What's new as 2015 starts

2014 has been a pretty good year for charming boutique like the ones we feature. Huskisson had its most profitable year to date, Jeff Visser tells us. He also reports that he's purchased the Ulladulla twin and increased the business by 20% sicne taking it over.

To everyone's great delight, we hear that the townsfolk of Sawtell are in  the process of buying the First Av. cCnema which has been closed since Dec. 2012. A consortium of 20 locals has put up 2 million to buy the building and convert it to a twin. The Orginal 300 seat cinema will become two screens of approx 140 and 35 seats each. Makes good sense,  it seems.

The Regal at Birmingham gardens, Newcastle, recently reopened after being closed for 6 years, is gong well with food for thought movies. 

As you'll see if you go to the Mount Vic Flicks page, the Cousins who bought that business are doing well, 15 moths after re opening. 

The Glenbrook cinema at the  base of the Blue Mountains, is going well though Ron Curran, is very anxious to get permission to add another screen. he has to share the council owned building with local theatre companies and so lacks continuity

We've heard that two twins are for sale, both charming venues. The Regent at Windsor and the Plaza at Laurieton . let's hope they find film buffs to purchase them.

Overseas,  we are slowly adding more cimemas. We recently added the Ken single screen in San Diego, and fron an article on that cinema which is on their page, we learn that there are still apparently 1000 single screens in the US. Amazing if true

Brendan Smith

(Note from Mike Rubbo)  I asked Brendan Smith how come NSW has more small independent cinemas than other states. Brendan  was previously The NSW Regional Cinema Officer from 2001 to 2004.   Did it it, I wondered, have something to do with the  the Flicks in the Sticks program of the mid 2000s which he helped coordinate?  And indeed, what was Flicks in the Sticks with its, oh so catchy name? 

Brenan replied; Flicks in the Sticks were a series of popular 1-day seminars designed to assist regional communities to set up and run their own community cinemas, film festivals and screenings. Originally created by Nundle Arts Council and North West Arts, they were later coordinated twice a year (in regional locations) by the then NSW Film and Television Office (FTO - now Screen NSW) as part of their Regional Cinema Program. 
They followed on from two major regional cinema conferences held in Sydney in 1998 and 1999, in recognition of the development and blossoming across regional NSW of a number of successful models for community or local council-run cinemas, film societies and film festivals. Flicks in the Sticks provided practical advice and assistance from industry experts and community members on key issues such as film distribution, projection technologies, funding resources and infrastructure, programming and marketing. 
They also offered an invaluable opportunity for people from different communities and different cinema and screening projects to gather, share stories and information and learn more about creating unique screening opportunities perfectly suited to their local circumstances and communities.

The first Flicks in the Sticks seminar was orchestrated by the dynamic nurse practitioner Sue Denison in Nundle (north western NSW) in 2000.  ( A short  film, Sue Denison starts a cinema, will be posted her very soon) 
The FTO then delivered a series of these events across NSW in locations such as Manildra, Bombala, Gunnedah, Bellingen, Tumut and Broken Hill from 2001 to 2005. The seminars were usually held in a historic regional cinema (such as the Amusu in Manildra or the Montreal in Tumut) or newly established screening venue (such as Gunnedah's The Civic or the Southern Cross Cinema in Young), concluding with a screening of a new or classic Australian film. 

Brendan Smith
Manager, Regional Programs

Mike Rubbo

On the 23rd. I'm going back to Manildra  where you find the amazing Amusu cimema.

It's the 90th annivesdary of Alan Tom's (everyone called him Tomsie)  starting to show pictures in his his town. It was in  1923 that  he began screening in a community hall, then in a tent behind his garage business, finally building the theatre which is  still standing, in 1936.

One special reason to go is to interview Don Reich. Don was what he calls a bowser boy in 1940  at the Tom garage.   In those days, Tomsie was on the road as a picture show man, a projector on the back of his truck.  I've always been fqscinated by these  travelling projectionists, the Pictureshow men, and so when I heard that Don had stopped pumping petrol  in 1941 and gone on th road with Tomsie, I knew I had to inteview Don.

I can't talk to Tomsie. He  died at 93 round about 1995. Don is now 90. It's  a story which must be grabbed before it's too late. So, look forward, if you will,  to the interview with Don on this site towards the end of November.  

Don's gone a screenin and we dont know where he are. I'll call it. 

Also by MR

  News from the Roxy.

I've just found out that the Roxy at Bingara, one of the most beautiful and opulent of the surviving picture palaces, is hosting a special opening in April next year.

It's  museum  to celebrate Greek culture in NSW country towns. The Greeks , as you kprobably know,  built milk bars in almost every town, often picture palaces too, as they did in this case.

So, it will be a museum which reveals a lot about our regional cinema history.