A site created and maintained by Geoff Lealand, Screen and Media Studies, University of Waikato, New Zealand. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
To begin with two quotes:
Clive James on cinema-going, The thrill that began with a shaft of light in the dark will still go on.
(The Atlantic, June 2011, 97)
[paraphrasing UK music critic David Hepworth], “The future of film is its past”
Some might say it is a little ironic to be offering a website celebrating the pleasures of going to the cinema in New Zealand (or film-going generally), in a time when we are all supposedly sitting at home watching films on TV or DVD, or on our computer (legally or illegally acquired), or even on the tiny screens of our mobile phones.
But the evidence is otherwise, for very large numbers of us (New Zealanders included) continue to step out on the journey to the local cinema (or theatre or movie palace or multiplex or whatever you call it). For example, one website (www.nationmaster.com) claimed New Zealanders rated number three in 2010, in terms of cinema attendance per capita (behind Iceland and the USA). Val Morgan, another authoritative source, points to the art house/independent sector as the fastest growing audience group in New Zealand.
Nevertheless, changes in technology (the production, distribution and exhibition of film) are creating challenges but also new opportunities for the survival, arrival and revival of independent cinemas. This is all to do with the inevitable shift to digital technology (DCP). But, for many New Zealanders, film-going remains a very important social activity (irrespective of the projection style), and a vital part of cultural and community life in New Zealand.
This site is a celebration of film-going in New Zealand; a particular kind of movie-going; it is not about the generic multiplex experience, where going to see blockbusters like Transformers 3 or the latest Hobbit movie is pretty much the same wherever you go.
This site is designed to document–and celebrate–the abundance of art house/independent cinemas in the towns and cities of New Zealand. By the close of 2014, I have visited close to 80 such cinemas; a few have closed since I began this venture some years ago, such as the much-missed Crooked Mile Talking Pictures in Hokitika (below) but new ones have opened or re-opened, such as the Anzac Cinema in Dargaville, Everybody’s in Opunake, the Tivoli in Cambridge.
This site is not yet complete (and may never be), as I continue to add or update information. The best thing about it is that it enables me to visit little cinemas in places like those below, and meet the very interesting people who remain dedicated to bringing the true film experience to New Zealanders. This is a non-commerical venture and will remainn so, for it is all about sharing my enthusiasms and pleasures in film.
1. Crooked Mile Talking Pictures, Hokitika (interior, 2010) CLOSED April 2012
2. The Civic, Queen Street, Auckland (foyer, 2009)
3. Mayfair Community Theatre, Kaikoura (2011)