The Scottish Film Council was established in 1934 as the Scottish Film Council of the British Film Institute. In 1948 the reference to the British Film Institute was dropped and in 1976 the Scottish Film Council was subsumed within the newly created Scottish Council for Educational Technology as a statutory committee. The Scottish Film Council became independent again in 1990. In 1997 it was merged with the Scottish Broadcast and Film Training Trust, Scottish Film Production Fund and Scottish Screen Locations to form Scottish Screen.
Initally the Scottish Film Council directed its activities through four panels; Amateur Cinematography, Entertainment, Social Service and Education and later the Industry Panel (1939). The Scottish Film Council was closely linked with the Scottish Educational Film Association and was instrumental in the setting up of the Scottish Central Film Library in 1939. Educational Films of Scotland was established in 1962. The Scottish Film Councl offered support in the running of the Scottish Amateur Film Festival, established in 1935. In 1976 the Scottish Film Archive was established. The Technician Training Scheme (a joint ACTT and Scottish Film Council initiative) began in 1978, becoming the independent Scottish Film and Broadcast Training in 1993. The Scottish Film Production Fund was established in 1982 and the Scottish Film Council was one of a consortium of public agencies setting up Scottish Screen Locations in 1990. The Glasgow Film Theatre building was purchased in 1972 by the Scottish Film Council, opening in 1974, and becoming independent in 1986. The Scottish Film Council oversaw the purchase of the premises in Lothian Road, Edinburgh, as the new home of the filmhouse, opening in 1985. The Scottish Film Council played a pivotal role in the development of regional film theatre movement in Scotland and cultural exhibition.