Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Flicker of hope for cinema

Benalla's cinema is seeking funding from local business to enable it to go digital.

ANGELA TOWNSEND February 13, 2013 4:59am

Benalla Toyota's Travis Mullavey and Benalla Rural City's Jilian Mulally in the BPACC Cinema reel room.

Benalla’s performing arts centre needs a digital projector to enhance its cinema, according to Benalla Rural City arts, culture and events manager Jilian Mulally.

With the cinema struggling to attract the number of moviegoers it needs to break even — largely attributed to movies running up to 10 weeks after their release — Ms Mulally said a proposition by a local business owner could revitalise the cinema and stop it losing customers to other towns.

‘‘Soon we won’t be able to run reel-to-reel movies — they are phasing them out,’’ she said.

Ms Mulally said showing films with a digital projector would increase cinema sessions, patronage and kiosk turnover, although it could still be several weeks after their release before the latest movies were shown. This is primarily due to priority being given to larger cinemas.

‘‘I think it’s absolutely fantastic that we can have this partnership between council and local businesses.’’

Benalla and Mansfield Toyota will be the principal sponsor, with Travis Mullavey starting the fundraising with $5000.

With a digital projector expected to cost about $70000, the idea is to get local businesses on board. By making an up-front payment to the projector fund, it is proposed each business will then get 12 months’ cinema screen advertising free of charge. Ms Mulally said it was hoped businesses could contribute half of the cost of a projector.

‘‘Council could then apply for a grant for the rest,’’ she said.

The Ensign will endeavour to confirm the higher costs involved with showing new-release movies in next week’s edition, as well as any savings from the costs of shipping the current heavy movie reels.

To read more see today's Benalla Ensign.

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