THE screen is up and film is about to start rolling for Telethon 7 Community Cinemas’ first season at the ECU Joondalup Pines outdoor theatre.
Founder and volunteer event co-ordinator Ken Gibbons said they had “long been asked by people in the northern corridor to go up there”.
“We know people are already responding well, with advanced purchases looking positive despite not much exposure,” he said.
“It’s a pleasing outcome so far and we are very hopeful the northern corridor will embrace what we’re trying to do.”
Previously a venue for Perth Festival, Mr Gibbons said they were grateful for the opportunity to be able to use the theatre to continue to raise funds for Telethon kids’ charities.
“We have moved away from the arthouse-style films to a more broader style,” he said.
“There will be the odd retrospective movie but mainly we will be showing current films.”
He said other changes included the reduction of the sling back chairs to increase the picnic area.
“We wanted to bring a more relaxed, picnic-type atmosphere where families and friends can come to catch up socially,” Mr Gibbons said.
They have also introduced a bar and candy bar and flexible ticketing where beanbags and food can be pre-ordered, vouchers never expire and there are no additional fees for tickets bought online.
Tickets can also be changed up to 45 minutes before gates open on the day of a screening if someone is no longer able to attend.
“We want to be patron-friendly and respect that people are spending their cash with us so we don’t want to deny them being able to change things if they need to,” Mr Gibbons said.
Now in its 19th season, Telethon 7 Community Cinemas welcomes ECU Joondalup Pines as its fourth location, joining Burswood, Bassendean and Murdoch.
“The organisation began on a dare after I complained at a dinner with friends as to the poor standard of outdoor cinemas generally in Perth at the time and the lack of family-focused venues,” Mr Gibbons said.
“The focus then became about helping organisations improve the lives of kids in a health or physical ability crisis – partly because of having a stutter and being subjected to schoolyard ridicule – so there was a desire to try and minimise or prevent similar treatment of kids today.”
All four cinemas are completely run by volunteers, with no external financial support or grants other than from sponsors.
“Having four locations involves having a team of over 600 volunteers which we expect will eventually hit 700 this season, with Joondalup requiring us to source an extra 150 volunteers,” Mr Gibbons said.
“The majority are not connected to any of our charities – they are just people with good hearts wanting to make a difference.
“In 18 seasons we have never lost a screening due to lack of volunteers on the night – such is their dedication.
“We have raised $9 million in those 18 years, of which $8 million has come in the last 11 years, and we support eight children’s charities directly whilst providing a funding platform for schools, clubs and others.”
ECU Joondalup Pines launches its summer film season on Wednesday, November 27, with the modern day murder-mystery Knives Out by acclaimed writer and director Rian Johnson.
The blockbuster features a big name cast including Toni Collette, Daniel Craig and Christopher Plummer.
Gates open 6.30pm, with the screening from 7.45pm.
Tickets from www.communitycinemas.com.au.
Burswood will then launch on Friday, November 28, followed by Bassendean on December 5 and Murdoch on December 12.