The team behind the saving and revival of the cinema in Oban, renamed – with good reason, Oban Phoenix and very much a local cause celebre, had an inspired notion.
After the two year closure of the cinema for fundraising and refurbishment, they are reopening it on 3rd August with the Argyll premiere of the Disney/Pixar Scottish themed animation, Brave. Robbie Coltrane will be there – an energetic supporter of the campaign to save the cinema for this lovely waterside west coast town.
This event signals the success of what has been a tireless community-wide campaign to keep and develop a big screen facility in Oban.
Members of the team have been upset to find that the regional director of VisitScotland, David Adams McGilp, has sent out invitations to a screening in Lochgilphead on 8th August. This will be in the touring (and always magical) Screen Machine.
It is a business-focused event designed to direct local businesses on how to capitalise on the promotional impact for Scotland of this film. VisitScotland have invested £7 million of public money in the marketing of this film, intended to link Scotland’s visitor offer directly to the screenings of the film.
The event in Lochgilphead is also to show its invited guests the TV and cinema ad which it is hoped will reach 80 million people around the world this summer, promoting travel to Scotland on the back of the film. (Argyll’s claim to fame in the film is compelling helicopter-shot footage across Kilchurn Castle in Loch Awe and scenes imagined in Kilmartin Glen..)
Brave is being released in 72 countries to Disney/Pixar’s huge worldwide audience and VisitScotland believes it gives Scotland an access to the international family market it has not previously experienced.
The members of the Phownix team upset by the timing of this initiative feel that it will draw to the slightly later event n Lochgilphead members of the audience it had expected to attend the Oban Pheonix premiere on 3rd August.
This will be trie to some degree since no one wants to see the same film twice within a short time and businessfolk must put those interests first.
VisitScotland have reasonably pointed out that it is hard to find a location for a business event in Argyll, given its dispersed population and its decentralised topography.
However, the choice of Lochgilphead is the one most likely to draw an important element of the Phoenix’s potential audience away. This is the town closest to Oban.
The local business community has been very important to the campaign to save and revive the cinema – and its presence in numbers at the premiere, with the fun of Robbie Coltrane’s presence, was intended to underline the continuing reward and need of business support.
It would have been sensitive had VisitScotland – who admit they were aware of the Oban event – liaised with the Oban Phoenix team before deciding to locate its own screening in Lochgilphead – and so close in time to an occasion that matters to Oban.
The Screen Machine is, by its nature, mobile. It and the local VisitScotland event could have gone to Campbeltown – which would have been a boost for the newly formed Kintyre and Gigha Marketing Group.
However, what’s done is done.
Tonight the Oban Phoenix is hosting a volunteer open evening, asking anyone interested in volunteering with the cinema to come along at 6.00pm for a sneak preview of the new cinema and for a brief presentation and training session.
The type of volunteering any individual does with us is really up to them – an indication of the spectrum is that they need ushers, cleaners, front of house (box office/concessions stand) and lots more jobs done.
This is a community commitment in every possible way and we wish it well for its rising.
Note: Brave is showing at Oban Phoenix from 3rd-16th August