Edinburgh International Film Festival’s Cameo snub

Orson Welles at the Cameo in 1953
Orson Welles at the Cameo in 1953
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IT is Quentin Tarantino’s favourite cinema, Sir Sean Connery opened its bar in 1963 and Orson Welles and Cary Grant have visited.

However, that has not stopped the Cameo Cinema being shunned by Scotland’s biggest film festival because its 3D screen is not up to scratch.

Scotland’s oldest cinema has a screen specially designed for showing 3D movies in its main auditorium, but organisers of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) claim it spoils the quality of the conventional movies they show.

It has meant curtains for the 64-year link between the Cameo and the festival, which is instead working with Cineworld.

Django Unchained director Tarantino has described the historic cinema as his favourite after Pulp Fiction had its UK premier there in the 90s.

However, the EIFF, which regularly attracts big-name stars to Scotland’s capital, says the Cameo’s 3D screen is “not compliant” with set film standards.

The 3D silver screens have been banned in France by regulator CNC amid claims they create light “hotspots” when used to show regular films.

A spokeswoman for the festival said: “EIFF is committed to presenting films to the highest possible standard.

“The screening of ‘2D’ films on silver screens is not compliant with the standards set down by standards bodies, Digital Cinemas Initiatives and Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers.

“EIFF has a very long history of working with the Cameo. Unfortunately, the Cameo is using a silver screen, which sadly means we are unable to use that venue for the 2013 EIFF.

“We hope to be working with the Cameo again in the future.”

Although the Cameo now has three screens, only its main auditorium is big enough for festival purposes. More modern, multi-screen cinemas are able to minimise the problem by having a mix of screens.

The Cameo, which opened as the King’s Cinema in 1914, has patrons including Hollywood A-listers Sir Sean and Tilda Swinton and started screening festival films in 1949.

Insiders at the Cameo claimed issues over the cinema’s 3D screen were raised privately by the Film Festival bosses before it purchased the screen earlier this year.

No-one was available for comment from Picture Houses, owner of the Cameo.

kate.pickles@edinburghnews.com