Cinema a creative force
by Andy Bryenton
When the historic old Empire theatre closed in Dargaville in the 1970s, it seemed that the age of the silver screen was over from the town, but more than 25 years later, a trust was formed to bring big screen movies back.
The phenomenal success of the ANZAC Theatre has not just been about the hundreds of thousands of dollars raised, or the revitalisation of a classic old building to house what is now one of the most comfortable cinemas in New Zealand. It’s also been about fostering talent in the creative arts through various means.
The cinema is the host to the Rotary club’s annual classic film festival, now with many years behind it and better than ever for 2019. Exploring works by film-makers such as Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock is as much a part of art appreciation as taking in paintings by Raphael or Monet. Added to this is the chance to watch the great actors of the 20th century in their defining roles. Having our own cinema also means the ability to host a film-making competition of our own each year, with locals well represented in the annual Northland Short Film contest. History has proven that the inspired small-budget film creators of today are the Peter Jacksons and Taika Waititis of tomorrow. Finally (and aside from the fact that having a cinema, which brings pop culture events like new Star Wars films here at the same time as the big cities), having a cinema means the ability to use the space for other concerts and artistic events. Live music is one good example, and there have even been occasions when a live band has provided the score to a classic film on the big screen. Right now, as we celebrate another memorable film fest, the ANZAC Theatre is planning to upgrade and improve their projection equipment, investing even more into the arts in Dargaville.
Thank you to all the volunteers and the contributors who make it possible to enjoy the creative world of the cinema so close to home.