News in Brief: Opening Up Slowly, Holding our Breath

Cinemas, distributors and producers come out of hibernation with precautions in place, while festivals soldier bravely online.

Getting back to the Cinema

  • Guidelines differ between states. In South Australia, for instance, cinemas and theatres were able to open from 1 June, with precautions. In Victoria, from 22 June, indoor cinemas can open with up to 50 people in a single space. People who are not from the same household should be seated at least 1.5 metres from other people in the venue and the four square metre rule applies. It looks like most cinemas will be open in some form or other by 2 July.
  • Australia and New Zealand’s largest cinema exhibition chain, Event Cinemas, released a survey of regular cinema-goers in late May showing 83 percent of respondents plan to go to the movies within 12 weeks of reopening. Whether this proves to be the case remains to be seen.
  • Expect the offerings to be limited and often ‘classic’. Cinema Nova, for example, plans to open 22 June with some crowd-pleasing spoon-throwing favourites including Cats, The Room and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. As Nova CEO Kristian Connelly told Screenhub, this strange period may also be a great opportunity for Australian films like Babyteeth, Rams and later in the year, The Dry to find their audiences. 
  • Speaking of Babyteeth, Universal has dated Shannon Murphy’s debut feature for release on 23 July, and has also given a date for Kriv Stenders’ Slim Dusty biopic Slim and I on 27 August.

Getting back to Production

Agency Announcements

Festivals make do online  

  • The Sydney Film Festival will run online from 10 – 21 June. It’s a limited program but includes important prizes for Australian filmmakers in the documentary and shorts categories. There are obvious bonuses for those of us not based in Sydney and now able to ‘attend’!  
  • A free movie collection curated by Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley, launches 10 June at SBS On Demand. Forty gems from the festival’s past include both local and international titles like A Separation, Amour, Boy, Ali’s Wedding, Certain Women, Strange Colours, Lantana and Leave No Trace
  • The St Kilda Film Festival is running online from Friday 12 June to Saturday 20 June and will recognise Australia’s Top 100 short films. There’s also a special filmmakers’ program The Big Picture with live online events that look very useful for up-and-comers.
  • The Cannes Film Festival list of the films we would have seen if there was a place to premiere them includes Ammonite from See-Saw Films. 

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Features & Opinion


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ScreenHub​ is the online home for emerging and experienced Australian screen professionals.