NEAT is one of four community groups across Aberdeenshire and Moray who are among the 24 projects from the Orkney Isles to Galashiels, to have received support from The National Lottery through Screen Scotland’s Cinema Equipment Fund towards the purchase of new equipment to host accessible community cinema across Scotland.

In line with the Scottish Government’s latest Covid-19 guidance, all 24 projects can now begin plans to get up and running and welcoming audiences, as soon as it’s safe to do so.

We are set to set to update our mobile cinema equipment, which our network of Volunteer Promoters use to support sustainable community cinema screenings across the North East of Scotland. This funding will help us to significantly increase the number of community cinema groups we support and will widen access to cinema experiences in rural communities across Aberdeenshire, Moray and Angus.

Emyr Bell (Executive Director) said: “Our cinema scheme was launched in 2012 and was the first of its kind in Scotland. Some of the equipment is now starting to show its age and this funding will allow us to upgrade our equipment. This is such a sustainable model, meaning that a large number of communities can access cinema screenings with a handful of mobile cinema kits. We and our audiences really appreciate Creative Scotland’s ongoing support.”

The Barn in Banchory will now upgrade to digital film projection and screening equipment to greatly enhance the viewing experience for cinema goers. This upgrade of equipment will also enable the venue to programme additional content for schools and communities including specialist events such as director’s Q&As and collaborations with renowned Film Festivals such as Glasgow Film Festival.

Aboyne Arts and Theatre Development Group are upgrading their cinema sound system for the Cinema at Aboyne Academy Community Campus, making their screenings more accessible. Cinema at Aboyne provides accessible weekly screenings for the local community including new releases, National Theatre Live screenings and arthouse titles, often supporting films made by Scottish talent. David Eastwood, Chairman of the Aboyne Arts and Theatre Development Group said: ”We are very grateful to Screen Scotland for this award as it will enable us to start a programme for the replacement of our equipment, some parts of which, such as the sound system, are now more than thirty years old. When we are allowed to reopen, the award will enable us to continue to provide a high-quality cinema experience for the local community. Encouraged by this award we are already thinking about our future programme!”

Universal Hall in Findhorn will purchase new sound and satellite equipment to continue to provide its annual programme of art house, documentary, family-friendly and popular films. The programme also includes Q+As and locally produced shorts. Commenting on their funding Universal Hall said: “The new sound equipment to be purchased from a grant from Creative Scotland is a clear step forward for our public cinema screenings. We are making the transition from a facility able to show older movies screened from DVD’s or Blu-Ray discs to a ‘first run’ cinema able to screen recent films via digital download. This new sound equipment will create surround sound in our auditorium – greatly improving the audio when screening modern films.”

Screen Scotland’s Jennifer Armitage said: “This round of awards concludes the year-long programme of capital investment in cultural and community cinemas in Scotland. When we launched the Cinema Equipment Fund last year, we had no idea what 2020 was going to bring but investing in the resilience of Scotland’s film exhibition sector is more important than ever. When Scotland’s cinemas reopen, they will be able to offer high quality experiences, with varied programmes, and within local communities.”

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Cinema is a way of bringing people together, sharing our communities’ experience with others and increasing public understanding on a wide range of social issues and historical events. Now more than ever, it is important we support cultural organisations in communities across the country. This round of the Cinema Equipment Fund shows how we support and strengthen cinema throughout Scotland with new high-quality equipment.”

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