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Kermode hails bus shelter cinema

4 September 09 21:42
By Mike Grundon
Shetland reporter, BBC News

A new record-breaking cinema has opened in Shetland to critical acclaim.

It is not only Britain's newest cinema, it is also the country's northernmost and its smallest, with accommodation for a capacity audience of two.

The cinema has been set up in a bus-shelter in north-east corner of the island of Unst.

It has a screen, a projector and it has been given the blessing of the country's top film critic Mark Kermode, who described it as "remarkable".

Tourist attractions

The bus shelter is already internationally famous for being decorated each year in different colours by a band of volunteers.

It started as a harmless prank and has developed so that now it even has a website dedicated to it.

If the visitors' book is to be believed, it is now one of the most visited tourist attractions in Shetland.

Dr Kermode, who reviews films for BBC Radio Five Live, said: "I've been to premieres. I've done Hollywood. I've done all that sort of thing.

"But it pales into insignificance when you're in a bus shelter in Unst.

"It's a remarkable place to see a film. I can't think of anywhere more extraordinary."

The bus shelter has been turned into a cinema as part of the Shetland film festival Screenplay, which is running until the end of the week.

At the grand opening it was used to screen a film by the local young-people's film club Maddrim Media.

Aidan Nicol of the group said it had been an honour to show it in Britain's smallest, northernmost and newest cinema.

"It's a great opportunity for Maddrim to be able to show our work to one of Britain's biggest film critics," she said.

"It's a really great advantage for us."

Dr Kermode was full of praise for the youngsters.

He said he had been following their work for three years and strongly recommended their short film Masks, which can be found on youtube.

The cinema opening has been described as a great success by Shetland Arts, which is staging the film festival.

Achieving a capacity audience in a venue that can hold only two people maybe is not a fabulous achievement but the organisers are hoping for similar success at its other, larger venues right across the islands.

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