Pop up screenings set to bring a magical glimpse of the past to five areas of Edinburgh

Spectacular moving images recorded far in the Capital's past are set to light up the dark Edinburgh nights in September thanks to city-wide pop up screenings of a new short film created from national, city and local archives.

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The 15 minute film entitled Cinescapes: Redrawing Edinburgh has been created with archive film from the areas which amalgamated with Edinburgh in 1920.

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City Archivist Henry Sullivan​,​ explains, “In 1920 the city boundary extended to cover a number of different communities. Nonetheless people from these areas retain a strong sense of their own identity and we wanted to celebrate that.”

The village of Cramond gets a sneak preview of Cinescapes: Redrawing Edinburgh

The open air screenings, which will see the film projected onto buildings, walls and bridges, will be held in Corstorphine, Colinton, Cramond, Liberton and Leith between September 3 and 18.

Leith-based filmmaker Amanda Rogers, of Cinetopia ​adds, ​“The film is about what a city is and how people identify with where they live and where they come from.”

One o​f the treasures ​held in ​the archives is a collection of films made by William S Dobson​,​ an amateur film maker who recorded village life in Colinton between 1945 and 1971.

Tim Lawson, ​C​hairman of the Colinton Amenity Association ​is​ looking forward to seeing extracts of Dobson’s work projected in the area where it was filmed. ​

The village of Cramond gets a sneak preview of Cinescapes: Redrawing Edinburgh

He says, ​“This is the first chance we have had to hold a proper local event for some time.​ ​Colinton has a very strong sense of community and events like this help to cement that.”

The screenplay for the film will be written by​ Leith​-​born scriptwriter Alistair Rutherford​ who hopes​ the work, which includes footage from all five areas, will inspire people to think about their local history and perhaps in a new way.

“It is not just about nostalgia.​ ​All of these areas had their own separate identities before the merger and they are largely still there 100 years later.​ ​Some of the footage is quite old​, ​so Colinton is quite a rural area but people living there now might not realise that. Leith is quite different because it wasn’t a parish, it was a burgh, a separate town and the majority of the people who lived there did not want to amalgamate with Edinburgh.

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“And we are not avoiding the issue of social change. There’s a part of the film that looks at the housing conditions in Leith in the 1950s through to the 70s, which were pretty bad.

The village of Cramond gets a sneak preview of Cinescapes: Redrawing Edinburgh

"Overall, this is a commemoration of an event 100 years on. We see and think about our past through the archive footage and maybe that helps us to think about our future.”

Sullivan ​adds, “The City Collections have a lot of material about Edinburgh’s past, which is accessible usually only in the city’s archives, libraries and museums in the city centre. The idea was to find a way of showcasing some of the material in its original setting.”

And he believes the Covid restrictions have given people a new appreciation of local history.

“With Covid people have become more aware of their neighbourhood because they have been restricted within a certain area.​ ​People have been taking walks and noticing things they haven’t noticed before and asking questions about the past.”

Cramond gets a sneak preview of Cinescapes: Redrawing Edinburgh

Rachel Walker of locally based musical duo Dowally, who have been commissioned to write an original score to accompany the film, “This is the first time we’ve ever done a soundtrack but our music has often been described as filmic, the kind of songs we do are atmospheric but not lyrical. We’ve enjoyed working on this very much, particularly during lockdown when there haven’t been a lot of opportunities to perform live.”

The free pop up screenings are the culmination of more than a year of collaboration between the City of Edinburgh Council and local history groups.

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The screenings, which will be free but ticketed, will take place ​in the following areas on the following ​dates​​:​ Corstorphine​, ​September​ 3, Colinton​, ​September​ 4, ​Bridgend /Liberton​, ​September 1​0, Cramond​, September 11 and Leith on ​September 18​​. ​

To book tickets and find out more information go to: bit.ly/redrawingedinburgh

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The village of Cramond gets a sneak preview of Cinescapes: Redrawing Edinburgh

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