Film festival eyes tower blocks, a castle and a loch for socially distant screenings

It will take the best of Scottish cinema and project it right back into the heart of the towns, cities and rural communities that inspired it.

The Cinescapes film festival has been inspired by the "Windowflicks" events in Berlin, which beamed movies into courtyards during the pandemic lockdown. PIC: Maja Hitij/Getty Images.
The Cinescapes film festival has been inspired by the "Windowflicks" events in Berlin, which beamed movies into courtyards during the pandemic lockdown. PIC: Maja Hitij/Getty Images.

A new outdoor film festival is set to light up tower blocks and urban landscapes with Edinburgh’s Castle Rock and perhaps even Loch Lomond to be used to screen the films that Scotland made.

Cinescapes has been devised as a creative response to the social limits cast by the coronavirus pandemic and a way to allow people to come together and enjoy the magic of the big screen in safety, organisers said.

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It has been inspired in part by the successful Windowflicks events in Berlin, which turned city spaces into outdoor cinemas in order to ease isolation during the health crisis.

Amanda Rogers, founder of Cinetopia, the company behind Cinescapes, said: “During these times, one of the things that has been hard is that we are watching a lot of stuff online.

“Obviously there have been some really great ways that the industry has reacted, there have been some really amazing things happening, but you just can’t get people together in the same way.

“Film has always been a way of getting people together and lifting the spirit.”

Ms Rogers said she had been inspired by Windowflicks and wanted to bring it into the Scottish landscape, from city to country.The festival is working with Edinburgh outfit Double Take Projections to find spaces where outdoor cinema experiences can be created.

Steven McConnachie of Double Take Productions said: “Most of what we do is projecting onto buildings, rather than onto huge LED screens, so we won’t need to bring a huge amount of kit. This can really be a pop-up cinema, moving from one place to another, whether it is somewhere like Crieff town centre or the side of a tower block in Leith.”

“They are very creative, very mobile and very nimble,” Ms Rogers added. Among the suggestions is the prospect of using Castle Rock as a backdrop to project animation The

Illusionist, a love letter to the capital that was created by French filmmaker Sylvain Chomet.

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The 1922 Rob Roy film that caused pandemonium on the streets
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Bill Forsyth’s classic Local Hero could be projected in the fishing village of Pennan in Aberdeenshire where it was partly filmed.

Nae Pasaran, the 2018 documentary about Rolls-Royce workers from East Kilbride who refused to work on Chilean air force parts during the Pinochet regime, could also make its way back to the town that spawned the story.

The documentary feature film From Scotland with Love could be beamed onto the side of the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy in honour of Fife-based musician King Creosote, who wrote the score, while Beats, a story about friendship forged in the 1990s Scottish rave scene, could be shown at a location in Midlothian.

Arts quango Creative Scotland has agreed to match fund money raised to stage the festival.

Sambrooke Scott, head of audience development at Screen Scotland, said: “Now, more than ever, cinema provides much-needed escapism. Cinetopia’s Cinescapes programme

promises to be a hugely imaginative series of events that will break down barriers to participation, illuminate the communities it visits and provide audiences a little bit of cinematic magic in these difficult times.”

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