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How will the Cinema be managed once it reopens?
Early on the Save Sawtell Cinema group discovered that running a cinema is a specialised skill.  We needed professional cinema managers with film distributor relationships to ensure that the cinema could deliver the experience we all expect. The challenge, of course, has been finding those professional skills without sacrificing the community feel we all cherish at Sawtell Cinema. After an exhaustive search we found a group of local people who met both our requirements. We are delighted that independent cinema operators Majestic Cinemas will take on management when the cinema reopens in December.
Most important to those of us who love this cinema, is the fact that the Majestic people are locals at heart.  They get this community and our love for our little cinema.
Local Coffs Harbour resident, Brenton Spoehr, will be the man in charge of programming the films. Brenton has worked at Sawtell Cinema previously, having managed the programming under former owner Col Brissett, so he has a strong sense for the local audience.
Bellingen resident, Judy Quinn will manage the cinema on a day-to-day basis.  Judy has been one of the managers at Majestic’s Nambucca Heads cinema for over 10 years, so she brings plenty of experience and a real passion for both the area and the types of films we all love.

Who are Majestic Cinemas?  Will they be good for Sawtell Cinema?
Majestic Cinemas is a local independent cinema company with 5 operations in regional NSW (Nambucca Heads, Inverell, Port Macquarie, Singleton, The Entrance.  They are experienced in working with regional communities to deliver a range of entertainment to meet the needs of their respective towns. They have access to all major and independent film distribution companies, which means they can book us all films from the holiday family titles through to the quality art-house and cultural titles. Their presence in Sawtell in conjunction with their Nambucca Heads location, will provide a much wider range of entertainment options for all ages and will bring more people to the town.  That will be good for locals and good for local business.

Will the community still own the cinema?
Yes, the Sawtell Cinema Pty Limited will still own the building and crowd funders will still have access to all the opportunities, benefits and entitlements they purchased when funding the purchase of seating and screens. Majestic Cinemas will simply be operating the cinema on a day-to-day basis to provide the community with the best possible cinema going experience.
What will change about Sawtell Cinema?
With a planned opening date of December 2015, the existing single screen complex will be reopened as a two-screen complex.
Over the next 3 months there will be a major internal redevelopment of the complex to rejuvenate the foyer and bathroom facilities on top of the complete redevelopment of the larger single screen auditorium into two separate cinemas with approx 140 and 50 seats respectively.  By Christmas 2015 there will be up to 6 sessions a day on each screen playing 7 days a week, 364 days a year (every day except Christmas Day)  providing a huge range of viewing options for the public of the Sawtell area.
You will find that, in this digital age, and with the additional screen, that movies will be available much closer to their national release than they were at the old Sawtell Cinema.

The cinema is a piece of our history.  Will renovations change the art deco heritage of the place?
Only the inside of the cinema will be changed, so that wonderful art deco exterior of the cinema will be largely untouched.  You will still be coming to the same old Sawtell Cinema.
A heritage consultant was engaged at the outset and our design team have worked hard to ensure that the inside of the cinema – while incorporating 21st century amenities – will retain its art deco feel.  A number of heritage items have been retained and will be incorporated into the décor so that movie goers of the future will always have a connection with our past.

What about staffing?  Will Majestic be hiring locals to run the cinema?
Judi Quinn, a local from Bellingen and a current Manager at Nambucca Heads has been hand chosen for the Managers role. Judi will bring a vast amount of experience in both the day to day operations of the complex as well as a real passion for art-house films. Majestic cinemas will be undertaking a wide ranging staff hiring and selection process to ensure we are choosing people with a passion for the cinema industry. There will be changes and new ways of doing things from the old Sawtell cinema complex, but also lots of opportunities because there will be a lot more sessions each day. For more information on the hiring process go to www.majesticcinemas.com.au and register your interest by joining our mailing list or become our friend on Facebook. You can also use the Contact us section of the website to speak directly to Majestic Cinemas about your interests.

How do we know that this isn’t just a short term thing?  Will it be financially viable?
Majestic Cinemas have grown very strong businesses in a number of regional areas and have extensive experience in making this work.  They understand that entertainment needs to be affordable and that it can take time to build up an audience of passionate film goers. Both Majestic and the Save the Sawtell Cinema group are making significant financial commitments for the long term.  Majestic are able to combine the cost effectiveness of running a number of similar businesses with a focus on using local knowledge to meet local needs.  With 17 screens operating on the east coast of Australia, they have access to all new movies on release, so hopefully that will bring lots of folks out of their lounge rooms to enjoy a movie in the main street of town.

What if we want to hold events at the Cinema?
Majestic Cinemas will be focused on providing the community with a facility to hold events/seminars and group bookings on top of their commitment to play the highest quality movies on release. Community groups will now have access to a venue in town that provides comfortable cinema seating and first class sound systems opening up a wide range of options for locals.
Majestic Cinemas actively work with schools, sporting clubs, service organisations and others in their existing facilities to support community needs and Sawtell will be no exception. For more details on making bookings at the new Sawtell cinema, see the Majestic Cinemas website and select the “Contact us” option.

What about the Friends of the Cinema club?  I was a member.  How will we be able to participate in the cinema into the future?
Majestic Cinemas are keen to invite all Friends of Sawtell cinema to join the Majestic Movie Club which provides great access to discount ticketing as well as invitations to special events. Movie Club members can receive weekly session times updates as well as advanced notice of special events such as new release art-house titles, and special events such as Opera, Concerts and Film Festivals. The Movie Club is a great offer in general, with benefits including the discounted tickets for every session, a free ticket on joining or renewing and a discount at the candy bar.  Contact the cinema when it opens to get more information on the Majestic Movie Club, or if you are already a member of our Nambucca Heads Movie Club, your membership will be valid at both locations

Is it going to cost a lot more to go to the movies?
Whilst the specifics for Sawtell are still being worked out, at Majestic’s other cinemas the typical maximum ticket price is about $15.  There are discounts for kids under 18, students, pension card holders and others and great deals for Movie Club members with $8 tickets to all sessions (other than special events, which also have discounted tickets for movie club members). Individuals and businesses can also buy vouchers in bulk at significant discounts.

What sort of products will the café/bar serve at the new cinema?
Majestic Cinemas recognises that the Sawtell clientele want a wide range of food and beverage items available, outside of the normal fizzy drinks and popcorn served at most cinemas. We are currently working with local and national food distributors to bring a new range of products to the cinema going audience with fresh and tasty foods, wines and juices, connoisseur ice cream, nuts and high quality hand made treats all on the list.

I am a retail tenant in the main street.  What is it going to mean for me?
This will open lots of opportunity for you.  Potentially, more than 50,000 extra people a year coming past your business.  What can you offer them?  How can you grow?  Both the Save the Cinema group and Majestic Cinemas hopes the whole town can grow sustainably and happily when the complex is opened in December 2015.
There will be busy times when cinema patrons move into a session or leave a session and we are working on the access ways and improved signage for this to ensure that the movement of people can be managed safely and comfortably.

Will the redevelopment cause a lot of disruption?
It is intended that the internal works to create the new cinemas will be done without hindering the operations of any business in the main street, so community access will be no less than it is now.  Work will be done in stages and is being managed by a local construction company using local contractors wherever possible.