Moyne rejects Port Fairy theatre upgrade funds

SUMMER movies at Port Fairy’s Reardon Theatre are unlikely to hit the big screen next year after Moyne Shire held off funding crucial upgrades. 

George Dummett and Andi Besford from the Port Fairy Film Society with some 35mm film which will be soon redundant.   140610RG30 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

George Dummett and Andi Besford from the Port Fairy Film Society with some 35mm film which will be soon redundant. 140610RG30 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Councillors voted on Tuesday to defer a $12,000 grant request from the Port Fairy Film Society to fit out the projection room ahead of the switch to digital film.

The film industry is expected to phase out 35mm reels next year when most movies go to digital cinema protocol. A new digital projector and sound system will cost around $55,000 — of which $18,000 has already been raised. 

Film society co-ordinator George Dummett told councillors if the projection room was not fixed this year it would throw the popular summer movie season in doubt. 

“If it doesn’t go ahead this year we’re not going to be able to have summer movies next year,” Mr Dummett said. 

“The cinema industry is phasing out 35mm film. There will be very few next year who will be able to provide 35mm,” he said.

The cinema’s projector is 60 years old while the theatre has operated since 1929. 

The cinema can use Blu-ray discs for screening but only in a limited way because of copyright issues. 

Council says it will need to consider future funding if it spends money to fix the Reardon Theatre. The theatre upgrade would require vinyl flooring and a new airconditioning system.

Councillors voted unanimously to defer the funding but would consider it again once the society had raised the funds for the digital equipment.

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