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New Independent Cinema in the Highlands of Scotland



A view of Highland Cinema's beautiful and welcoming exterior


In a difficult year for the film industry and movie lovers, a scenic corner of Scotland offers some rare good news. The brand new, purpose-built boutique Highland Cinema located in Fort William, Scotland, opened its doors on September 25th, with two screens and a café bar, bringing cinema back to the heart of the Highlands for the first time in 15 years.

Famous for providing majestic backdrops for films including Harry Potter, Braveheart, Rob Roy, The Dark Knight Rises and Bond films The World Is Not Enough and Skyfall, plus many others, the Highlands is home to some of the most rugged and beautifully cinematic scenery in the world. The new Highland Cinema aims to reflect this, showing a variety of Scottish classics alongside Hollywood blockbusters on release day, arthouse, indie and event cinema, as well as playing host to festivals, events and live music, providing an eclectic, exciting new destination for locals and tourists alike.

Owner, entrepreneur and author Angus McDonald

Owner, entrepreneur and author Angus MacDonald (57) lives in Lochaber, with a family history in the area going back centuries. “Several years ago I read an article that said the best way to bring life back into a small town was to have an independent bookshop and a cinema. Two years ago I opened a bookshop. Today I am very pleased to have been able to open our fantastic new cinema!”

The Highland Cinema's café bar

Built on the former site of the town hall and a previous cinema that closed in 2005, the new Highland Cinema has been designed to reflect a traditional bothy, the humble building that has sheltered travellers across the Highlands for centuries. The warm, welcoming entrance and café bar has been built using local stone and features a red corrugated roof, covered terrace, wood-burning stove and seating for up to 84. The café offers a range of food from gourmet pizzas to charcuterie, pastries and more, while the bar provides a carefully curated selection of fine Scottish whiskies, gins and beers, plus wines and hot and cold drinks.

The back of the building houses two state-of-the-art cinema theatres with cutting-edge laser digital projection and sound systems, delivering a highly immersive experience for all audiences. Screen 1 has a capacity of 109, including two unique seats in a real red Lotus sports car donated by a local businessman. Screen 2 can take up to 62 guests.

Highland Cinema's screen 1, which has a capacity of 109 and two unique seats in a real Lotus sports car

Originally set to open in May 2020, the Highland Cinema was delayed earlier in the year due to Covid-19. Construction began again in July, with final details and charming touches added in the last weeks leading up to the opening on September 25th.

“Our aim is to bring a smile to people’s faces on even the wettest day, to be a gathering place for youngsters and the elderly, and to provide a range of films to please and interest a broad spectrum of visitors. We have Covid-19 procedures in place to ensure the comfort and safety of all our guests and staff, and we’re very excited to welcome guests in to see new films like Tenet and No Time To Die, plus classics like The 39 Steps, Whisky Galore! and many more showings and events!”



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