Switch from film to digital hits Camperdown theatre

CAMPERDOWN’S Theatre Royal’s practice of showing contemporary movies during the school holidays looks likely to end due to the film industry’s discontinuation of 35mm prints for new releases.

Following in the footsteps of Port Fairy Film Society announcing its summer movie tradition was unlikely to go ahead this summer, Corangamite Shire Council said similar problems meant two film screenings next week in Camperdown could be the last of their kind.

The Theatre Royal traditionally hosts about a dozen film screenings a year — predominantly family films released in the previous few months — using its 35mm film projector, operated by a projectionist from Ballarat.

But contemporary films were “getting harder and harder to get as less and less companies make 35mm prints available”, the council’s communications relations co-ordinator Rory Neeson said.

He said purchasing an up-to-date digital projection system was “something we’ll look at in a future budget” but is unlikely in the short term.

“The biggest issue is the high cost of those (systems) and whether we’re getting enough usage to justify spending that money but it’s an option we’ll explore,” Mr Neeson said.

The most likely option will be using the shire’s “outdoor cinema system” in the Theatre Royal. That system plays DVDs requiring permissions and sometimes small fees to be able to screen the movies.

“We probably can’t get current movies but by the time we (have been getting) them they’re out on DVD anyway,” he said.

“We’ll start exploring options, maybe get some boutique films and classic films.” 

He said it was sad the 35mm prints were being discontinued, but vowed the shire would continue screening movies at the theatre in some fashion.

The Theatre Royal will screen Muppets Most Wanted on July 1 and The Amazing Spider-man 2 on July 4 in what could be the last of their 35mm screenings.

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