Property management specialist John Alexander is in talks with the Scottish Government, its Screen Scotland agency and the city council over a revival of the art house cinema five months after its sudden closure.
Mr Alexander is working with a group of former senior Filmhouse staff on a rescue plan which could see it reopened within months.
However his bid could be blocked by administrators selling off the Lothian Road building who are rumoured to be on the verge of a deal with a hospitality operator.
New of the potential rescue emerged as the Save the Filmhouse campaign group which was set up after the cinema was forced to cease trading in October announced plans for a protest about the fate of the building at 12 noon on Sunday.
Mr Alexander, Screen Scotland, the former Filmhouse staff, the Scottish Government and the city council are all thought to have raised concerns about a lack of interest from the administrators, amid fears the building could lie empty for years while bar or restaurant plans are pursued.
Councillors recently rejected a bid to transfer the licence for the building, which is in an area of “over-provision.”
Pressure is said to be mounting behind-the-scenes on FRP Advisory, the firm called in by arts charity Centre for the Moving Image, operators of the Filmhouse, last year amid mounting financial problems. FRP has been handling the sale after being appointed administrators of the CMI’s assets.
Mr Alexander has joined forces with former head of programming Rod White, former technician David Boyd, former programme manager James Rice and former chief executive Ginnie Atkinson.
Mr Alexander said: “I’m working with Ginnie and her team in the hope and expectation that if the building can be saved they can go in and get the Filmhouse back up and running as it used to be.
"That would have Screen Scotland, Scottish Government and local government support.
“I firmly believe that an outward-looking country cannot have a capital city devoid of a cultural cinema. We must fight to save the Filmhouse for generations to come.”
Ms Atkinson said: “We’ve been working with John Alexander to try and acquire the building with a view to reopening the unique cultural cinema that was Filmhouse.
“What is important to convey is that the proposition is a stand-alone cinema operation similar to the Filmhouse which ran successfully for 30 years until it was merged into the CMI.
“None of us was involved in the management of the CMI. Running a cinema and film festivals is what we know best.
"We’re confident there are loyal, discerning and even new audiences for the unique cinema experience that Filmhouse can offer and that such a business is viable, even in these challenging times. It’s surely essential that FRP pay attention to the potential on offer here."
David Smith, director of screen at Screen Scotland, has taken to social media to urge supporters of the Filmhouse to write to their local councillor and “petition government.”
He said: “Filmhouse has still not been sold, but the administrators have zero interest in saving the cinema, they just want the highest price they can get.
“If you want Filmhouse saved now is the moment to tell the council, government, & the administrator. It looks like a sale to a developer is imminent, but it's not closed yet.”
A spokeswoman for Screen Scotland said: “We have worked with the Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council across the last five months to secure 88 Lothian Road, better known as the Filmhouse, as a continuing cultural cinema.
"We continue to work with interested parties who share our aims for the building, and for cultural cinema provision in Edinburgh.
"It would be a far happier outcome that 88 Lothian Road continues to be the home for cultural cinema provision in Edinburgh.”
The Save the Filmhouse campaign is being backed by David Macpherson, the Portobello-based creator of the Amazon series The Rig, which was made at the new film studio in Leith.
He said: “Spent the morning emailing my councillors to do all they can to save the Filmhouse. Only took 10 mins. If you care about film in Edinburgh, now is the time to do it. Life can still find a way.”
Council leader Cammy Day said: “We continue to work closely with partners in Creative Scotland, Screen Scotland and Scottish Government to explore what can be done to secure the future of cultural cinema in Edinburgh.
"In terms of 88 Lothian Road, we’ve reached out directly to the administrators for clarity.”
A spokesman for the administrators said: "FRP Advisory has engaged significantly with multiple stakeholders in relation to the property sales process, including parties seeking the preservation of the building as a cultural cinema.
"Our legal duty is to maximise value to the company and its creditors and we continue to work to conclude the property sales process.
“Despite the speculation, the process is confidential and we are unable to comment further until its conclusion.
"Ever since our appointment as administrators over the Centre for the Moving Image, we have engaged with the creditors, trustees, interested parties, potential funders and various public bodies with an interest in the administration and more broadly arts and the city of Edinburgh.
"On cultural matters we prioritised the sale of the intellectual property relating to the Edinburgh International Film Festival, enabling the festival to be remounted in 2023.
"We have also overseen a project to archive a significant amount of cinematic materials for historical preservation, working with the National Library of Scotland.
"However, our overriding legal duty is to maximise value to the company and its creditors.”