Film Club is the Darlinghurst DVD store loved by cinema buffs and run by Ben Kenny. In the age of Netflix, a successful DVD store is not just an anomaly, it’s an anachronism.
Kenny has customers who regularly travel across several suburbs to pay the shop a visit. He puts it down to simple, solid service with a dash of discerning curation. It’s this knack and knowledge that you’ll discover at the Broadsheet Film Club a new, monthly film night at QT Sydney that takes overlooked cult classics and gives them another chance on the big screen.
“What I think is missing from the Sydney film landscape is an appreciation of our past, both Australian and international film history. In a world of limitless content to divert ourselves with, I believe it’s more important than ever to focus your attention sometimes and lose yourself within a single work of art,” Kenny says.
We have the perfect location for it. QT Sydney, is a boutique CBD designer hotel with a genuine commitment to the cultural landscape, and a cinematic gem in its basement. Beneath the hotel is QT Sydney’s Screening Room, a cinema with a fascinating history. Opened on Christmas Eve, 1931 as the State News Reel Theatrette, it was Australia’s first newsreel theatre and the city’s only source of visual news through the 1930s, running a continuous reel until 11pm which drew punters from all over to get updates on the war.
For Broadsheet Film Club’s first screening, we’ve looked to the recent past and selected Hot Rod. “Andy Samberg and his two Lonely Island buddies, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, brought their absurdist viral comedy style to the big screen in 2007, and barely anyone noticed,” Kenny says. “Ten years later Hot Rod has become a modern cult classic, with an endlessly quotable script, an ’80s soundtrack that includes John Farnham and a full cast of game supporting players including Bill Hader, Ian McShane and Will Arnett.”
In October we’ll be screening The New World. “Seven years after returning from exile with The Thin Red Line, legendary filmmaker Terence Malick followed up with his gauzy and poetic The New World. Colin Farrell and Christian Bale play the colonists vying for Pocahontas’s love amongst a period-accurate Jamestown as the founding of America gets stripped back to its gnarly roots.”
In November, it’s ’80s horror. “There’s nothing else out there like Sleepaway Camp,” Kenny says. “Made well outside the studio system, the cult horror classic is still hilarious and genuinely terrifying today, not least for its insane and unforgettable ending.”
The State Newsreel Theatrette screened newsreels up until 1969 then became a continental film house. In the ’60s and ’70s it showed subtitled films such as the country’s first R-rated film, Helga.
In 2012, part of the heritage State Theatre underwent construction and became QT Sydney. The screening room, now with 56 seats, became part of the hotel and was used for private events.
The film club will be a special night out – each ticket includes a cocktail themed to the movie and the choice of either popcorn or a choc top. The bar will be open for additional food and drinks too. See you there.
The Broadsheet Film Club will run on the last Thursday of the month; September 28, October 26 and November 30. Tickets to the first film club are available now.