Edinburgh was lit up with images of cinema classics as campaigners try to save the world’s longest continuously running film festival.

Last month, the charity behind the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), the city’s Filmhouse cinema, and the Belmont Filmhouse in Aberdeen, went bust after what it called a “perfect storm of sharply rising costs, in particular energy costs”.

On Monday, people in the Scottish capital saw images from landmark films Gregory’s Girl, The Wizard of Oz, It’s a Wonderful Life, Local Hero, and others, as movie-goers, film makers and cinema staff attempt to save key parts of Scotland’s film culture.

Mark Cousins, filmmaker and Edinburgh resident, said: “I’d like to keep the flame alive, to express the love of Filmhouse and EIFF and their loss – our shock, grief and anger – by projecting images.”

Campaign to save the Filmhouse and EIFF
An image from Gregory’s Girl is projected onto the Filmhouse in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

Filmhouse in Edinburgh’s Lothian Road is now a sorry sight, with its windows and doors covered in metal protective sheeting, and was one of the city’s landmarks to have cinema stills beamed on to it.

Another was Salisbury Crags, a landmark which is seen by tens-of-thousands throughout the west of the city, which featured film stills with the message “love Filmhouse and Edinburgh Film Festival”.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival was established in 1947, making it the world’s oldest continuously running film festival.

Over the years, stars including: Clint Eastwood, Sir Sean Connery, John Huston, Gene Kelly, Jennifer Lawrence, Tilda Swinton, Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, David Cronenberg and Cate Blanchett have attended its events.

The festival has also screened a host of UK premieres, including movies such as Blade Runner, Alien, Back To The Future, Taxi Driver, Annie Hall, Withnail & I, The Usual Suspects, Amelie and The Hurt Locker.

After the charity, the Centre for the Moving Image, called in the administrators, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her Government would do all it can to support the “important cultural organisations”.

A petition to demand help to save the organisations has won the backing of more than 23,000 people and filmmaker Paul Sng, who helped start the signature drive, said it was “vital that independent cinemas such as Filmhouse exist to provide us with the opportunity to experience films this way”.

Some 107 jobs were lost when the organisation went under but Rod White, who was head of programming at Filmhouse, said the “notable silver lining” to the charity’s demise had been the “the outpouring of love for the cinema and EIFF, and the clear determination of an awful lot of people to do something about it”.

Amanda Rogers, creative producer of Edinburgh’s film culture and curation organisation, Cinetopia, said, described Filmhouse as an “essential cultural hub and one of the only exhibition spaces which showcased the work and curation of countless local and UK-wide film festivals, filmmakers, and independent exhibitors to local audiences”.