North East Living Magazine - - Contents - words Shane Douthie

The old world charm of the art deco in­spired Swanpool Cinema still brings in the crowds.

CIN­E­MAS, like pubs and gen­eral stores, were once found in nearly ev­ery Aus­tralian coun­try town, but tele­vi­sion, videos and DVDS and more re­cently pop­u­la­tion drift have seen them die out like di­nosaurs.

But ev­ery now and then along coun­try roads off the main in­ter­state free­ways you will pass a clas­sic old store, pic­ture the­atre or ho­tel that has bucked the trend. Like the Swanpool Cinema. The for­mer Swanpool Hall was trans­formed into the Swanpool Cinema in 1991 by re­tired SEC worker Kevin Smith who, with his wife Shirley, ran the cinema as a pri­vate busi­ness for just over 20 years, re­tir­ing in De­cem­ber 2011 on New Year’s Eve.

Since that time it has been a not-for-profit com­mu­nity cinema, op­er­ated en­tirely by vol­un­teers, screen­ing the best of art house and qual­ity movies, usu­ally as a dou­ble fea­ture on Fri­day, Satur­day and Sun­day nights.

The cinema now has a mod­ern dig­i­tal pro­jec­tion sys­tem, Dolby Sound, and a new roll up screen so it can show the lat­est re­leases, while also re­tain­ing the 16mm, 35mm and car­bon arc glass slide pro­jec­tors so the old clas­sics can still be run.

Air-con­di­tion­ing now adds to the com­fort and espresso cof­fee is avail­able at the candy bar.

The cinema op­er­ates most week­ends ex­cept dur­ing the colder win­ter months and is also pop­u­lar for tour, com­mu­nity and busi­ness groups and fundrais­ers with cus­tomised screen­ings avail­able.

Spe­cial events in­clude New Year’s Eve, and the an­nual Bald Archy ex­hi­bi­tion - the ir­rev­er­ent al­ter­na­tive to the Archibald Prize for por­trai­ture which at­tracted over 3000 peo­ple in less than two weeks last year.

David Beer, trea­surer of Swanpool Cinema Inc, said the cinema was go­ing from strength to strength with pa­tron­age up 25 per cent in the last 12 months.

“We show two movies for the price of one with a half hour break be­tween them which of­fers great value,” he said.

“The cinema is now dig­i­tal, the seats have been re­uphol­stered, and we’ve in­stalled air-con­di­tion­ing. “The cinema has re­ally built up the com­mu­nity spirit.” Up­com­ing fea­tures in­clude Florence Fos­ter Jenk­ins, Hunt for the Wilder Peo­ple and on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 25 the cinema will cel­e­brate its 25th birth­day and screen The Philadel­phia Story, which was shown at Kevin and Shirley’s wed­ding back in 1991.

To en­joy a clas­sic cin­e­matic ex­pe­ri­ence or to find out more about the Swanpool Cinema visit www.swan­pool­cin­ema.com.au.

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