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Edinburgh Film Festival: Plans for hub tower unveiled

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Media captionVirtual tour of proposed Film Festival building

Plans for a new £50m cinema complex that would become the home for the Edinburgh International Film Festival have been unveiled.

The new Edinburgh Filmhouse is planned for the middle of Festival Square on Lothian Road, opposite the Usher Hall.

Half of the 11-storey building would be underground with the design above street level based on the shape of an eye.

Film festival bosses hailed the plans as a “21st Century temple for film”.

Inside the tower there would be six screens and a new cultural industries hub in what architects said was a carbon-neutral, environmentally-sustainable building.

The drawings go to public consultation later this month and, if the plans are approved, the new Filmhouse could open by 2025.

Image copyright Richard Murphy Architects
Image caption The new Edinburgh Filmhouse is planned for the middle of Festival Square on Lothian Road

The eye-shaped design of the new building is said to reflect the eye on the world the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) and other events there would provide.

The building, which has been designed by Edinburgh-based Richard Murphy Architects, would take the place of the current Filmhouse on nearby Lothian Road, which opened in 1979.

The public consultation will be held for 12 weeks until 3 June. It is hoped construction could start in 2023.

Ken Hay, chief executive of the Centre for the Moving Image, which incorporates the Filmhouse and Edinburgh International Film Festival, said: “For more than 40 years, Filmhouse has been at the centre of Edinburgh’s cultural life, and for more than 70 years Edinburgh International Film Festival has been an international beacon for film and film culture.

“This proposed new building will transform what we’re able to do for Edinburgh’s residents and Scotland’s film community, as well as providing Scotland with a physical celebration of the most popular art form.

“Through doubling the number of screens and seats for regular cinema-goers, creating dedicated education and learning spaces, and developing an iconic festival centre, all within a fully-accessible and carbon-neutral building, this really is a 21st Century temple for film.”

Tristan Nesbitt, general manager at Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa Edinburgh said: “We have been made aware of the Filmhouse’s interesting plans and are currently reviewing them.”

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