouse is more real now. We need your support more than ever. We can sign the lease and set an opening date as soon as we know we have the funds to cover the core necessities. We hope to raise enough to go well beyond that, and really transform the cinema for the better.
If you are a UK taxpayer, you can increase the value of your donation by 25% by adding Gift Aid.
If you are considering a donation over £5000, we'd welcome a conversation with you.
Contact us on [email protected]
Help us open the doors again!
For more information (including FAQs) and to join our mailing list, please visit filmhouse.org.uk. We'll send news and updates via our mailing list and also via Crowdfunder to anyone who donates – remember to stay 'opted in' for updates!
In the event that we are unable to raise sufficient funds through Crowdfunder and from other sources to re-open Filmhouse, all pledges made will be refunded in full, including those made on this Crowdfunder. If the overall project can move forward, then we will use funds donated via this Crowdfunder whether or not the Crowdfunder target level is achieved. [For the avoidance of doubt, all pledges made to the previous Crowdfunder that was run in Nov/Dec 2022 were refunded in full to the donors, back in December 2022. ]
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).
Directors: James Rice, Rod White, David Boyd, Ginnie Atkinson and Mike Davidson.
Additional information about Filmhouse is available on our website.
Creative Scotland’s film arm Screen Scotland, who with Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council have been working to secure a future for cultural cinema in the city across the months since the CMI’s collapse, are collaborating with Filmhouse (Edinburgh) Ltd. on the plans for the new era at Filmhouse.
The Café-bar would be operated by Filmhouse, not, as rumoured, by Caledonian Heritable. Profits will be covenanted to the charity.
We hope that Edinburgh International Film Festival would once again make its home in Filmhouse.
Filmhouse is a cinema with a mission and a place where all are welcome.