Cairngorms plea for Scotland’s only mobile cinema

The Screen Machine mobile cinema

ALEXANDER Burnett MSP has written to the Scottish Government urging them to save Scotland’s only mobile cinema from closure amid concerns from constituents who use the service at the Cairngorms National Park.

The Screen Machine, a lorry with a small cinema inside its trailer, tours rural areas across Scotland but it could be off the road by April 2024 unless the group can secure funding for a new vehicle.

Mr Burnett has been contacted by concerned residents who use the service in Tomintoul at the Cairngorms National Park.

The service’s purpose-built vehicle is out of action due to breakdowns and a replacement has been leased until early next year, but there is no funding in place to continue the service beyond then.

Regional Screen Scotland, which operates the service, said a new mobile cinema would cost at least £1.4m and take up to 18 months to build.

In his letter, the Aberdeenshire MSP said the closure will have a detrimental impact on residents living in rural areas who enjoy to use the cinema and is calling on the Scottish Government to fund 50% of the new vehicle.

He said: “The Screen Machine is a vital service which allows people to watch films in a comfortable setting who might not have access to commercial cinemas due to proximity, costs, or accessibility.

“It offers an inspiring approach to bringing communities together and cuts out the need to travel sometimes hundreds of miles to see a movie.

“The service is well used and is a social lifeline to many people which is why I urge the Scottish Government to step in and help save The Screen Machine.”

In his letter, Mr Burnett said: “I have heard from constituents who are concerned about the future of Screen Machine, Scotland’s only mobile cinema which has run for 25 years. 

“Screen Machine visits many rural communities across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, including a stop in Tomintoul within the Cairngorms National Park, which my constituents enjoy.

“The current vehicle offers an air-conditioned 80-seat cinema service, but the lease will expire in April. 

“The group estimates that a brand-new Screen Machine will cost around £1.4m and they are asking the Scottish Government to provide funding to cover 50% of the cost. 

“I would be grateful if you could confirm whether the Scottish Government will commit to funding for the Screen Machine?”

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