Agenda item

By Councillor McFarlane - Save the Filmhouse

By Councillor McFarlane – Save the Filmhouse


1.0      Notes the Emergency SNP Motion to March’s Policy and Sustainability Committee 2023 secured a unanimous endorsement from councillors declaring Edinburgh Council’s preference to retain cultural film and film education as the central use of The Filmhouse.

1.1      However, further notes the private sale of 88 Lothian Road has now concluded and the new private owners are reported as Caledonian Heritable LTD.

2.       Welcomes the fact that the Edinburgh International Film Festival, its domain name, assets and intellectual property have been saved with funding from Creative Scotland/Screen Scotland and notes the positive news that the EIFF will return to Edinburgh in August 2023 for its 76th edition as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.

3.       Notes that the City of Edinburgh Council has previously given grant funding to the Centre for Moving Image of £100,000 per year which it has then distributed among various activities including educational activity and the cultural cinema function, and therefore there is precedent for financial support acknowledging the importance and benefits The Filmhouse brings to the city.

4.       Notes that at least one option that could see those with the expertise to maintain 88 Lothian Road as a cultural cinema is emerging following the efforts of the Save The Filmhouse Campaign.

5.1      Council agrees to reiterate its support for cultural cinema to remain at the heart of 88 Lothian Road and believes that we as an authority are a key stakeholder in efforts to secure this provision which has a rich history locally in the city and aligns with the approved City Culture Strategy aims and ambitions alongside sustaining the burgeoning film production sector which brings economic, social and cultural benefit to the city.

5.2      Council therefore further requests that officers immediately contact all cultural partners known to be currently involved in talks with Caledonian Heritable LTD including Creative Scotland/Screen Scotland and the Minister for Culture in the Scottish Government to identify any actions of the City of Edinburgh Council which could be the lynchpin to securing agreement to retain a model of cultural cinema within the building between the new owner and a cultural organisation up to and including:

  • A review of future ongoing CEC revenue funding to support a sustainable future for The Filmhouse as a cultural cinema in line with previous financial support.
  • Engagement and exploration of how partnership could be established between the potential tenants of 88 Lothian Road, Creative Scotland / Screen Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council.
  • Full exploration of all options that would achieve our stated ambition for 88 Lothian Road including that of a prospective rent or lease guarantee jointly in partnership with Creative Scotland/Screen Scotland if this could provide necessary confidence to allow the known potential cultural tenants to restore the premises as the home of cultural cinema in Edinburgh.
  • Any ongoing governance support and oversight necessary to enable this outcome to progress.

5.3      Agrees to engage with Caledonian Heritable LTD to signal our intentions to explore all options fully and in detail alongside stakeholders whilst understanding any decision would be subject to further Council approval.

5.4      Further agrees an update report on progress within 1 cycle to the Culture and Communities committee.”