The historic Regent Cinema in Murwillumbah is the latest in a growing list of new venues at this year’s Byron Bay International Film Festival.
As many as four screenings will take place at the new Murwillumbah venue, including the highly acclaimed Crazy Wisdom, a feature length documentary on Chogyam Trungpa, the brilliant ‘bad boy’ Tibetan monk who escaped the Communist invasion of Tibet, and broke all the rules to bring Buddhism to the West. Crazy Wisdom will also screen in Byron Bay.
The gorgeous Art Deco building was built in 1947, by the owners of the old Regent cinema in South Murwillumbah, which burnt down in 1945. Now the oldest movie theatre on the NSW north coast, and one of the last remaining independently owned, family run, movie theatres in Australia, the venue in its heyday had a capacity of over 1000 in its audience. Its style and community standing, as one of Murwillumbah’s social hubs, has been given a recent boost with a facelift and a leap forward into the digital age.
The newly renovated building has had quite an overhaul in the last six months, with a new look cafe, balcony and revamped entrance foyer. And after 60 years of traditional reels, a 35mm projector and able projectionist their move to digital format completes the new look.
Festival Director J’aimee Skippon-Volke is delighted to add this latest venue to the program. She says, ‘I’m really excited to be working with new venues like the Regent Cinema. The steps they have made to reconnect with their film loving community are brave and gutsy. Their audience will notice a huge difference in quality with the new digital format, and with digital in place we can now expand our venue program to include them. This spreads the reach of the film festival into the Tweed, and even the Gold Coast. This means less driving and more great films for an ever growing audience.’
Now in its sixth year, the festival has expanded every year since its first program in 2006. The Festival started with a small program of screenings at the Byron Bay Community Centre. Last year saw new screenings at the Birch Carroll & Coyle Lismore. This year the Murwillumbah Regent, and Pighouse Flicks, Byron Bay’s funky little arthouse cinema are two new venues, expanding the program and the locality of the Festival.
Further programming and ticketing information will be available in the lead up to the festival at www.bbff.com.au.