(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.
Manager, Regional Programs