Mareel programmer delighted to be back – and offers hint about what big screen audiences can expect to see

After almost five months gathering dust, Mareel’s projectors are set to whir into life again next Friday.

A Best Picture-winning odyssey through America and an epic clash between two of cinema’s most famous monsters will headline the opening of Lerwick’s picture house following a period of imposed closure.

Film programmer Jenny Leask said she had “never been so happy to be back at my work in my life” as she prepared for the cinema doors to swing open once again.

“I think folk have really missed that cinema experience,” she said.

“Sharing watching a film with other people, it canna be beaten.”

Mareel’s screen one is ready for audiences to return.

The Oscar-winning Nomadland, monster blockbuster Godzilla vs Kong and Disney animation Raya and the Last Dragon will be the first to try to entice audiences back into their seats.

All three are available to stream from the comfort of the couch, but Leask thinks people will come back for the big-screen experience.

“You just have to watch the trailer for Godzilla vs Kong to think, ‘I want to watch that in the cinema’.

“That’s a film that’s not going to be the same on the TV.”

The full cinema experience was “what the film needs”, she said.

She detailed a few that audiences could expect to see over the coming weeks, including children’s sequel Peter Rabbit 2, Disney origin story Cruella, December release Wonder Woman 1984 and two sequels for horror fans – A Quiet Place 2 and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.

There is also potentially exciting news for fans of Lord of the Rings, with Leask saying there were tentative plans for Mareel to screen all three films after the success of its Harry Potter series.

While there are a number of blockbuster pictures set to be released over the coming months, including four from Marvel, Leask said it was unlikely they would be able to screen them from their release date.

“It’s always been a difficult one for us. There’s a requirement to have a film at a certain amount of screenings.

“But we’re going to be open five days a week, and closing earlier, for the first few weeks at least.”

Leask said they would be asking audiences “to be patient”, and not to expect films to arrive immediately.

“We could easily just bring up the big Hollywood blockbusters, but we have a responsibility to the other audiences who might not want to watch those kind of films.”


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