Not just a filmhouse, it’s a filmhome
Our experience at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse once again highlights the power of programming, I get the full audience experience by watching two films in one evening, and an April Fools joke on Facebook proves just how well loved the Filmhouse is by its current audience…
Edinburgh Filmhouse is very familiar to me. As producer of the East End Film Festival from 2003-2007, I found myself annually returning to beautiful Edinburgh only to ignore the city completely and spend hours at a time entrenched in the filmhouse experience! Perhaps this explains my compulsion to watch as many films as I could possibly manage in a one day visit: Lourdes and An Education my fare for this particular trip.
The fact that An Education was still showing is testimony to the Filmhouse’s understanding of its audiences. Despite being released three months or so ago, the Filmhouse’s programmer Rod White clearly knows when there’s mileage left in a movie: the screen I was in was totally full. And rightly so, it’s a lovely film.
But that’s the thing when you take a place like the Filmhouse, which also currently embraces the Edinburgh International Film Festival and the Edinburgh Film Guild: you are rewarded with a space entirely and passionately devoted to the power of the moving image. From the plethora of DVDs, or film themed post-cards, magazines and even comics on sale in the foyer, to the rich range of the right films on offer on screen, to the festival and even the bar, you feel comfortingly embraced by the filmhouse. As a film lover, settling down comfortably to watch one or maybe even two movies at a time (!), you definitely get a sense of coming home.
As our findings are increasingly demonstrating, it is this emotional relationship between cinema and audience member that feeds the activity on social media pages. A recent April Fools by the Filmhouse on Facebook, suggesting that the programmers had taken the decision to screen ‘a much more mainstream range of films’ and ‘in line with this decision, begin selling overpriced snacks including popcorn and pick ‘n’ mix’, saw a slew of comments from devoted fans who admitted to be worried/terrified/sweating at t thought! There’s nothing like giving your audiences the perfect opportunity to tell you they like you exactly as you are. And as the busy audiences for both An Education and Lourdes showed, the Filmhouse audience is very satisfied.