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Sandalford hits big screen

SANDALFORD Caversham Estate has become the latest venue to tap in to the burgeoning outdoor cinema market.

Its Cinema at Sandalford joins almost a dozen outdoor screens that light up each summer to more and more Perth movie goers.

Kings Park-based Sunset Cinemas co-director David Chitty said there was still plenty of growth even with all of the new entrants.

“Our numbers are 70 per cent higher than the same period last year,” Mr Chitty said.

“There have been a lot opening [outdoor cinemas]. Burswood has been running one for a couple of years, there’s one in the hills and I think the City of Stirling has one.

“It has helped promote outdoor cinema culture and it has been good because people have got out and experienced it.

“The more people who want to open up the better.”

However, Mr Chitty said Sunset Events, the company behind Sunset Cinemas, had started to focus on events in recent times to foster its brand.

“We do outdoor movies and outdoor concerts and the profile it’s giving us is working,” he said.

“People that come to the concerts see the great venue we have and know what a great place it is to watch a movie.”

Launched at the weekend, Cinema at Sandalford corners a different part of the market according to Sandalford Caversham Estate sales and marketing manager Kylie McVeigh.

“There is nothing for north of the river people to go to. We have a fantastic venue and we are going to run the cinema to the same scale as our other events,” she said.

“We will operate it one night a week, have special low chair seating and the movie nights will be themed.

“For example, when we screen Chicago we will have the red carpet and really deck out the lawns.”

Somerville has, for the past 51 years, been the venue for art house and foreign film screenings.

Perth International Arts Festival film manager Sherry Hopkins said because the cinema had exclusive first release rights its market was safe.

“We’re not worried by others coming in,” she said.

“New ones come and go. We’ve been doing this for 51 years and we were one of Australia’s first outdoor film festivals.”

Somerville is now part of the PIAF outdoor cinema line up which also includes the Joondalup Pines outdoor cinema.

Kookaburra Cinema owner Lindsay Morris has operated the Mundaring-based outdoor cinema for the past eight years.

“We built this from a bare scratch of dirt,” he said.

He built the 10-metre screen and recently upgraded the facilities to accommodate the growing custom.

“We have grown from 150 seats to 310 seats and that as far as its going to go,” he said.

Mr Morris said he did not think there were too many outdoor movie destinations in Perth.

 

“We have a fantastic venue and we are going to run the cinema to the same scale as our other events.”

-         Kylie McVeigh

 

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