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Aberdeen City Council announces preferred operator for Belmont Media Centre

04/03/14

Aberdeen City Council today announced that the Centre for the Moving Image (CMI), the parent company of Filmhouse cinema in Edinburgh and the Edinburgh International Film Festival, has been identified as the preferred operator of the Belmont Media Centre.

The Council is working closely with the current occupier, Picturehouse Cinemas, and CMI to manage the transition. Pending completion of the contractual paperwork, the venue will be a Picturehouse cinema until the last screening on Sunday 30 March 2014, before transferring to CMI. After a short transition period, the CMI plans to reopen the venue in early April.

The change has come about following a ruling by the Competition Commission that Cineworld's acquisition of Picturehouse Cinemas in December 2012 had created unfair competition in Aberdeen as Cineworld already operated two of the other cinemas in the city.

There will be no job losses in the transition and the existing management team is being taken over by CMI. In another positive decision for cinemagoers, CMI plans to launch its own membership scheme but has promised to honour the benefits of existing Belmont members.

An Aberdeen City Council spokesperson said: "We can confirm that The Centre for the Moving Image, which manages the Filmhouse in Edinburgh and the Edinburgh International Film Festival, has been selected as the preferred bidder for the operation of the Belmont Media Centre.

"The transition process is under way and the contract is being finalised, with the formal transfer of the operation of the Belmont Media Centre expected to go ahead on 01 April 2014.

"We thank Picturehouse for all their work in developing the Belmont Media Centre to where it is today and in supporting the transition process. We look forward to working with CMI to provide a diverse and exciting film programme for the residents of Aberdeen."

Director of Operations at Picturehouse Cinemas Alastair Oatey said: "We are sad to be saying goodbye to The Belmont where we spent many years building an arthouse audience and we are working closely with Aberdeen City Council's chosen partner, CMI, to ensure a smooth handover.

"We're proud of our time at The Belmont. CMI clearly has the expertise and experience to deliver an arthouse offer to the loyal audience and we wish them well."