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A Silver for Silver Rememberings

A film commissioned by the BMI about the history of cinema within the building has been awarded second prize at the Castlemaine Local and International Film Festival.

The film’s creator Erin McCuskey takes us through her inspiration for the work.

The walls of the beautiful BMI reverberate with all that has gone before. Memories of momentous occasions, oratory, grandeur; sitting comfortably besides fleeting reveries, the swish of a frock, gloved hands clapping, cigar smoke rising over tables. Ballarat folk don’t have to stretch too far back to remember the cinemas that have taken up residence in the now Minerva Space. First The Britannia, then The Odeon, and more recently the Vegas70, know simply as The Vegas once the 80s hit.

How many of us climbed those stairs, bought lollies at the counter, walked the wooden floor, sat in the dark, on cracked leather seats and were enveloped by the screen that always seemed too far away until the film started. The last film I saw there was Wallstreet, late 80s, even then I wondered how much longer a cinema would exist there.

The Vegas was run by the Anderson Family, headed by cinefile John ‘Jack’ Anderson who never let an opportunity go by to film his family, his life and the opening of the Vegas70. Recently an archive of his Super 8 and 16mm films were discovered and digitised and BMI curator Amy Tsilemanis wanted to do something special to get these on the big screen.

Amy commissioned Yum Studio to work with the archive. The result was short film Silver Rememberings; ‘silver’ in echo of the original cine film and ‘rememberings’ to reflect how time waves and moves when emotions and memory are in play. The film was first screened in The Minerva Space in September 2016, there in the dark watching people of the 70s excitement at a new state of the art cinema, right there in the same space 50+ years later.

The commission was an honour for me, an opportunity to pay my respects to Ballarat’s cinema family, and a chance to work with fabulous local composer Christine Tammer. This film will transport you through time in one place.

The film was in official selection at the Castlemaine Local and International Film Festival (CLIFF) and was awarded second prize.

More news about the film can be found at yumstudio.com.au/portfolio/silver-rememberings and the film can be viewed in the Max Harris Photography area in the BMI lending library.