Capture by A photoblog


Cinema Scoped

by Geoff Lealand

Guest post

As we approach the end of the New Zealand Film Festival in Auckland, Geoff Lealand (who many Public Address regulars will be very familiar with) has kindly offered to introduce his website "Cinemas of New Zealand", and has provided some background and a few photos of his favourite cinemas from around the country.

Over to Geoff.

Cinemas of New Zealand

I developed my Cinemas of New Zealand site because there didn’t seem to be any site recording or celebrating the myriad of small, independent cinemas around New Zealand.  Many of these cinemas are thriving (especially those in wealthy suburbs or resort towns), some are looking a little fragile  (those facing expensive digital upgrades or problems with distribution), and several have closed since I began this project (the closing of the Crooked Mile Talking Pictures in Hokitika was the saddest closure).   I estimate that I will have close to 100 cinemas on the site once I have been able to visit every one, and  these continue to serve a vital role in community life, and in the broader cultural life of New Zealand.

The site is about art house and independent cinemas in New Zealand but it is also about the nature of film-going in New Zealand, the role of
distribution, and where New Zealand films fit into the mix--and architecture. It has always puzzled me how film scholarship pays so little attention to social aspects of film-going and this site is a start towards addressing this neglect.

New cinemas are springing up around New Zealand, which challenges the prevailing belief that going to the cinema is no longer an important social ritual in New Zealand—or that we are now just content to watch films on small mobile devices.   Older patrons have returned to the cinema; it is estimated that 30% of the New Zealand box office now comes from the art house sector.  Cinemas run by film-loving managers or owners stand in strong contrast to bland multiplex boxes.

So, is dedicated to these cinemas and those who run
them—and to those who continue to find pleasure in watching larger-than-life, great movies in the darkened auditoriums of some quite remarkable cinemas.

Capitol, Dominion Road, Auckland. Opened in 1923 and under Charlie Gray's management in the 1980s, it first brought art house cinema to Auckland. Photo: Geoff Lealand

Castle Duo Cinema, Kaikohe. Kaikohe may feel like a struggling Northland town but it still has a two-screen cinema. Photo: Josephine Maplesden

De Luxe, Opotiki. 85 years old in 2011, the community-run De Luxe hosts an annual Silent Film Festival. Photo: Geoff Lealand

Geraldine Cinema. Established in 1924, this interesting cinema run by a local couple faces the prospect of an expensive upgrade to digital. Photo: Geoff Lealand

Matakana Cinema. A well-designed and popular cinema in rural Auckland. 32,000 artificial roses cover the ceiling in one auditorium. A good example of building with style. Photo: Josephine Maplesden

Regent 3, Masterton. The town tends to get a bad press but it has a great cinema in the old style, with wonderful curved screens. Photo: Geoff Lealand

Rialto, Dunedin. The glowing exterior at night invites you in. Photo: Geoff Lealand

Rubys, Wanaka. A good example of the sophisticated, boutique cinemas springing up around New Zealand.The resort town of Wanaka now has two art house cinemas, as well as Dorothy Browns in nearby Arrowtown. Photo: Geoff Lealand

Swamp Palace, Oruru. Now closed but people still venture down Oruru Road in Northland, in search of this cinema listed on AA maps. Photo: Geoff Lealand

Metro Town Hall, Dunedin. Currently closed for renovations. The "only 100% locally owned and operated cinema left in Dunedin". Photo: Geoff Lealand

Waiheke Community Cinema. Established in 2003 and run by island volunteers. The great collection of sofas have been donated by locals. Photo: Geoff Lealand