Kate Jinx believes in the magic of cinema. Indeed, the broadcaster, designer and curator is truly spellbound by silver screen. Her enchantment arrived in the form of a barefoot witch with a cat named Pyewacket in the 1958 film Bell, Book and Candle. She confesses that the film inspired some light truancy: “When I was about 10, I noticed it was playing as a Bill Collins Midday Movie in the TV guide and I chucked a sickie to stay home and tape it.”
Starring Kim Novak and James Stewart, the movie features Jack Lemmon performing Stormy Weather on bongo drums and Jinx reckons she’d still skip work just to watch it. “I was completely obsessed with it,” she says. “Still am.”
Luckily, in Jinx’s new role as film programmer at Surry Hills’ Golden Age Cinema, watching movies at midday is simply part of the job. “I see a lot of movies,” she says. “I generally watch one or two each work day and try to keep up to date with releases.”
Aware of Jinx’s enthusiasm for a broad spectrum of film, Golden Age owners, Barrie and Chris Barton, approached her with the prospect of programming for their boutique cinema project. “I’d heard that there were some guys from Melbourne who wanted to start a rooftop cinema in Sydney a few years back and as a local, I was pretty bummed when that didn’t come to pass,” she recalls. “I was extremely surprised when the Bartons came to me to talk about possibly working with them and jumped at the chance to step into film programming.”
Unlike the common cinema multiplex and its menu of Michael Bay movies, Golden Age will be showing an assortment of recent, classic and independent films. “New, old, who cares as long as it’s good or interesting,” says Jinx.
Currently showing at Golden Age are recent releases The Bling Ring and Frances Ha, alongside 80s favourites like the Back to the Future trilogy and independents including Girls creator Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture. “I’m really excited about being able to play films that don’t otherwise get a look-in in Sydney,” Jinx says. “Films that will otherwise only get a Melbourne release or be seen at a festival.”
As to whether she has free reign at Golden Age, Jinx acknowledges her curation is somewhat restricted by availability. “There are a lot of bizarre rules when it comes to running a cinema, from who owns theatrical rights to who owns the actual physical film and what has been locally classified.”
Governing the program involves balancing the expectations of distributors and filmmakers to find out what can be legally shown and ensure all parties are kept happy. Golden Age only screens its films digitally, so Jinx says she is also limited by what is available of high quality, though each week more and more films are converted into ones and zeros.
As well as her recent appointment at Paramount House’s classy new independent cinema, Jinx hosts FBi’s weekly 90-minute cinema program Picture Show, while also writing film reviews on the side.
If that’s not quite enough to do in any given week, Jinx is also an artist, producing work that mirrors her film fixation. “In the last couple of years I’ve started making performative lectures around my film obsessions that tie in with my own dippy, neurotic memories,” she explains. “So far, my topics have been evil cats and teen witches. There are sequined jumpsuits involved.”
She hasn’t yet extended her practice to embrace the film medium, but hopes to move in that direction soon. “I love film because everyone has a different connection to it and that propels conversation,” she says. “So much can be done with it – from 30-second pet clips (guilty), to longer form video art to narrative features and documentaries.”