FORMER staff at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse cinema have revealed they hope to reopen the venue next year after holding talks with its new owner.

Last October, the Filmhouse Cinema and Café Bar in Edinburgh said it faced the “perfect storm of sharply rising costs”.

Now, The Scotsman reports that a team of four people, led by former chief executive Ginnie Atkinson, has created a new charity aiming to take over the running of the building.

They told the newspaper they are in an “advance discussion” over a long-lease agreement to revive the art house cinema and home of the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

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Both had to cease trading immediately when their parent company entered administration last October.

Caledonian Heritable, who also own The Dome, Ryan’s Bar and the Theatre Royal in Scotland’s capital, bought the building for more than £2.5 million after it was put up for sale by administrators handling the assets of the Centre for the Moving Image.

Atkinson is working with the Filmhouse’s long-time head of programming Rod White, former head technician David Boyd and former programme manager James Rice to establish Filmhouse (Edinburgh) Ltd.

They launched a crowdfunding appeal to try buy the building when it went up for sale in November but failed to secure the necessary backing despite support from stars such as Brian Cox (below), Sam Heughan and Jack Lowden.

The National:

A crucial development came in January when councillors rejected a bit by administrators to transfer the building’s licence.

It then emerged that the Scottish Government, Screen Scotland and the city council were involved in behind-the-scenes talks to try re-open the filmhouse despite the sale to Caledonian Heritable.

There are already plans for a revival of the 76-year-old film festival, which is going ahead in scaled-back form this month as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.

Scottish film producer Andrew Macdonald has just been appointed to form and chair a new company to host the event from 2024 onwards.

Screen Scotland and Edinburgh City Council, which both previously provided annual funding for the Centre for the Moving Image, are both expected to maintain some of that support.

An official announcement from Filmhouse (Edinburgh) Ltd said: “Caledonian Heritable Ltd. who recently acquired the Filmhouse Building at 88 Lothian Road, are in talks with a new charity to explore re-opening the much-loved cinema.

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“Filmhouse (Edinburgh) Limited, granted charitable status in June and led by four former Filmhouse colleagues, is in exclusive discussions with Caledonian Heritable regarding a long lease on the building at 88 Lothian Road, with the aim of re-opening Edinburgh’s unique cultural cinema.”

Atkinson said: “Being in advanced discussions with Caledonian Heritable is a significant step on the journey towards restoring cultural cinema provision for the city.

“We anticipate being able to make a further statement after the festival.”

A spokesperson for Caledonian Heritable said: “We have a longstanding appreciation of the vital importance of culture and the arts to the city of Edinburgh and are pleased to be working with Filmhouse (Edinburgh) Ltd in anticipation of a new era at this key cultural venue.”