​Screen machine to keep rolling over till 2026

​It was thought that last week might have been its last ever visit to the islands, given the funding backdrop, but organisers of the Screen Machine have announced that they have secured assistance which will retain the service for another two years.
The Screen Machine has became a much-loved attraction in remote communities.The Screen Machine has became a much-loved attraction in remote communities.
The Screen Machine has became a much-loved attraction in remote communities.

​The £350,000 support from Screen Scotland gives the project a two-year breathing space in which to secure its long-term future, with a £1.3 million investment required for a new purpose-built vehicle.

With the current lease running out next month, an appeal was made to the Scottish Government for additional support to keep it going and these pleas eventually found a receptive ear at Screen Scotland, who recognised the importance of the service being retained.

For 26 years, the distinctive lorry and trailer has been travelling to remote locations across the Highlands and Islands - as they say themselves from “Barra to Bettyhill” - bringing the latest releases to audiences who would otherwise be unable to access a cinema experience.

Simon Drysdale, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Regional Screen Scotland, said: “We are immensely grateful to Screen Scotland for demonstrating their continued support for Regional Screen Scotland and the much-loved Screen Machine by funding the fee to extend the lease of the Cinémobile for a further two years beyond April 2024. This means our customers can be confident that they will continue to have access to the big screen until at least April 2026.

“We have already made great progress in lobbying for support to commission the build of a brand new Screen Machine, which we intend to bring into use no later than April 2026. This progress is largely down to efforts that our customers made in writing to their MSPs and other elected representatives, to tell them how much they love and value the Screen Machine.

“We are very grateful for all of the letters, emails, conversations and phone calls that have been sent or made on our behalf – your hard work is starting to pay off! We would urge our customers to continue to contact their local councillors, MSPs and MPs to impress upon them that the long-term future of the Screen Machine will only be secured when the new mobile cinema is commissioned. Fund raising for the new, permanent Screen Machine is our mission over the coming months.”

Sambrooke Scott, Screen Scotland, said: “This interim solution ensures continuity while RSS strives to secure a permanent replacement for the beloved Screen Machine, and Screen Scotland are fully behind those efforts. Our funding not only extends the Cinémobile lease but also bolsters the resilience of RSS and helps the efforts to secure a new facility from April 2026 onwards.

“Screen Scotland’s commitment to the Screen Machine service and the communities it serves remains unwavering. But I want to underline that to be sustainable in the longer term the Screen Machine should be supported by the local authority areas that it serves, as well as by Scotland’s national screen body.

“We’re proud to support the continued efforts of Regional Screen Scotland in maintaining access to the full cinema experience through the lease of the Cinémobile.”