Cinema managers of the eight venues across the AFC's Regional Digital Screen Network (RDSN) reported capacity houses, thunderous applause and that a great time was had by all during the live satellite broadcast of Sony Tropfest film festival from Sydney's Domain on Sunday 18 February 2007.
Cinema Augusta Port Augusta, CMAX Devonport , Forum Cinema 6 Wagga Wagga, Hervey Bay Cinemas 5, Katherine Cinemas 3, Orana Cinemas Albany, Regent Cinema Yarram and Rosepoint Cinemas Singleton got into the swing things with a range of extra curricular events including barbecues, karaoke, local bands (big and little), DJs, dancers and pre-event drinks. It was party time!
An estimated audience of 2500 across the RDSN enjoyed the evening, which commenced with the live feed of the red carpet entry of all the stars in Sydney's Domain. Each centre had their own MC who kept the evening moving along in tandem with the activities of the Sydney event.
Prior to the screening of the 16 Tropfest finalists, The Hon Barry Wakelin MP (Liberal) Federal Member for Grey in Port Augusta, The Hon Mark Baker MP (Liberal) Federal Member for Braddon in Devonport, The Hon Warren Snowden MP (Labor Party) Federal Member for Lingiari in Katherine, The Hon Senator Judith Adams (Liberal), Senator for Western Australia in Albany, The Hon Peter McGauran MP Federal Member for Gippsland and The Hon Kay Hull MP (Nationals) Federal Member for Riverina in Wagga Wagga officially opened the evening.
Katrine Elliot, GM of CMAX Devonport, raved about the evening the next day: "As the VIPs walked in they were given wine, a program and a lei/flower as they listened to a very funky duo playing whilst everybody was seated. We opened the doors to the public at 7.00pm - they had been queuing down our stairs and out the doors since 6.30pm. Our technician who installed the satellite was a gem, and as the cinema was full... and I mean FULL (287 seats)... he cabled Tropfest to the large projector in our downstairs foyer that we would normally show trailers on. We were therefore able to screen Tropfest live in the foyer for any overflow. The evening was an outstanding success and I hope you are able to get some more funding from the Government for the program. And I'm pleased that I waited until Tropfest to launch the RDSN program as it all blended in so well."
Sabina Wynn, Director of the AFC's Industry & Cultural Development Division, travelled to Yarram to take in the celebrations with Kodak Australasia's Managing Director David Sanderson and The Hon Peter McGauren MP. She reported, "The level of excitement in the auditorium was palpable; the audience enjoyed it so much. Their interaction with what was happening on screen was sensational. The whole evening couldn't have gone better."
There was added excitement at the Rosepoint Cinemas in Singleton when the smoke machine in the auditorium cleared for the dance party set off the fire alarm at imtermission. A quick check by the fire department had everybody back in their seats for the second half of the evening.
RDSN Manager Gayle Lake and Coordinator Elena Guest were on hand at the Domain keeping an eye on technical delivery. However, the whole event went according to script. "It was incredibly satisfying to get so many calls of delight from the venue partners at various points throughout the evening. They had put so much work into their respective local events," said Gayle.
With opening night now over, the March - June RDSN program commences on 15 March with the new release from Palace Films, Razzle Dazzle: A Journey into Dance (PG). It will be followed by a mini-festival later in the month headlined by Hopscotch Films' Bra Boys (M advertising only). The full program will be confirmed shortly.
Gayle Lake, Manager, Regional Digital Screen Network