Matakana Cinemas has livened up its post-Covid-19 lockdown screenings with film introductions and Q&A sessions with some of New Zealand’s top filmmakers and actors.
The Talk of the Town series kicked off on May 30 when actor and vocal talent Rhys Darby introduced Snells Beach-made animated feature Mosley and answered questions about the film and his role in it afterwards.
The series continues this Friday, June 5, at 5pm, when local cinematographer Nigel Bluck will introduce and answer questions afterwards on the American independent film he helped make, The Peanut Butter Falcon.
Then on Friday, June 12, (time to be confirmed) cinematographer Crighton Bone will introduce and answer questions on the 2017 film Pork Pie – a remake of the 1981 New Zealand classic, Goodbye Pork Pie, directed by Geoff Murphy.
It’s hoped to continue the series throughout June and possibly into July to coincide with the school holidays.
Matakana Cinemas owner Dan Paine says much of New Zealand’s best film talent is currently back in the country, after the industry ground to a halt in places like Los Angeles due to Covid-19.
“It’s a great opportunity to hear them while they are back in town,” he says.
Mr Paine says it’s a challenging time for theatres, with no new films being released, but it was wrong for Matakana Cinemas to simply sit dormant, especially as its staff had benefited from the wage subsidy.
“With that in mind we decided to open the doors and do what we can. We felt these Q&As would add a layer or excitement to our reopening,” he says.
“It’s definitely engaged the town and got people talking about what we are doing.”
Tickets to the Talk of the Town screenings are $10 until June 17, a reduction on the standard adult ticket of $17.
Mr Paine encourages cinemagoers to book their tickets online as details supplied online can assist with contact tracing if necessary.
The cinemas will employ appropriate social distancing during Talk of the Town, which may include seating patrons in alternate rows.