Excitement grows for Fort William cinema as premiere date is set

The front section of the cinema - where the bar/restaurant will be - is designed to be inkeeping with the architecture of the rest of Cameron Square. Photograph: Highland Cinema

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The traditional stonework and standout red roof is almost complete on the Highland Cinema.

Building work on the Cameron Square picture house is due to be complete by the middle of April when the barriers will be taken down.

The opening premiere on May 9 will be a glitzy Highland affair with the red carpet being rolled out and a tartan dress code for all attending.

After that, the cinema will be open for business and owner Angus MacDonald is keen to have a children’s premiere on Sunday May 10 for under 15s.

He said: ‘We cannot say much about the premiere until everything is confirmed, but we are hoping to have an advanced screening of a film for it and a very special guest.’

A lot of thought is being put into every aspect of the cinema, with a focus on promoting the history and people of the western highlands. Mr MacDonald is hoping the venue will become a cultural hub.

He continued: ‘We will have black and white footage playing in the bar area of things like the Ballachulish ferry, the National Trust are providing something from the island of Canna and there will also be some archive footage from the Scottish Mountaineering Club.

‘The theme for the gents is the illicit whisky trade. So the wash basins will be set in whisky barrels, and we will have pictures of that sort of smuggling around the bathroom.’

There will also be a display of photographs showing ‘people at work in Lochaber’, such as farmers and fishermen, and also highlighting recognisable faces, such musician Fergie MacDonald.

There has been a competition for the display of photographs and one of the judges, Iain Ferguson, said: ‘We have received lots of entries and are very impressed with the level of work we have received.

‘There will be 12 winners, who are currently being selected, and each winner will get £150 along with their picture being displayed in the cinema.’

Mr MacDonald is also in talks to have live events take place at the cinema for things such as festivals as it will be well-equipped to handle film premieres and Q and A events.

A stage can be erected in either auditorium, or the bar are, a and lunch with live traditional music is hoped to be a feature where diners pay a few extra pounds and get to enjoy a different experience while eating.

The cinema will show latest releases but will have a focus on being family-friendly. Programming is through a company called INDY, which works with small cinemas and provides the best film mix for the audience.