Schull ‘gifted’ new 80-seater cinema and film centre

July 12th, 2021 7:05 AM

By Siobhan Cronin

Former AIB: big plans

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A MULTI-MILLION euro donation by generous benefactors will see Schull getting an 80-seater state-of-the-art cinema and film centre within two years.

Fastnet Film Festival director Hilary McCarthy has confirmed to The Southern Star that plans are advanced for the facility, which will be known as The Fastnet Centre, at the former AIB building in the centre of the town.

As reported earlier, the building was donated to the festival by philanthropists Bill and Judy Bollinger, who have a house locally. But now they have also agreed to fully fit-out the historic building too.

The cinema will show a mix of arthouse, mainstream and locally-produced movies, and will be the focus point for the successful Fastnet Film Festival, which has Sir David Puttnam and Saoirse Ronan among its patrons.

The Bollinger family’s generosity will see the town, with a population of less than 1,000, punching way above its weight, in film terms.

Hilary McCarthy said that the centre will be a huge boost to West Cork.

’We are hoping we will be able to provide support to any productions shooting in and around Schull,’ she said.

The journey kicked off about five years ago when the Bollingers informed the committee that they had bought the former bank building and were gifting it to the festival.

‘We are applying for planning permission at the moment, so fingers crossed next year we will be launching this beautiful building. We hope to have a more than 80-seater luxury cinema, which can be used for all performance arts,’ said Hilary.

She added that the building was ‘formerly a church on Cape Clear’ as the stone used it in was originally taken from the island. The committee hopes it will be up and running for the festival in May 2023.

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