Film buffs buy historic cinema

AFTER just 11 months as proprietors of the Regent Cinema in Murwillumbah, Sandra Flannery and Sheraden Robbins have decided to move on and sell the historic movie theatre to Mia Barbieri and partner Ken Rippin.

Mr Rippin said he and Ms Barbieri moved to the Tweed around 18 months ago and had been looking for a business opportunity since their arrival.

The couple returned to Australia after years in China where Ms Barbieri worked as a line producer in the local film industry and Mr Rippen ran his own civil engineering business.

Ms Barbieri maintained a strong interest in the film industry and was the driving force behind the purchase of the cinema, Mr Rippin said.

"The idea to have our own cinema was too good an opportunity to pass up".

The new owners wanted to consolidate the changes made by the previous owner and are not planning to make too many alterations for now.

Mr Rippin said Ms Flannery had done a good job and the cinema was beautifully decorated.

The new owners said the atmosphere in the foyer and the balcony at the art deco cinema was great and that they wanted to expand on that.

Mr Rippin said the cinema had recently received a liquor licence and over time the couple hoped to add a wine bar area to the theatre.

"Another thing we'd like to look at is to have a stage and make it into more of a multi functional theatre."

"There isn't much around in this style of venue and with the art deco atmosphere, there's lots of scope to broaden the business apart from a pure cinema," Mr Rippin said.

However, these plans were still very much in the early stages of development and it would be a while before they could be put in place.

The couple decided to settle in the Tweed permanently after buying a place around 10 years ago and visiting the home while on holidays.

"The Tweed is one of the most beautiful places anywhere in the world and was the logical place to come," Mr Rippin added.

The new owners aimed to balance the type of films on offer and show both mainstream 'Hollywood' movies as well as interesting 'Art House' films.

The schedule would stay the same for the moment but would be revisited in due time.

The cinema is currently showing a popular Danish movie 'A Royal Affair' and the award winning Canadian film 'Take this Waltz', however it will soon show the latest Batman movie to satisfy lovers of more mainstream films.

Topics:  business, community, film, movies, murwillumbah, regent cinema




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