Pairing films with themed food and drinks isn’t a new concept, but partners Niama Wessely and Haydn Green have been talking about the idea for years. Their version, CULT Cinema & Bar, will open in November for one month only with an excellent line-up that shows off the pair’s film pedigree and taste.
Wessely is a graphic designer with more than 10 years of experience working in bars, and Green is the creative director of immersive cinema group Hear My Eyes and on the marketing team at MIFF. He was previously the feature-film programmer at the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival.
“The Hear My Eyes events appeal to a very specific audience, so we wanted to offer something that’s more accessible to the whole public and bring to life all these other fun and crazy ideas we’ve strung along over the years,” says Wessely.
Every day during November, CULT Cinema & Bar will screen a cult-classic, throwback film or a new knockout at the Brunswick Mechanics Institute. Friday night screenings will focus on themed cocktails, and Saturdays will involve a food pairing, as well as other surprise appearances and performances.
“The programming for CULT is vast, with some mainstream choices and some more obscure,” says Wessely. “Haydn’s worked really hard to gain the rights to some recent and reputable films from Cannes and MIFF and we’re really excited to be able to screen them.”
Opening night, which is already sold out, will feature ’80s Italian horror flick Suspiria, with a special Negroni by Four Pillars Gin using its own cult wine-and-liquor hybrid, Bloody Shiraz Gin.
For Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, Green and Wessely have partnered with Daylesford Cider and the team at Bluebonnet Barbecue so that, like Mr. Fox, the audience can enjoy an apple cider and chicken. Afterwards there’ll be a country music DJ set inspired by the film.
Other screenings to put in your diary? Pulp Fiction, accompanied by Big Kahuna burgers; GoodFellas paired with pizza from SPQR; Priscilla Queen of the Desert hosted by Karen From Finance; Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi coupled with tacos from Los Hermanos Mexican Taqueria (and tequila); Dirty Dancing with watermelon Margaritas; and a screening of Death in Brunswick, which will be followed by a Q&A with director John Ruane and supper at nearby HOST Dining.
The bar will operate separately from the cinema, so non-ticket holders can pop in for a drink until 11pm on weeknights and until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.
CULT Cinema & Bar will run from November 1 to 30 at Brunswick Mechanics Institute, 270 Sydney Road, Brunswick. Tickets for some screenings and special events are already on sale, with the full program to be released on October 11.