Bringing the movies to Oamaru during the school holidays paid dividends in more ways than one.
The three-day, nine-movie event at the Scottish Hall garnered hugely positive feedback for organisers, an impromptu world premiere for Oamaru, and a $500 cheque for the Ohau fire mayoral relief fund.
The Bigger Picture Oamaru Trust sold almost 400 tickets to its 3 Days of Cinema at the Scottish Hall, which culminated in a sellout premiere screening of Australian movie Rams, starring New Zealand actor Sam Neill, on the final night.
The premiere was a happy accident, after the release date of the movie was postponed and the Oamaru screening was already locked in, trust chairwoman Dagmar Rohrbach said.
When they were initially planning the screenings, they looked at new releases for the final night, and found Rams, starring New Zealand actor Sam Neil, on the final premier night.
“I thought that could be ideal, because it suits the community, I felt, and Sam Neill is always good. So I tried to apply for a public performance licence to get the movie,” she said.
“I was in touch with the company who is in charge [Roadshow Films], and then I got a message from somebody saying they had just postponed the release date in New Zealand and they won’t be releasing it before the end of the month.
“I thought ‘that’s really disappointing’ . . . And then I got in touch with them again and said ‘just wondering how we are going to go about this, because I understand you’ve postponed the release date, but it would be really lovely if our community could still have the screening, because obviously there’s no movie theatre, so if we don’t screen it now, basically we are both missing out’. And then he said ‘Oh no, it’s fine. I’ve already given approval, you’ll be able to screen it’. And it was sort of a big deal.”
This was the first indoor event initiated by Bigger Picture Oamaru Trust, following a successful outdoor screening at Parkside Quarries in June.
Mrs Rohrbach said feedback was “100% positive”. Patrons were impressed with screen and sound quality, and the warm and comfortable setting.
“Community met cinema in a unique way,” she said.
It was obvious the Oamaru public had missed being able to go to the movies, she said.
got behind our idea, and we are very grateful for that.
The event was well supported by local businesses and volunteers, and the small group of organisers received an “overwhelmingly warm response”.
The Bigger Picture Oamaru Trust was formed in response to the Limelight Cinema closure in October 2018, so the Oamaru public could still benefit from the occasional big-screen experience.
After the devastating fire in Ohau, the trust also decided to donate $1 per ticket towards the Ohau Relief Fund. Mrs Rohrbach offered a special thanks to everybody who supported this good cause.