Screen Machine island-serving cinema truck to get refit

A mobile cinema truck which serves some of the remotest parts of Scotland is to get a major refit.

The Screen Machine at Lochmaddy
The Screen Machine at Lochmaddy

Regional Screen Scotland, which operates the Screen Machine, has raised the necessary funds to carry out the work on the cinema vehicle, which will add a minimum of six more years to its operational life.

The Screen Machine is the UK’s only full-time self-contained mobile cinema, bringing the latest cinema releases to communities across the North and West of Scotland.

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The Screen Machine service was originally launched in 1998, and the current Screen Machine has been on the road since 2005, spending up to 48 weeks a year bringing the big screen experience to communities from Barra to Bettyhill and from Brodick to the Outer Isles of Orkney.

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Regional Screen Scotland has secured funding from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and sponsorship from the Royal Bank of Scotland, to meet the costs of a full and thorough refit, to be carried out by the Screen Machine’s original builders, French-based Toutenkamion, world leaders in mobile cinema design and construction.

Robert Livingston, Director of Regional Screen Scotland, said: “The aim is to carry out the refit at Toutenkamion’s French workshop in April/May 2017, and relaunch the fully renewed Screen Machine in June. It will then resume its normal touring circuit and audiences will be able to enjoy the customary wide choice of new films, as well as extras such as photography exhibitions and archive screenings, knowing that the Screen Machine will be fit to continue full operation well into the next decade.”

The Screen Machine is an articulated tractor and trailer, which uses hydraulic systems to expand the trailer to be able to accommodate an audience of 80 in multiplex-style comfort.

The refit will thoroughly overhaul all the operating systems, replacing all worn parts, treating any areas of corrosion, and giving the entire exterior fresh coats of paint.

Regional Screen Scotland will also be drawing on its own reserves to replace the Screen Machine’s digital projector. Like many ‘first generation’ digital projectors, this is nearing the end of its useful life—an issue which many cinemas across the UK are now facing.