The north-east film director behind Stan & Ollie and Filth today threw his support behind a crowdfunding campaign to save a city cinema.
Aberdeen’s independent cinema the Belmont Filmhouse has launched an online fundraiser to help keep it going over the next few months.
The cinema on Belmont Street shut its doors in March due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
As cinemas will not be able to open until phase three of the Scottish Government’s route map out of lockdown, independent operations like The Belmont are facing huge financial challenges, as well as having to implement social distancing measures, which will greatly reduce audience sizes.
Peterhead-born film director Jon S Baird today gave his backing to the crowdfunding campaign, which aims to raise £25,000.
He said: “I am very sad to hear about the grave financial challenges facing the Belmont Filmhouse and I hope this fundraising campaign is a success.
“The Belmont – and cinemas in general – play a crucial role in our cultural landscape and it would be a terrible loss to us all if it was forced to close.
“Speaking personally, the experience of watching films in places like The Belmont inspired me to become a film-maker. I hope everyone supports this crowdfunding campaign so that the Belmont can continue to entertain, educate and inspire generations to come.”
Belmont Filmhouse has asked members of the public to donate £40, the price of a membership, or whatever people can afford, to the cinema to help it get back on its feet.
It will also have to invest extra money into making the building safe when it does reopen, and although it has received support through grants and is making use of the Government’s furlough scheme, it has said it will be difficult to make ends meet in the coming month.
So far, more than £7,800 has been raised.
The Belmont Filmhouse screens more than 400 films a year, as well as curating seasons and special programmes themed around film genres or directors.
It also hosts a film education programme for local schools, which is attended by more than 5,000 pupils each year.
Juliet Tweedie, head of development for Belmont Filmhouse, said: “We are so grateful for any donations, however large or small, and thank you for thinking of us.”
To donate visit gofundme.com/f/belmont-filmhouse.
Alternatively, cheques can be sent to Belmont Filmhouse, 49 Belmont Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1JS