Screen Machine and cinema provision in Lochaber

Screen Machine and cinema provision in Lochaber

It’s now almost ten years since Fort William’s Studio Cinema closed its doors for the last time. For several years now the Screen Machine has visited Fort William on a regular basis, bringing as many as four or five different film titles for visits averaging three days at a time. But as we can only make such visits roughly three or four times a year, that service is no replacement for a fulltime, dedicated cinema. The Screen Machine is intended to serve much smaller communities—Fort William has been the largest town that we regularly visit—and we’ve only ever seen our service in the Fort as a stop gap. So here at Regional Screen Scotland we warmly welcome three recent initiatives to improve cinema provision in the Lochaber area.

The partnership between the Nevis Centre and Film Mobile Scotland means that Fort William can benefit from monthly cinema screenings, offered to much larger audiences than the Screen Machine can accommodate. The Obscura Mondo programme at the Lime Tree, meanwhile, complements the Nevis Centre programme with regular screenings of the best of World Cinema. And the recently formed Lochaber Cinema Group have plans for a 50-seater studio cinema on the High Street.

Over the last few years the team at Regional Screen Scotland has supported a number of efforts to re-establish cinema in Fort William, and we’re currently advising the Lochaber Cinema Group on their plans. We also work closely, across Scotland, with Film Mobile Scotland to ensure that our efforts to provide regular screenings are mutually complementary.

So, for the foreseeable future, we’re switching the Screen Machine service from Fort William to the communities of Kinlochleven and Spean Bridge, which are much more typical of the size of community that the Machine normally visits. If there’s a particular film title that we’re touring that won’t otherwise be screened in Fort William itself, we hope people will manage to catch it at Spean Bridge. If you would like to receive news of our screenings in Spean Bridge, Kinlochleven, or any of the other communities we visit, you can do sign up to receive an e-newsletter here.

We will of course keep in touch with developments in Fort William, and will review our touring schedule in the light of any future changes.

Warm thanks to the audiences who’ve supported our Fort William visits over the years and to the ushers who’ve helped to run them! We hope Fort William can look forward to a rich and varied programme of film screenings in the coming months.

Robert Livingston
Regional Screen Scotland

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