Memories of early travelling cinema sought

Photo: National Museums Scotland

Photo: National Museums Scotland

Memories of a unique travelling cinema that toured the Highlands and Islands from the 1940s to the 1970s are being sought by a team of researchers based at the universities of Glasgow and Stirling.

This major research project is the first to explore people’s memories of the Highlands and Islands Film Guild, and the team of researchers — led by Ian Goode at the University of Glasgow — want to hear from anyone who remembers the guild or was involved in its operation.

The Highlands and Islands Film Guild was an Inverness-based mobile cinema service set up after the Second World War. The guild’s fleet of specially-equipped vans travelled the region, screening films in village halls, schools and even people’s homes to bring the latest movies to communities long before the Screen Machine.

“The Highlands and Islands Film Guild was a unique moment in Scottish cinema – and Highland and Island life. For the first time, a mobile cinema brought the stars of the big screen right into the everyday lives of people right across the Highlands and Islands,” said Ian.

“We are looking to speak with anybody who experienced the Highlands and Islands Film Guild, from people that were involved in putting productions to audience members. Not matter how brief anyone’s experiences of the guild are, or how long ago, we would love to hear from them.”

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The team are also holding a number of events around the Highlands and Islands relating to the project, starting with a recreated Film Guild programme on Friday 11th November at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness, held in partnership with the Inverness Film Festival. This event will include a special 16mm screening featuring ‘Scott of the Antarctic’ (1948) in colour, a newsreel, informational film and cartoon.

The evening will also include readings of newly commissioned creative works inspired by memories of cinema-going.

The project’s co-investigator Sarah Neely from the University of Stirling said: “As part of the project, we are also looking for participants for creative writing workshops at various festivals throughout the Highlands and Islands which will be held over the next year.  The first one will be a half-day event held at the Inverness film festival on Saturday 12th November.”

The workshop is free but ticketed, and open to writers of all levels of experience. For more details see 2016.invernessfilmfestival.com/creative-writing-workshop-on-memories-of-cinema-going/

If you remember the Highlands and Islands Film Guild and the films that they showed, or were involved in any way in its operation, please contact Ealasaid Munro on ealasaid.munro@glasgow.ac.uk / 0141 330 6944 or Ian Goode ian.goode@glasgow.ac.uk / 0141 330 6500.