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Edinburgh and Glasgow big Independent Cinemas to screen online

PCScreen.jpgThere are a number of great independent cinemas in Edinburgh and Glasgow but there are two big names, one associated with the Glasgow Film Festival and the Edinburgh International Film Festival, both great festivals and both great cinemas, the Glasgow Film Theatre and the Edinburgh Filmhouse.

Despite the image that an independent cinema might place in your mind these are big cinemas with big ideas and they've just announced their latest plan, to offer films to watch online as they also play on their cinema screens.

An announcement today from the Glasgow Film Theatre tells us that they and the Edinburgh Filmhouse have teamed up together with Distrify, a shareable video on demand company and will be the first venues in the UK to work together to offer a selected online film programme.

Each of the cinemas will host an online cinema on their websites which will offer films to view throughout the day and night for the lowest price of £3.49 and upwards. They will be imaginatively titled the GFT Player and the Filmhouse Player and both will be viewable on computers, tablets or mobiles.

One of the interesting features of the Distrify Player that the two cinemas will be using is that it can be embedded in any site or on Facebook or Twitter allowing the film to reach and even wider audience, not relying on the audience going to the cinema's website.

Oh I know you're saying that this is already out there, videos can be shared, but this is a little different, this is an entire film, and more than that there's an affiliates share of 10% for anyone who shares the film.

The press release tells us that this is actually part of a trial supported by a grant from The Digital Research and Development Fund for Arts and Culture, a fund created to support arts and cultural organisations throughout Scotland who want to expand using digital technologies. The trial is to allow the two cinemas to...

"...reach beyond their walls and engage with audiences in other areas, with those who cannot visit in person and with people who have an interest in curated cinema with a Scottish, UK and international focus."

The players are to start in November, not that long to go, and will feature films that are selected by the two cinemas experienced programmers, offering a programme of films designed to complement their in house screenings and some of these will be new releases streaming alongside the cinematic release. The release gives a few examples of the upcoming films:

"...such as music documentary Sound it Out and Japanese comedy-drama Rent-a-Cat; favourite films that audiences may have missed on the big screen like enjoyable French comedy The Women on the 6th Floor; and exclusive additional content, including films that haven't yet been picked up by UK distributors but merit a wider audience, of which Morgen, winner of four awards at the Locarno Film Festival, is a perfect example...

...Sound it Out is a funny and intimate documentary portrait of the last surviving vinyl record shop in Teesside, North East England. Described as 'hilarious and incredibly heartwarming' by NME, the film will be available simultaneously in cinema and online. Also available for streaming and on the big screen at the same time will be engaging Japanese comedy Rent-a-Cat (Rentaneko), in which a young woman hires out friendly felines to lonesome people in need of a little companionship. The film proved popular at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival and will be available from Monday 3 December at GFT and Friday 7 December at Filmhouse...

...To coincide with the French Film Festival UK, which takes place at Filmhouse and GFT in November, raucous rom-com The Women on the 6th Floor, a favourite from last year's Festival, will be offered on both Players. While Morgen, a Romanian New Wave gem from writer/director Marian Crisan, will screen at Filmhouse on Wednesday 14 November, followed by a live Q&A with Crisan. Both film and Q&A will then be available for online streaming from the Filmhouse and GFT Players."

Allison Gardner who is the Head of Cinemas at Glasgow Film Theatre explained the reasons behind the deal:

"Our reasons for pioneering the curated programme online model are two-fold. There are an ever-growing number of films available to us and with our screens already working very hard, we needed to find a way to ensure that great films were not missing out on the exposure we can give them. Secondly, not everyone has access to cinemas like GFT and Filmhouse, or indeed time to go to the cinema when it suits them."

Rod White, the Head of Edinburgh's Filmhouse expanded on that idea:

"The Player gives us the opportunity to provide an extra screen - open all hours - showing films that we would not otherwise have the room to screen, or audiences simply couldn't make it along to, or may have missed on the big screen."

Both Edinburgh's Filmhouse and the Glasgow Film Theatre are excellent cinemas and they have a wide range of films from across the world on show as well as being central locations for the respective city's film festivals so I'm really excited to find out what is going to be offered through the players.

You can find out more by visiting the GFT Player and the sites respectively.



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