By Michael R Williams
Hosted by Norm Salsbury, former owner of the Star Cinema, Longreach locals gathered at the showgrounds for a treat of two films.
While there weren’t enough sales break even with film and projection hire costs, Mr Salsbury said with a few tweaks, he believes an event like this could be run again.
Mr Salsbury was also recongised during intermission for his work in the community.
“The event was very very good, I spoke to a lot of people who enjoyed the evening,” Mr Salsbury said.
“I was surprised with the kids, I thought they might be indifferent and run around, but they were always looking at the movie.
“And it was a good movie too – the people who worked at the kiosk, they were very happy with their sales, also.”
The first film, A Boy Called Christmas, was well received.
“I’ll be honest, I thought it could have been a little bit better – it was well-made and well-acted – but the story was a little bit over the kid’s heads,” he said.
“I thought it was a little bit too long, but the kids seemed to like it.
“I think the characters and the movements were what did it – it was a beautiful movie, visually.”
Mr Salsbury is an avid Bond fan, he thought No Time to Die was a fitting ending.
“I really really enjoyed it,” he said.
Mr Salsbury said he did not anticipate receiving the Paul Harris Fellow award during the intermission.
“I really got a shock, I knew nothing about it,” he said.
“Jason came up to me just before the intermission, he said, ‘come for a walk up to the microphone, we’ll say a few words together about the movie’.
“I got up there, and he started talking and handed me the award, and we were dumbfounded (Mr Salsbury’s wife also received the same award), we’re just happy to do what we can for our community.”
Mr Salsbury loved seeing locals watching films again.
“I was worried about the night, I was worried we were going to get storms,” he said.
“I thought it was a great night – a lot of work went into it – you don’t see what happens in the background.”
Mr Salsbury said he was extremely disappointed with the number that turned up.
“We had 120, and it definitely doesn’t cover the costs,” he said.
“It makes you wonder whether to try at another time of the year or something else. – or to put it down as an, ‘it was a good idea at the time’.”
Going forward, Mr Salsbury said he would try running the event at a different time of year.
“What I’d have to do is to accept the film hire is to have a subsidy to bring the projection up from Brisbane, and then also insurance, accommodation for the projectionist,” he said.
“If that was all funded and we made more at the door – it was to be aimed at not-for-profit, but not lose because it’s my pocket that has to pay for it.
“I would like to see a Cinema Under the Stars again, for that we might need five good sponsors, I think it would be a lot better – because I may be able to look for a top-notch movie that may cost a few dollars.”