EXPERIENCES at a Wee County cinema could help influence Westminster advice on the UK film industry.

MP John Nicolson – who sits on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee – is bringing Alloa Cinema into a parliamentary inquiry and met the operators to gather evidence during a weekend visit.

The committee, which has the power to advise UK Government strategy, is currently researching how the film industry – including cinemas – operates around the four nations.

Mr Nicolson, SNP representative for Ochil and South Perthshire, spent some time with the Chalmers Group, operators of Alloa Cinema, during one of his recent weekly constituency days.

Company director Andrew Henderson was happy to share his experiences of the cinema industry in Scotland in general, along with the specific challenges and opportunities present in Alloa.

The MP said: “Scotland is performing well in several areas of film production.

“We have an increasing number of high-quality film studios nearby, in Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow to name just some.

“And Scottish writers and creatives are making their mark in everything from Disney animation to Netflix hits.”

Indeed just last month, the Advertiser reported on how a state-of-the-art film studio is set to open in Stirling.

Mr Nicolson added: “But we need to make sure that we all have places to get out and enjoy these films.

“We need cinemas in our towns as they are an important part of the community.”

Alloa Cinema is unique in a variety of ways.

The modern cinema operates in a converted church on Bank Street, showing both blockbusters and art house films through the day before transforming into a nightclub at weekend evenings.

The Wee County's MP has had the opportunity to take evidence from big names across the UK, French and American film and television industries over the past months.

This included the chief executive of the Vue cinema chain, directors at Film 4 and the BBC, as well as film makers such as Gurinder Chadha OBE, director and writer of Bend it like Beckham.

However, Mr Nicolson felt it was important the inquiry hears not just from the biggest industry names, but the likes of Andrew at Alloa Cinema to understand the local and regional experience.

He added: “Cinemas are one part of our response to quiet town centres.

“A good blockbuster shown in a good filmhouse brings footfall to the centre and creates spend in other businesses locally, such as pubs and restaurants.

“I’m glad that we have the cinema in Alloa and as the MP for the town I’ll make sure I do all I can to help the place thrive.”

The MP went on to say it was “clear that Alloa's cinema is dong well” but there are particular challenges in operating a listed former church building with significant maintenance costs.

The committee will publish its report before the end of the current parliamentary session and will make a series of recommendations to which the UK government will then respond.