AN iconic cinema building in Edinburgh has been put up for sale as a petition to save the venue hit more than 23,000 signatures.

The Centre for Moving Image (CMI) announced it was appointing administrators in October, and that the Filmhouse cinemas in Edinburgh and Aberdeen would be closing following the move. The CMI was also the body behind the popular Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF).

The charity said the decision was down to a "perfect storm" of rising energy costs and a reduction in the number attending events following the pandemic and subsequent cost of living crisis. 

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The move made more than 100 members of staff immediately redundant.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the Scottish Government would "consider" whether or not to provide the independent cinemas with support following the news in October.

Creative Scotland told The National they hope the new buyer will "continue operating the building as a cultural cinema".

Announcing the closure, the CMI said at the time: "Unfortunately, the combination of sharply increasing energy and other costs, together with both the lasting impacts of the pandemic and the rapidly emerging cost-of-living crisis affecting cinema attendances, means that we have had no other option but to appoint administrators at this time."

However, Savills is now listing the Category B listed cinema for sale - with the starting price not published. The listing suggests the venue has a rateable value of £165,000. 

The National: The FM previously said the government would 'consider' support for the venuesThe FM previously said the government would 'consider' support for the venues

The 20,000-square-foot building is described as "suitable for a range of uses subject to achieving the relevant consents".

The listing continues: "88 Lothian Road comprises a sandstone former church building which has been converted to a cinema that was most recently trading as the Filmhouse.

"The property was originally constructed in 1830 and still retains some beautiful features including the 12-panel segmental ceiling in the principle cinema screen (Cinema 1)."

The closing date for the multi-floor cinema is set for midday on December 7.

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It comes as a petition to save the Edinburgh cinema and Aberdeen Belmont counterpart gained over 23,000 signatures

It reads: "The impact of losing either of these cultural institutions would be massive. 

"We must save them before it’s too late.

"Until more details are clear about how a path forward is possible, we are signing to declare our support for the organisations, the staff and the culture of these three cinematic institutions, and to lend our collective power to any steps that may reverse the effects of this decision."

We previously reported how the First Minister told MSPs she would ask Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson to engage with Aberdeen and Edinburgh city councils over the issue, as well as Creative Scotland, to see if there was any way to save them.

Speaking on the day the closures were announced, the FM said: "Obviously, I cannot give any commitment standing here right now and I can’t go into any more detail ahead of that engagement but I can say that we recognise the importance of these organisations and will do everything possible to support them at this difficult time.”

A Creative Scotland spokesperson said: “Since the closure of CMI, Creative Scotland continues to be focussed on discussions with the Administrators and partners to explore options for cultural cinema programme activity in both Edinburgh and Aberdeen, as well as a 2023 edition of the Edinburgh’s film festival, with the associated opportunities for employment and audiences those will bring. 

“With the Filmhouse building being offered for sale by the Administrators, we hope a buyer can be found who will continue operating the building as a cultural cinema.”

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.