Fort William cinema named as best in the UK

Highland Cinema in Fort William has been named as the best in the UK.

Just three years after opening its doors in September 2020, Highland Cinema was  named UK Cinema of the Year 2023 at the Big Screen Awards ceremony in London.

Run by a small local team, the cinema show a mix of Hollywood blockbusters, event cinema, independent films and local Scottish interest titles.

The venue also attracts audiences with its café bar, regular classic film club showings, weekly quiz, cultural talks, live music and events.

‘We often talk about the social, cultural  and economic value that a cinema can bring to an area – the Highland Cinema is as good an example as any of just that impact,’ said cinema owner and director Angus MacDonald.

‘This is the most fantastic thing for the Highland Cinema, for the people of Fort William and Lochaber, and  for all our wonderful and enthusiastic staff.

‘I cannot tell you how pleased I am. It really mattered to  me to have something which people were very proud of in the area.

‘Somewhere they could say to their friends, this is a fantastic place to go in our town.’

General Manager Caroline Knox said: ‘This is an amazing achievement for  us in such a short space of time since opening.

‘Many thanks to our local community, sponsors and  visitors for all their support, and to our excellent team, who I’m very proud of.’

The Big Screen Awards recognises and celebrates achievements in the UK cinema industry, with more than 60 experts involved in the judging process.

In the Cinema of the Year category, judges look for evidence of how cinemas connect with and serve their community, as well as ticket sales performance.  

One of the judges said: ‘A very impressive site which stands out for its local initiatives.

‘In particular I like the concept of using the ad reel to promote local businesses, and using local suppliers.

‘I think the cinema is going above and beyond to make it a community hub, and it’s a place  I’d very much like to visit.’

Chief Executive of the UK Cinema Association Phil Clapp said: ‘The Highland Cinema was unanimously chosen as cinema of the year by a panel of fellow smaller cinema operators, all of whom  recognised the impact the venue has clearly had in such a short time and the extent to which it has been so wholeheartedly embraced by the local community.’

Read more on Scottish Field’s News pages. 

Plus, don’t miss the December issue of Scottish Field magazine.