Community Cinemas Deliver Major Benefits for Well-Being Across D&G

Driftwood Cinema, based in Wigtown, is pleased to be a founder member of the new Community Screen Forum, a UK-wide grouping which has been brought together by the Film Studies Department of the University of East Anglia to help to raise the profile of community cinema, and of the networks which support local groups.

Cinema is the most accessible and popular form of ticketed cultural experience in the UK. The enduring appeal of the big screen experience is evidenced in the major growth in community cinema venues and audiences in recent decades. Beyond just screening films, community cinemas function as important sites of social value, and this has enabled them to flourish despite the increasing personalisation of media technologies and fragmentation of viewing.

Community cinemas generate important opportunities for local residents to come together. They foster and empower networks of people through the activities of both managing and attending screening events. Evidence shows that one of the greatest areas of positive impact is for marginalised people –e.g. those on low incomes, rurally isolated or with long-term health issues and their carers.


Dumfries and Galloway has seen a growth in the number of community cinemas over the past few years.  Supported by Driftwood Cinema, Indy Cinema, Regional Screen Scotland and Cinema for All, we now have 15 Community Cinemas run by volunteers spread across the county from Port Logan in the west to Eskdalemuir in the East.  Most operate from September to April, providing an opportunity for communities to come together right on their doorstep and see a range of films, new, old, independent, foreign language and documentaries.  Some communities are also now showing encore screenings of West End and Broadway theatrical performances.


Driftwood Cinema are working with the Robert Burns Centre, DGArts and Regional Screen Scotland to support community and independent cinemas across Dumfries and Galloway and have this week released a survey to encourage more communities to consider running their own local cinema.  Community groups and organisations interested in exploring running a local cinema can complete the survey at: Click here to Complete the Survey


Community cinemas operate under a range of different models. While some local groups are able to independently initiate and manage their screening enterprises, many find it feasible only with the support and assistance of a specialist screen network. The expertise and centralised services offered by network organisations significantly reduces the burden of time, technical knowledge and cost on individual local groups, and make it possible for large numbers of communities to enjoy the social and cultural benefits of cinema. The Community Screen Forum (CSF) was formed in 2016 to represent the vital work of specialist screen network organisations around the UK.


The CSF, in partnership with the University of East Anglia (Dr Karina Aveyard, Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts, Media and American Studies), has today published a series of free Fact Sheets. These are designed to promote a better understanding of the community screen sector and of the CSF’s activities. These documents will be of interest to the screen sector, and more broadly to anyone involved in community based social inclusion activities.

Fact Sheet 1 introduces the CSF and the size and scope of the important work of its members.

This is followed by Fact Sheet 2 that details more about the social value of community cinema and provides a case study of CSF member, Cine North.

Fact Sheet 3 explains film distribution and licensing in the context of community cinema, how this influences screenings, and why it’s not always possible for communities to enjoy the latest films when they’re released.

For further information and to download free copies of the Fact Sheets please to the CSF website https://www.uea.ac.uk/community-screen-forum/fact-sheets