Sydney’s Hornsby Odeon celebrates 100 years

Columns

I have to open this month's report with special congratulations to the Hornsby Odeon's 100th birthday. This single-screen venue in Sydney's northern suburbs has survived despite competition from a large multiplex just five minutes’ walk away. The Hornsby Cinema opened in 1914 and was rebuilt in 1921 and again in the 1930s. It was renamed the Odeon in the 1990s. Operating a single-screen cinema in the present day is not easy and manager David Stone says the secret to filling the 490 seats is "knowing your audience. You have to pick the right film every time, especially when you've only got one screen."

A New Zealand cinema has been going even longer. The Roxburgh Entertainment Centre's projectors are still on the same spot as they were when it opened in 1897. The cinema has applied to the Guinness Book of Records as "the longest continuous-running cinema on the same location in the world.” The cinema is facing tough times, however, and needs to come up with $100,000 to convert to digital or close forever. Roxburgh is in Central Otago on the South Island of New Zealand.
 
The Australian Government granted The Walt Disney Company a special one-off grant of A$21.6 million a couple of years ago to make their new version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in Australia. The film was set to star Brad Pitt and be directed by David Fincher but looks to be stalled at the moment. The national press reported that Disney wants to transfer that grant to Pirates of the Caribbean 5, but there has been no government confirmation of this as yet.

One of Australia's top theatrical directors, Simon Stone, is about to make his first feature. Screen Australia has provided production investment for The Daughter, a drama about a man who returns home and the resurfacing of a long-buried family secret.

Filming has started in Blenheim, New Zealand, on the adaptation of The Light Between Oceans with Michael Fassbender, Rachel Weisz and Alicia Vikander. Most of the action takes place in an island lighthouse. A baby is washed up and a barren wife takes it on as her own. Meanwhile, a mother grieves on the mainland. Further filming on the DreamWorks production of the M.L. Stedman novel will occur in Otago and Tasmania.

Send your Australia/New Zealand news to David Pearce at insidemovies@hotmail.com