Film fans’ joy as doors open on new Fort William cinema
PEOPLE in Lochaber won’t have to travel further than Fort William to see their favourite new films, as the town has a new cinema.
The Nevis Centre will be showing films from the end of this month, with The Secret Life
of Pets and Independence Day 2 set to hit the big screen on July 23.
Nevis Centre manager Kenny McLaughlin decided to set up the cinema after a one- off trial showing of Frozen proved popular.
Mr McLaughlin said: ‘Showing Frozen was a huge success.
‘The centre was packed with kids dressed up in character and all singing along.’
After talking to people at the Nevis Centre, Mr McLaughlin began to see the need for cinema in Fort William. He said: ‘There was a feeling that a lot of kids were missing out on that big cinema experience that we all remember as youngsters.
‘So in May this year we put on Zootropolis and The Jungle
Book, and both were very well received.’
The centre’s biggest problem was getting films to screen before they were shown on TV, but after getting into talks with Filmobile, a company which provided independent cinemas with movies, the idea took off.
Mr McLaughlin said: ‘ We will be able to screen films roughly five weeks after their release date which is fantastic.’
The centre will be showing films once a month with audience numbers dictating whether it shows two children’s matinees or one children’s matinee followed by an adult film in the evening.
Filmobile managing director Ian Brown told The Oban
Times: ‘The first screening in Fort William was a fantastic success. Fort William needs more regular access to newrelease cinema.
‘ We are already in discussions to move the planned monthly screenings up to fortnightly screenings if the community support continues at this level.’
With the closest cinemas to Fort William being in Oban and Inverness, the Nevis Centre said it wanted to help families who couldn’t travel that far to reach a cinema.
Mr McLaughlin said: ‘ While there is the cinema in Inverness, lots of parents don’t drive, so it’s not only the expense but also the hassle of spending around an hour and a half on the bus on the way there and back again.
‘ We are putting together a list of films that will be shown throughout the year so people will know in advance if they can see a film at the Nevis Centre, or whether they will need to make the journey to Inverness.’
Mr Brown commented: ‘There are many people who either can’t or don’t want to travel over an hour to the nearest cinema and this will bring back this much-needed cultural provision to Lochaber residents.
‘ I grew up in a rural commu- nity but had a passion for cinema from my very first memory, but didn’t have easy access and it was always a whole day out, not to mention the cost which comes with that.’
Leah Whyte, 35, from Caol, whose son is three, was delighted at the prospect of the cinema. She said: ‘I think it’s great for parents like me who have the opportunity to do things with their kids during the day. It’s brilliant for my little one’s age group as after an hour and a half in the car to Inverness, the last thing he wants to do is sit still in the cinema.’
Mum of two boys, three and four, Yasmin Yildiz said: ‘It’s a great idea. It would be good if there was an evening show as well so that the mums and dads who are working during the day get the chance to take their children.’
Kirsty Kyle was also pleased saying: ‘I think it’s a great idea especially for parents who don’t drive or have a few kids, as going to Inverness for cinema is expensive to get to and to go in. I think anything that gets families together is welcome here.’
Mr McLaughlin added: ‘ We now have a Tango Ice Blast machine, hotdogs, popcorn and ice- cream, so we are trying to make it as realistic as we possibly can.’
The Lochaber community has taken to Facebook to show its support for the cinema, with more than 70 comments on posts about upcoming films.
To buy tickets and for more film information call the Nevis Centre.
Nevis Centre staff with manager Kenny McLaughlin and posters of the films that will be shown at the end of this month.