The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) will be rolling out the red carpet at the Festival Theatre for the first time this June. The theatre has secured £245,000 in funding from the Scottish Government to install new digital cinema facilities.
The theatre, which sees major live theatre, music, opera and dance performances throughout the year, will be able to screen a variety of film formats including 35 mm.
“This project will put Edinburgh firmly in the spotlight as a venue for movie premieres, and enhance Scotland’s digital cinematic offering," said Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop.
“The new cinema facilities will be ready for this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, showcasing the venue to a worldwide audience of film distributors, while providing a fantastic new venue for film fanatics in Scotland."
Installation of the new equipment will create Scotland’s largest digital cinema and provide a 1,600 seat film venue with quality front-of-house facilities. Work will start immediately to ensure the new cinema facility is up and running for this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Last year, the EIFF responded to criticisms that the Fountainbridge multiplex at Cineworld was lacking ambiance and style for a major film festival, by investigating the potential of using the Festival Theatre for premieres, including holding a public test screening.
The festival theatre is a short walk away from the boarded up Clerk Street Odeon which saw many EIFF premieres over the years, such as The Thomas Crown Affair.
John Stalker, Chief Executive of Festival City Theatres Trust, the organisation that runs the Festival Theatre said he was "thrilled' to be part of the film festival:
“We are so excited. Together with our soon to be constructed rehearsal facility, the installation of digital cinema completes the original vision and ambition for the Festival Theatre to be Scotland’s pre-eminent national centre for the creative arts."
“We look forward to working with the Edinburgh International Film Festival, providing it with an elegant and dramatic setting for its red carpet events, screenings and premieres. Throughout the year we also hope to enrich our programme with unique film presentations as well as ultimately broadcasting work performed at the Festival Theatre to other venues around Scotland and beyond."
Hannah McGill, Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival said: “'We at EIFF are tremendously excited to add the spectacular Festival Theatre to our list of valued venue partners throughout the city. This is a terrific boost for the Festival and for Edinburgh's standing in the world of film.”
Ken Hay, Chief Executive of Scottish Screen, said: “This is fantastic news. The Edinburgh International Film Festival is the UK’s premier film festival. Creating Scotland’s largest digital cinema in Edinburgh will provide the festival with an excellent red carpet venue and give audiences a superb experience.”