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New drive-in cinemas plan for Scotland

How it could look this summer:  Chariots of Fire on the beach at St Andrews. Picture: Contributed

How it could look this summer: Chariots of Fire on the beach at St Andrews. Picture: Contributed

  • by ALASTAIR DALTON
 

FILM goers will be able to drive into the scenery under innovative plans for drive-in screenings at some of Scotland’s most dramatic movie backdrops.

US-style outdoor cinema shows are proposed for iconic big screen locations, such as the James Bond blockbuster Skyfall in Glencoe, to where Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench retreat in a vintage Aston Martin DB5.

West Sands beach in St Andrews, which famously featured in Chariots of Fire in a running scene to the Vangelis soundtrack, could become a drive-in venue for the film.

And car-based audiences could see zombies causing chaos in Glasgow city centre where it was filmed – masquerading as Philadelphia – by watching World War Z at the heart of the action in George Square.

Glasgow-based event firm Itison has revealed a location wishlist after attracting 30,000 people to see films in a Glasgow park at Halloween and beside Loch Lomond at Christmas.

The firm last week announced its next screenings would include Top Gun beside the runway at Edinburgh Airport next month.

The drive-ins involve a 100-square-foot LED screen, which Itison says is the world’s largest.

Founder Oli Norman said some 12 films and locations were “in development”, including other James Bond movies and Lord of the Rings.

They also included Jaws, which might also be screened at West Sands beach, or beside the River Clyde near the Riverside Museum in Glasgow.

He said: “We want to create more than just a film. The starting point for me is to come up with a really cool location to watch a film.

“Clearly there is a huge appetite for this. A lot of people have heard about the drive-in experience but not been to one. If something is exciting enough, people will travel to it.”

The screenings involve metallic trackways being laid for cars to park on, which would enable vehicles to drive on to beaches and other off-road venues.

Mr Norman claimed that despite their US heritage, drive-ins were ideal Scottish entertainment.

He said: “Drive-ins have been typically associated with good weather, but they are perfect for Scotland because no matter how terrible the weather is outside, you can keep cosy inside your car.”

A total of 20,000 people saw films such as Elf and It’s a Wonderful Life at the Lomond Shores centre at the southern end of Loch Lomond at Christmas, while nearly 10,000 watched Ghostbusters and Halloween over the Halloween weekend at Victoria Park in the west end of Glasgow. Mr Norman is also planning date-related screenings, such as Back to the Future on 21 October 2015 – the date to which the film’s time-travelling DeLorean car transports Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd.

Mr Norman said the film might also be screened in a shopping centre car park, echoing the Twin Pines mall where Fox and Lloyd are pursued by Libyan terrorists in the movie.

The National Trust for Scotland, which owns much of Glencoe, gave an enthusiastic response to the screening plans.

The conservation body has already sought to reap rewards from the success of the film, which it said had boosted visitor numbers.

A spokeswoman for the trust said: “We can’t think of anywhere better to watch Skyfall than in the stunning surroundings where it was shot.

“The Glencoe scenes have definitely encouraged people to visit, and to capitalise on that, our Glencoe visitor centre has been running an exhibition giving a glimpse of behind-the-scenes action from the shoot.”

Rose Ellison, of Edinburgh Film Focus, which helped arrange the airport screenings, said: “It’s a really refreshing way to see a movie, but also harks back to the American drive-ins of the 1950s and 1960s.”

Steamy windows intrude on the ultimate in-car experience

Halloween in Glasgow, and it was cold, dark and very wet.

Not exactly perfect conditions for my first movie drive-in experience – Ghostbusters – but it was certainly novel.

Driving into Victoria Park in Glasgow in the pouring rain, our vehicles were marshalled into neat rows in front of the giant screen.

We took the precaution of donning multiple layers of clothing and putting the heater on full blast beforehand to keep the cold at bay, as you could not keep your engine running during the film.

That seemed to just about do the trick, but the rain meant we had to keep our wipers on and constantly clear the inside of the windscreen, which kept steaming up.

There was a good view of the screen although things got a bit cramped when our two young children joined us in the front of the car.

The soundtrack came over loud and clear. It was a different night out, but I would hope for better weather next time.

 

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