Melburnians return to cafes, restaurants, and even gyms, but nobody goes to the movies.
- The cinemas in Victoria are still closed and have no date to reopen
- Prime Minister Daniel Andrews says it is not the right time to open cinemas, but the government will allow it as soon as possible
- Australian director Robert Connolly is hoping to share his new film with the Victoria audience when it opens
Theaters will remain closed and have not been told when they will reopen due to lockdowns as part of the Victorian government roadmap.
The Cinema Nova in Carlton has been closed since July 9th. When it first closed the store, CEO Kristian Connelly thought it would only close for six weeks.
“One would hope that we would only wait a few more weeks before we see a specific announcement,” he said.
He believes cinemas are ready to open and be safe, but he says his biggest concern is not knowing when his business can reopen.
“The uncertainty about when to actually act is one of the most debilitating aspects,” he said.
“Having to remain optimistic for my employees in the face of this uncertainty only chews your courage.
The Prime Minister promises the government to reopen the cinemas “as soon as possible”
Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said today he has no date for the cinemas to reopen.
“Without disrespect for their product or the experience they offer, there is no point in jeopardizing everything we have built in the cinema,” he said.
“There will be a time for it, it’s just not now.”
“We’ll open it as soon as we can.”
Mr Andrews said it was an ongoing conversation with the industry.
Mr Connelly said he was glad the prime minister wanted to have a dialogue with industry but had already tried speaking to various Victorian government departments including the Department of Health and Human Services without receiving a response.
“We haven’t actually been given any reason why cinemas cannot work in Melbourne,” he said.
“And that’s really strange when you consider that regional cinemas are also included in these closings and that regional Victoria is obviously much further advanced in containing the spread of COVID than Melbourne, but has not yet opened.”
The prime minister said that if cinemas felt that the government had not communicated adequately, he would follow up and make sure they got the information they needed.
Mr Andrews added that if Melbourne reaches COVID-normal, the cinemas would in some way reopen.
Opening a movie in theaters during the pandemic
Australian director Robert Connolly has a new movie with Eric Bana coming out soon.
Mr Connolly said it would be incredible to be able to share the film set in Victoria with fellow countrymen after the year the state went through.
“It’s been a tough year for Victorians who dug really deep to get through and I think they should be rightly proud of what has been achieved,” he said.
“As a filmmaker, it’s wonderful to invite the audience to experience this local Australian film that I made with my good friend Eric Bana, who also lives here in Melbourne.”
The Dry, based on a book by Jane Harper, will be released January 1st.
While Mr Connolly was optimistic that the Victorian government would open cinemas before that, he hoped cinema operators could get answers soon.
Given the lag in the big Hollywood blockbusters, Connelly believes the next few months could be a great time for Australian film and he is keen to show local features as soon as possible.
“Australian cinemas are a great way to make sure our stories really get noticed; that they are actually seen by people and that people are aware of them, ”he said.
“Unfortunately, the possibility for people to find and see them is much less if you just dump them into the great ocean of the Internet.”
He admitted that after a lengthy lockdown, the likelihood is high that some Victorian cinemas could be lost forever.
“Still, I know our industry is incredibly resilient,” he said.
“This is an industry that evokes a lot of passion.”
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