…there’s a quirky cinema that encompasses (almost) all the Pop Up Docs values. And this year I finally got to go there!
At Pop Up Docs we spend a lot of time blue-sky thinking about unusual and alternative venues for our films. We choose each venue specific to the film we are screening and we’re always on the lookout for new and exciting spaces.
But when travelling around New Zealand earlier this year I came across a fantastic cinema that seemed to have that quirkiness, comfort and affordability we try and achieve at each screening – all wrapped up in one venue… the Cinema Paradiso.
This twin screen classic movie theatre is in the resort town of Wanaka on New Zealand’s South Island. Sandwiched between a stunning lake and dramatic mountains – it is a breathtaking location.
But even for all its natural beauty, one of the area’s biggest tourist attractions is actually a small cinema on the edge of the centre of town. As you walk in the door it felt like walking into the cinema version of the Empire Records store. The staff know their films, they bake fresh cookies for their customers and you get the feeling that this is more than just a ‘job’.
In the cinema itself you can choose to watch the film from a comfy old sofa or even from inside an old Morris Minor. Halfway through the film there is a short interval when you can sit down and have some food – before taking your drinks back in for the second half of the film. It was almost like being round someone’s house – and a far cry from the modern, faceless, overpriced cinemas we are so used to these days. This was ‘hugge’ cinema!
And the Paradiso doesn’t just show art house films – their schedule was an eclectic mix of Hollywood blockbusters, indie films and even feature docs. Literally something for everyone.
I came away inspired and hope we can include a little bit of the Paradiso spirit in to some of our future screenings…