Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) has announced plans to reopen on Monday 31 August. The Scottish Government announced last week that cinemas in Scotland could reopen from 15 July, but the independent cinema intends to take time to ensure that safety measures are in place before welcoming audiences back.


GFT is operated by Glasgow Film, an educational charity which also runs the award-winning Glasgow Film Festival and Glasgow Youth Film Festival. GFT is the city’s original independent arthouse cinema and the home of film in Glasgow.


Allison Gardner, Glasgow Film CEO, said: “The safety and comfort of our staff, volunteers and audience are of paramount importance in all of our considerations. We have taken the decision that we want to re-open as safely as possible, and the planning and implementation of our safety plan to achieve that takes time and training. We are working with our staff to devise a safe operating plan in accordance with the guidance provided by the UK Cinema Association. Our safe operating plan measures will be shared with audiences to reassure them of the actions we are taking.


“We will be taking our time to make sure we have everything in place for everyone to have the best possible cinema experience. Going to the cinema will obviously be a little different, but the magic of watching a movie on the big screen is one thing that will never change.


“The summer months for GFT are traditionally one of our quietest periods and so we’re coordinating with other independent cinemas and distributors across the UK to have a joined-up approach to re-opening in late August around exciting new releases.”


Social distancing guidelines will mean that GFT will re-open with reduced capacity in all of its screens, using only approximately 20% of normal capacity. This means that the significant majority of seats will be kept vacant to allow adequate spacing of customers.


In the meantime, GFT plans to launch a new live video series online, and will bring Glasgow Film Festival back for a series of drive-in screenings over the summer, in partnership with Electric Frog.


Ms Gardner confirmed that the COVID-19 crisis has had a significant financial impact on the independent cinema: “For the past months we have had no income from ticket sales, venue hires or our bar, which collectively amounts to 60% of our yearly income. Safeguarding jobs has and will remain a priority going forward and we have paid our permanent staff 100% of their wages during the closure period.


“Whilst re-opening is a big step in the right direction, we are aware that there is a long road ahead until the cinema is able to operate at full capacity. As a not-for-profit educational charity, all of our income is reinvested into our programming and access initiatives to create Cinema For All. This will be perhaps the biggest challenge we have faced as an organisation, but it is one we intend to tackle with passion and determination, and we know that our loyal audience will continue to support us.


“We need your help to secure our future over this next crucial period. We are asking everyone who loves GFT to donate £20, or whatever you can afford, to help us to continue to provide Cinema For All. We realise that this is a difficult time for many people, and we are grateful for all donations, however big or small. The outpouring of support we have received from our audiences over the past few months has meant the world to us and reminded us how much GFT means to the people of Glasgow. Thank you.”


You can donate to GFT quickly and easily online:


You can also donate online at GFT’s Virgin Money Giving page: add link


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