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Big screen dreams


By Tom Ramage


McRobert House, Duke Street, Cinema, Kingussie Cinema, Am Fasgadh Regeneration Company, ARC, Regional Screen Scotland, RSS, Highland Folk Museum, Liz Duncan, Lydie Bocquillon
McRobert House, Duke Street, Cinema, Kingussie Cinema, Am Fasgadh Regeneration Company, ARC, Regional Screen Scotland, RSS, Highland Folk Museum, Liz Duncan, Lydie Bocquillon

AMBITIOUS plans have been launched to provide Kingussie with its very own cinema.

The project is being led by the ARC (Am Fasgadh Regeneration Company) and it hopes it could help bring new life to the town.

The community cinema would be located in McRobert House which forms part of the wider former Highland Folk Museum which has been derelict for many years.

"It's an exciting prospect," said Lydie Bocquillon, who is leading the project for ARC.

"We're confident that by the end of 2020, Badenoch will boast its own film house."

Regional Screen Scotland (RSS) is fully behind the concept and believes it to be perfectly feasible.

RSS director Robert Livingston said: "Top of the list for all Highland communities wanting to regenerate are always a swimming pool and a cinema.

"In my 20 years with RSS I have seen huge changes for the good around the country where retailers were bemoaning the running down of High Streets only to see big changes in their fortunes by the establishment of community cinemas."

There are ongoing cinema campaigns backed by RSS in the region including in Muir of Ord and Cromarty.

Mr Livingston said: "In Aberfeldy, for example, the restoration of the long defunct Birches Cinema has really turned things around for the village's High Street.

"I think the same could happen in Kingussie and Badenoch and we're fully behind the community's initiative."

RSS provides advice and information on setting up local screen facilities.

It also operates the Screen Machine mobile cinema which has proved popular in rural areas.

RSS aims to make the case for providing as many local communities as possible with the opportunity to share great screen experiences, whether that be through a film club using a DVD projector or a full scale cinema with several auditoria.

The organisation also advocates the social and economic benefits of cinema for local communities.

Mr Livingston said: "It's great that support is also being given by Creative Industries with money becoming available now for projects such as that proposed in Kingussie.

"It's a very good time to get these people involved as money is being made available to help bring these projects about."

Mr Livingston joined ARC members last month inside the vacant building on Duke Street earmarked for the town's first community cinema.

He agreed there was great potential for a possible 150-seat cinema which would ultimately be able to screen the very latest feature films.

"There is no budget at this stage," said Ms Bocquillon. "We want to establish the campaign in phases to make sure that we keep people on board.

"The first phase is to raise £12,000 to enable us to buy the equipment to create a mobile cinema, going around venues in Badenoch showing current films.

"This would be done for a small charge which would enable us to go for major funding, just as Badenoch itself is being rebranded as a cultural centre.

"The building is sound but there is restoration work needed internally and then, of course, we would have to kit it out and equip it with the necessary technology.

"The ultimate dream is to have a fully digital film house."



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