Edinburgh Filmhouse and International Film Festival in administration: Scotland must safeguard its cultural assets from 'perfect storm' of economic troubles – Scotsman comment

The news that the Centre for the Moving Image (CMI) – behind Edinburgh International Film Festival and the Filmhouse cinemas in Edinburgh and Aberdeen – has gone into administration, with its 102 staff made immediately redundant, was sudden and shocking.

The charity’s trustees said it had faced a “perfect storm of sharply rising costs, in particular energy costs, alongside reduced trade due to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis”.

Politicians from across the spectrum expressed their concern, with Nicola Sturgeon saying she knew many people would be “profoundly upset” and Edinburgh Council leader Cammy Day saying he was “absolutely devastated”.

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It is still possible that the Film Festival and these two much-loved independent cinemas can be saved. CMI’s administrators said they were “hopeful” its assets would be bought as going concerns.

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However, this is the latest sign of just how serious and widespread our current economic problems are. From individuals and small businesses to charities and councils, many of us do not have our financial worries to seek.

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But the arts sector is more fragile, more at risk as people rein in their spending on non-essentials, than most other parts of the economy.

And films, music and other forms of ‘entertainment’, a word too lightweight to truly encompass their real meaning, are more than important than the pounds and pence they generate. They are part of the ways in which we talk to each other about life.

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So, our elected representatives, and indeed all who care about such things, should think long and hard about how we can maintain the cultural life of this country through the long, cold winter ahead.

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